TV ads, billboards, direct mailers — these are all common ways companies market their own products and services. If you do not have thousands of dollars to invest into your marketing budget, how do you engage with your potential clients?
Small business owners often find it difficult to stretch their tight budgets to effectively market their offerings.
However, with a little creativity, there are ways to advertise your business on any budget.
Multi-million dollar companies hire marketing experts, PR gurus, and sales executives to advertise their products and secure sales.
Although a small business owner with a handful of staff cannot compete with that, they can “hire” existing customers to help them market their brands.
One way to do that is with a referral program, where you reward your customers for bringing in new business.
Offering discounts or freebies to those that help you generate sales has been a strategy many businesses have relied on for their success.
Dropbox’s referral program, which offers 500MB of free cloud storage to individuals who refer their friends, increased their sign-up rate by 60%.
PayPal’s financial incentive for referrals helped them achieve “7 to 10% daily growth” and “turned out to yield better marketing ROI than traditional marketing channels.”
It is free to start a referral program, and the discounts or expenses of paying for the referrals will be offset by the new sales!
Creating self-made YouTube videos showcasing your products or services is another low-cost marketing tactic.
All you need is a device with the ability to record and upload videos, and you are ready to start marketing.
Skateboarding shoes company, DC Shoes, took this approach in 2009, when they started uploading short videos of the company’s co-founder, “driving a tricked-out race car around closed-off airports, theme parks, and even the port of San Francisco… the stunt driving is interspersed with glamour shots of footwear.”
These efforts paid off immensely with “180 million views—and in 2011 alone, sales jumped 15%.”
Experts say this type of marketing would cost about $5 million had it been done through traditional methods.
Form a team with other, non-competing business owners to market each other’s services.
Visit other small businesses in your area, and form agreements that will benefit each party involved.
You can leave business cards or flyers in each other’s locations, cross-link on each other’s websites, or create bundled promotions.
Cross-promotion is an beneficial tool that doesn’t just benefit your business, but your community by helping small businesses succeed.