Let’s talk about how to market your business on little or no budget. One truth I have found in marketing is that when you spend less money you must spend more time, it’s a tradeoff. It is truly astonishing how many ways there are to market without spending money if you are willing to spend the time. When you feel you shouldn’t spend money on marketing your business ask yourself what your own time is worth. Depending on how valuable your time is it might be more expensive in the long run not to hire someone. Of course, you can learn to do it all yourself, just make sure that’s the best thing for your business.
So how do you market without a budget? The answer is by simply spending time on your marketing. The less money you spend on marketing the more time you will have to spend on getting your message out there. For example, Content Marketing is a great method for establishing your brand voice, gaining credibility and getting your message out to your target audience. Personally, networking has done the most for my business in terms of time spent to dollars earned. Each industry is different, but I am of the opinion you can’t go wrong with networking as you explore the methods that work best for you.
When some businesses say they want free marketing it means they want someone else to do it for free. They just need to remember that everyone’s time is valuable and in general, people do not like working for free. One method to reduce your marketing spending is to consider a trade, consider what you can do for them. If you find a way to compensate others even when you are cash-strapped, you will find people are more willing to help you. Doing it yourself is the intent of this article on marketing without a budget but if you can get help, go for it.
So, what methods do I recommend to market on zero budget?
According to Imaginepub, email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. No matter what business you are in you should always be building your email marketing list. You can have a sign-up list at the front counter or use gated content to build your list, but you should always be generating more names for your email campaigns. Email marketing has one of the Highest ROI and conversion rates, in fact for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38. Use a free email service to get you started and upgrade when the email list becomes profitable. To keep people subscribed make sure your email campaigns provide value. People leave lists that don’t provide them something they feel is valuable to them.
Blogging is the cornerstone of Content Marketing. Research conducted by Demand Gen Report in 2016 found 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. HubSpot found that marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those that do not so the number tell us it is worth the investment in time if used right. There are many blogging sites you can use for free and others that have a reasonable fee structure. Make sure you take a look at the user agreements regarding monetizing your blog if that is a direction you eventually want to go. If you create your own unique content and publish it yourself, you won’t have to spend a dime unless you want a specific domain or program features for your blog. Couple that with a program to create your own graphics and it makes it easier to brand your business online in a uniform way.
Using social media platforms to reach your potential audience can be cost-effective and powerful. Sprout Social found that 80% of social marketers said that their key strategy is to increase engagement across social channels. You don’t have to buy paid ads to talk directly to your audience you just need to speak about things they want to hear. The same company found that 73% of consumers want to see posts about discounts and sales, 60% want to see posts that showcase new products and services and 59% want to see posts that teach something. Between preexisting groups and growing your own following, there are many channels to get the word out about your business. Use only the Social Media channels that make sense for your business and the ones your target audience uses. Don’t waste time on Social Media Channels that don’t make sense. Using a graphics program will also help gain more exposure as visual content does well on all social media platforms.
The number one way to get the word out about your business is Networking. Forbes conducted a survey and found around 9 in 10 people claiming that small meetings are their favorite communication method. Networking reaches fewer people but has the potential to create a richer client list and more impact than any other method. The biggest impact is that the close rate for in-person meetings is 40%. No social network or online ad has a close rate anywhere near that high. Also, if you network properly you aren’t just finding new clients by yourself, but you are creating an army of advocates who will feed you warm leads and more business. The most powerful part of networking as a marketing tool is that people buy from people they trust and networking builds trust.
You may want to spend zero dollars and do all the marketing yourself, but it could be worth bringing in outside help. Regardless of which direction, or combination of directions, you go you now have more of an idea of what is possible with a little time and determination. Stuart labs found that 90% of searchers haven’t made their mind up about a brand before starting their search so marketing is more important than ever in the modern world. Make sure you have a plan and know which parts you are willing to do yourself.