Start-Ups and Small Businesses – Easy & Affordable Marketing Ideas
Having a solid marketing strategy is essential for any business wanting to thrive in today’s fast-moving, digital landscape. No matter how good your products or services are, it’s seriously tough trying to achieve the success you no doubt deserve without a properly documented and evidenced marketing plan in place.
However, small businesses and start-ups rarely have a sizeable budget to spend on traditional advertisements and all out marketing campaign expenditure. That doesn’t mean they can’t promote their products and services to their target audience, however. You know what, there is so much noise out there, so it’s best to research your market, your audience, your keywords, your tactics and then work out how you are going to market your business.
Luckily, there are many affordable or free marketing tactics that small businesses can use to reach their out to their ideal target market and grow their business.
In this article, we’re going to share some of the best marketing ideas for businesses and start-ups with a small marketing budget.
Low-Budget Small Business Marketing Ideas
We’re going to kick off with the most obvious, content – without content, digital marketing doesn’t exist. Here goes:
Create Valuable Content
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your business.
However, it’s important to publish content that your target audience cares about. What are your customers’ pain points? How does your service help your potential clients? You need to answer specific questions your audience is searching for. Being generous with your content (yet holding back a little to entice them in for more information) will help you build trust and convert your website visitors into loyal customers.
Content comes in the written form, auditory form and visual form – so you have many ways of communicating your creativity!
If you want to know what Google looks for in “quality” blogs and articles, remember their E-A-T Guidelines.
Leverage the Power of Video Marketing
Videos can be a very powerful marketing tool. You can consider creating instructional YouTube videos to showcase your expertise in the field. You can also make tutorials. There are plenty of cheap online tools that can help you create professional videos in a matter of minutes. Loom is an obvious one for example.
YouTube is the second most visited website in the world. It attracts about 44% of all internet users. So, it is totally worth investing your time and effort in.
Need a little help with understanding video optimisation to help with ranking your website? We have a free resource here to help.
- Make the Most Out of Social Media Platforms
Social media allows you to directly interact with your potential customers. So many of us use social media, but are we using to the best of our abilities for the right audience we desire to work with?
You should create business accounts on all the popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. Joining these social media networks is free. However, you can hire a social media manager to manage your social media marketing campaigns. It will save you time and effort and you know what, outsourcing can be a really good use of time and the return on investment will be worthwhile.
If you’re not sure where to go for help with training, 121s or management Kat from Sharp Fox Social is a brilliant starting point for Instagram and Facebook, whilst Bettina Siddiqi from Busy B Solutions is a whizz with LinkedIn.
Worth thinking about ads too, we’d suggest hiring someone to do this for you, so paying them for their expertise, but you are controlling the direct budget to the source is always a good idea to understand the specific needs going into an ad and the strategy to take it forward. Vanessa Rinaldi from Mrs Social is our go to for social media ads, but we do our Google Ads here in house.
Remember Pinterest is hugely under used, it has its own algorithm and is more like Google in terms of AI and technology for its business users and searchers in comparison to any other social media platform. Don’t assume it’s for pretty product businesses either. Our very own Natasha is a Pinterest Queen, she’s affordable, intelligent and takes all the stress out of setting up, pinning, algorithms, pin board masters and infographics out of your hands. Ask us about Natasha if you’d like to get some serious website traffic on the go.
NB if you have got to the stage where you understand Google Analytics and it’s integrated onto your website, don’t forget to add the coding for your social media platforms too, as you can check from which platforms the majority of your website traffic is coming in by.
Posts that include graphics and visuals attract more engagement than text-only posts (see learning styles above graphic). This makes infographics a powerful tool that can help you attract new business opportunities. Infographics allow people to digest complicated information very easily. Also, infographics are shareable. With each share, your brand will be presented in front of a new audience that you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
The best thing is that you don’t need to possess artistic skills to create an infographic. You can use an online infographic-maker tool to create stunning infographics for your business. There are both free and paid options to choose from. We tend to use Canva or for trickier ones, we use someone who’s main job it is to design deliciously colourful, clever and branded graphics on Fiverr.
Run Online Contests
Online contests are one of the best ways to generate new leads and customers for your business. They will also help you boost engagement with your existing followers. You’ve probably taken part in loads of Instagram contests yourself, right? Instagram is becoming more and more business-friendly offering lead magnet opportunities rather than boosting your brand awareness.
Running online contests is a great way of keeping costs down too. There’s no need to offer a super-expensive prize to make people participate in it. You can offer something that is brand-related, or if your products are quite expensive per item or you are a service, maybe collaborate with someone else or offer some free Champagne. Who doesn’t love receiving a delivery of Champagne?!
On that note, I did see an amazing independent UK company (Rupert Forsythe Bespoke Champagne) who bottle the best fizz with a label bespoke to the person you are sending it to! How cute and decadent? What a prize that could be! Your own logo on delicious award-winning Grand Cru Champagne.
Use Ad Promo Credits
You can find discounts and coupons on the internet for paid Facebook and Google ads. You can use these coupons for low-budget ad campaigns.
Also, there are many web hosting companies that offer ad credits when you sign up for their hosting plan. You can use them to run an ad campaign.
Here is a link to Google’s Ad Credit blurb to munch through, if you’re interested to find out more.
Use Email Marketing
Many marketers would say that email marketing is dead but since Covid it couldn’t be further from the truth. It is still one of the best tools that can help you establish and maintain a relationship with your customers.
You could add a “Sign Up for Weekly Newsletter” pop up onto your website and then use a lead magnet to encourage more people to join your list.
You can use an email marketing service to automate the process or we can help you with it, it’s very affordable and we can help with the integration too.
Start A Customer Referral or Loyalty Program
We all know how powerful word-of-mouth can be. In fact, there are many small businesses that use it as the only tool to market their products and services.
You can ask your existing customers to share the information your products and services with their friends and family, and they can receive a free product or gift in return for that.
How about loyalty membership or cards too? Many health & beauty salons, and nail bars do this, as well as coffee shops etc. What’s to stop other services and retailers?!
Use Reddit Wisely
Reddit can help you present your brand to your target audience if you know how to use it.
When it comes Reddit, it’s extremely important that you share valuable content and post only to extreme niches. You need to choose subcategories wisely.
We use Reddit quite a lot for outreach marketing for our clients as part of our SEO process.
Repurpose Your Existing Content
Hashing up your existing content can help you reach people with varied interests and save you time, which let’s face it, for a small business is much sought after.
For example, you can create an eBook with a collection of your old blog posts. That can help you present your brand to people who like to read eBooks rather than blog posts. You can also consider turning your blog posts into videos and infographics.
Don’t forget podcasts too, remember the learning visual above: written word for the audience who loves to read; video and infographic for the audience that loves to watch; and podcasts for the audience that loves to listen.
To wrap it up
Time and money is tight when you have a small business, but any of these ideas can help market your products and services to your target audience (and if you’re not sure of who your perfect audience is, contact Elaine for a discovery call for some guidance).
To sum it up, consider combining multiple methods to be able to reach a wider audience, get into a routine and be consistent.
Don’t forget we have plenty of blogs with free advice and tips, together with our FREEBIE resource page.