Janine Marin - communications expert

Six low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses


Market your business for less

Small business often means small marketing budgets, but that doesn’t have to equate to small results. With the right investments in a few key areas, you could be reaping the rewards with customers finding you.

Reach more clients while on a budget

Here are six low-cost marketing ideas to help your small business succeed:

1. Publish great content.
All great content starts with a great content plan. Your plan doesn’t have to be elaborate – a simple spreadsheet with upcoming blogs topics and proposed dates and events is enough to get started and will give you guidance and deadlines – essential to keep you on track. Don’t expect too much from yourself to start with, but once you gain momentum and get comfortable with your blogging skills and frequency, one blog a week is ideal to keep your audience interested, but not overwhelmed.

Also to consider is the length of your blog – referred to as ‘short form’ (less than 1,000 words) or ‘long form’ (over 1,000 words). Short form has been shown to rank higher in the search engines if it sits around 320 words or 740 words for in-depth pieces whereas long-form content has shown that between 1,600 words and 2,500 words is the content marketing sweet spot.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#smallbusiness #marketing Market your business for less with these 6 steps!” quote=”Small marketing budgets don’t have to equal small results”]

2. Get visual.
Instructional videos are marketing gold right now. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, so get in the action. Remember to add value though – don’t post a video for the sake of it. If you’re genuinely giving something back and helping your audience, you’re onto a winner. ‘How to’ videos are so popular because people want to be walked through a process. When they do, let them find you!

If you’re really up for a challenge and want to stand out online and connect with your audience, live streaming is the way to go. Facebook Live has recently become a popular platform. Your followers will receive a notification when you go ‘live’ and of course there’s no cost, no time involved in editing and no fancy studio or lighting required.

3. Guest blogs.
These can work both ways – with you as the guest on another blogger’s platform or with them as a guest on yours. This is another free marketing tool, although you may need to invest some time in building relationships so another blogger will agree to the mutual benefits. If you put in the effort, however, you should reap the rewards, including:

  • attracting a new audience – your guest’s readers are likely to follow them wherever they go;
  • exposure and traffic back to your site if you’re the guest; and
  • building backlinks to your website – often favoured by Google from an SEO perspective.

Do your research – there are many sites that openly accept submissions from guest bloggers without needing to build a relationship. You just need to submit a solid blog or proposal and if they like it, you may be offered a spot. It’s definitely worth pursuing. Some essential tips on pitching and submitting a guest blog.

4. Facebook advertising.
To play you have to pay! Facebook’s organic reach is not what it used to be. Gone are the days when you’d see every post that every person and page you followed put out there. These days, to be seen you have to throw a bit of cash behind your posts, but it doesn’t need to be a lot to be effective.

Moz reported that Facebook ads can reach as many people or more than radio and TV in any country, averaging out at around $0.25 cents per 1,000 impressions. While others suggest this amount is a little higher, it’s still a good outcome for a small investment. You can also target your ads to specific audience demographics, so you really get the eyes you want to see your ads.

Buffer experimented to see what $5 spend per day would get on Facebook. The results included nine page ‘likes’ per day, one click-through to the home site per day and the boosted post reached 787 new people per day. If you’re in small business, the question shouldn’t be ‘why use Facebook?’ It should be, ‘why not?’

5. Google My Business.
Relevant info is available to customers instantly when your business is on Google My Business – a great free way to drive traffic to your website. All of your details are clickable, which makes it an easy transaction for customers who want to contact you, find out more or even get directions to your place of business. Customer reviews can be added, which you can interact with and show your good service, and you can add images to make your listing stand out.
What’s more, you can track all your data to see what’s working and what needs changing. Find out more about the benefits of Google My Business.

6. Email marketing.
While we’re used to receiving dozens of newsletters a day in our inbox, there’s a reason for it – it works! With an enticing subject line and the right audience, there’s no reason why email marketing shouldn’t work for you.

It allows you to keep in touch with your clients (don’t let them forget you!), you can instantly send out special offers directly to those who want to buy from you and you can grow a database, which is always a handy tool to have as part of your sales arsenal.

With smartphones, people are consistently checking their inbox throughout the day and even get alerts when new mail has landed. Wouldn’t you like to be there when they look?
Think it’s too time-consuming to put together? Think again! Using a free platform such as Mailchimp means your email looks professional and is a doddle to use. Still not convinced it’s worth the effort? Check out these stats.

No more excuses

So, with all of these tools on offer to us, there are no more excuses not to be marketing our small businesses. Gone are the days of forking out hundreds of dollars for a tiny ad in the local paper that couldn’t be tracked. These days marketing is affordable, effective and easier than ever before.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#smallbusiness #marketing These days marketing is affordable, effective and easier than ever before.” quote=”These days marketing is affordable, effective and easier than ever before.”]

What’s worked for you?

Now you have some tools, we’d like to hear from you. What marketing have you found to be effective for your business and how did you use it to get the best response?


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