Are you a small business, a startup perhaps, that needs to get your marketing plan set in motion? Well, if your resources resemble that of a typical startup or other small business models, you may not be re-making Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial anytime soon. But, there is some good news. You don’t need to have the NFL’s marketing budget to initiate some kick-ass (and inexpensive) marketing strategies. Reading this blog is a good first step because we at Marketing Supply Co. have some insider tips on what you should be doing to market yourself in the most cost-efficient way possible. So without further ado, sit back, relax, and soak up this knowledge.
Our first, and possibly most obvious, inexpensive marketing idea is one of the most important tips we can give you. Having someone on your team who is capable of writing brilliant content for your site, blog, and deliverables will help you gain clients, and at the very least, build interest and credibility in your brand. If people are seeing that you can create your own great content, the more likely it is that they will want to work with you. No matter what your business is, we can guarantee you that writing will be involved. Even if that means sending emails.
DIY videos are another great, low-cost marketing material for your company to produce. Have you ever watched one of those Tasty videos? You know, the ones. They send you down the deepest black hole known to man that is 30-second recipe videos. Well, it turns out these videos, and videos like these, won’t cost you an arm and a leg. You can shoot these low-production vids yourself, and then use your laptop’s built-in editing software (i.e. iMovie) to create instructional videos or branded content that people can watch, use, and share. And if you have an iPhone 7 Plus, well shit. Hello, Steven Spielberg.
In this day in age, having a social media presence is the key to getting your name/business out there. If you’re just starting your business, you should make social accounts for the standard platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest. These five main social media accounts will let you create ads and send them out live to a target audience of your choice. Each of these platforms also has a different demographic audience so be sure to do your research on this so you know where to focus your efforts. For example, Instagram is primarily used by women between the ages of 18-30.
If your wallet is particularly light and the budget really isn’t allowing you to hire a content manager, you can always “bring back the dead”. What does this mean exactly? Well, having some type of content you can refer to is essential (consider outsourcing some content with freelancers). Once you have this content, continue to inject life into it. Just because the content may be old, it doesn’t mean there isn’t new material or statistics out there that pertain to the content. Take some of the new material you find, update older content, and get it back out there on your social channels.
A great way to meet new business professionals that could potentially help jumpstart your business is to join a networking group, attend events in your community, go to a coffee shop and look for anyone with a man bun (they probably work at a startup), etc. If you can’t find one of these groups, start your own. Meeting and connecting with other people in your position will help catalyze new ideas they new opportunities going on in the industry. The best part? Doing so is virtually free, aside from the $10 grass-fed latte you’ll inevitably get pressured into buying at that coffee shop.
Who says email is dead? Bringing us to our next tip. Email marketing and creating your own newsletter in-house is an inexpensive marketing strategy that you can set up and manage without breaking the bank. Email marketing is a great way to reach a lot of people with content that you’ve written, events your business has coming up, work you do for companies, etc. A couple great email marketing tools you can try are Mailchimp, Customer IO, and Intercom. Each of these tools is a little different from the other, so be sure to see which one will suit your business best by messing around with their demos and free versions.
Every startup company, or small business, should always have a referral plan set up. If you do great work for a client, you want them to refer your company to others. Ask your clients to refer your company, and if you have the means to do so, offer clients who refer you an incentive—and we’re not talking about free pens and stickers, although those won’t hurt either.
Applying for industry awards is a great and cheap way to market your business while gaining credibility simultaneously. Applying for, and winning, awards in your industry gets your name out there with bigger companies and publications. Winning these awards will also make your company recognizable to other companies looking for services you offer (P.S. you will need a kick-ass content writer to write your application for you). Winning awards are also a great moral booster for your company confidence and get the ball rolling for taking on more clients.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a huge and inexpensive marketing strategy that a lot of smaller businesses overlook because they a.) may not know how to properly set up SEO on their sites, or b.) understand how important it is when it comes to getting recognized by search engines. SEO is important for every business to understand because it’s the process of maximizing the amount of customers visiting your website by making sure it’s ranked high on search engine result pages (SERPs). In all honesty, SEO is a pretty complex concept so be sure to check out an article that will go more in-depth on the topic.
Last, but not least. Speaking at events, both local and not, are a great (did we mention inexpensive?) way to market yourself and your business. Depending on the size of the event, you have the possibility to gain a lot of clients, and followers on social media. Getting out and talking to people in the area will help get your name out there. If you’re not a fan of public speaking, we recommend taking a course or going live on Instagram.