Marketing Tips on a Tight Small Businesses Budget
Previously, SIGN.COM has discussed all the various ways you can deploy your small business’ marketing campaign. There are so many different options – it can be overwhelming sometimes. In fact, it can be particularly overwhelming for owners of small businesses operating under tight budgets.
If you are short on funds and resources, you obviously can’t afford to put the kind of money into marketing other businesses may easily afford.
But – have no fear! There are a few simple, cost-effective methods by which you could get your small business’ marketing campaign back on its feet – even with the tightest of budgets.
Low-cost Local Ad Space
One of the easiest and cheapest options out there for you is to take a look around your local community and neighborhood. Often, you will be able to see storefronts in high foot-traffic areas with underused window marketing space. Why not discuss with the store owner the possibility of you paying for advertising space within this prime real estate? For example – you could pay as little as $50 a month in a location that a store owner is probably paying $2,500 or more to rent – for great marketing space!
If, for whatever reason, this is not an option – you can make sure your vendors are doing business with you. For example – your lawyer, electrician, babysitter, groundskeeper, plumber, minister, physician, hair dresser, coach, teacher, financial adviser – and on and on – can all be great resources for getting the word out there about your small business’ goods and/or services. Not only can they get the word out there to potential customers – but they can also be potential customers as well! And once they realize the quality of your goods and/or services and your savvy customer relations – they’ll be sure to pass the word on to the community at large.
Once you are out and about in the community – another cost-effective option for those small business strapped for cash is to attend networking events. Who knows what kind of people you will be able to meet and introduce your small business to? The windfall could be enormous.
What if there aren’t any advantageous small business networking events in your area, though? Well, there’s a simple solution for that as well: why not create your own event? This could be a one-time deal or an annual get-together. If you become known as the creator/inventor of such an event – that could be a big boon for your small business. And if you organize in an efficient manner – it could be among the cheapest ways to get your name out there.
Improve Store Environment
Another excellent way to attract potential customers – while also keeping your current customers coming through the door – is to endeavor to make them as comfortable as possible. Soothing music and refreshing scents within your brick and mortar locations are always an easy, cheap way to subconsciously affect the way customers feel about your small business. If they feel safe and calm – your customers will be much more likely to trust you. And building a trusting relationship with potential customers is possibly the greatest outcome of a marketing campaign.
Local Sponsorships / Partnerships
Other relatively cheap marketing-related activities within the community involve supporting causes or organizations. Little League Teams. Local Charities. Schools. You name it – institutions also strapped for cash are numerous in your area. And if your small business becomes associated with someone so obviously invested in your local community – that vital trust bond can start to be established.
Low Cost Online Marketing
Cheap marketing opportunities litter the streets of your local community, true, but cheap online marketing opportunities are also abundant! Use your small business’ website and blogs to your full advantage. Reviews. Customer Case Studies. YouTube videos! All of these can be created fairly cheaply – and all of these options help potential customers get to know you, your small business, and your small business’ goods and/or services. Once those items are in the minds of potential customers – you have a hook, which will keep them coming back for more. Be sure to make all these online spaces attractive to the eye and easy to use. The smallest things can often go the furthest in peoples’ minds.
One of the many online options we have yet discussed is the creation of Podcasts. These online radio shows only really cost an initial investment of a few dollars for a microphone – then you’re well on your way to creating brand-specific content, which will keep potential, and current customers’ interests up. Fill your podcasts with details about your small business and the sorts of items and services it provides for customers. You can even use podcasts to announce sales or special podcast-specific contests. With podcasts, the sky is the limit.
It is also important to list your company online with Google Local Maps. It’s easy to see and view your small business listing on Google Maps at: https://www.google.com/business/ That way, literally, you can put your name on the map! This is a completely free option and allows people everywhere see quickly see your small business and its location – right from their desktop or mobile device. This is a vitally important tool to have within your marketing arsenal.
Another inexpensive but very effective marking tool is a magnetic or adhesive vinyl sign on the sides and/or back of your car or truck. As you drive through local traffic and park in public, signage on your vehicle can be seen by tens of thousands of people a day. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, 90% of people surveyed notice graphics on vehicles and 80% remember the product advertised on vehicle wraps. A single magnetic sign can cost less than $100 and last years, making it one of the most cost effective means of local advertising for your small business. So we recommend you get several for your vehicle – one for each side and one in the rear if you have a truck.