Not that you should get into the habit of spending absolutely no money on your marketing budget, but perhaps these tips will help you to better budget and maybe reallocate some of your funds. The purpose of your marketing initiatives is to put your brand out there, to put your company in front of potential clients and customers. Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, you are your best marketing representative, and you are your top seller. With this in mind, you can turn normal, everyday activity into generating new traffic to your company website and potential new customers to your products or services.
Here are 7 marketing tips that cost you nothing:
- When you are at a networking function or if you just so happen to run into someone at the supermarket while shopping in the produce section, as you reach for your business card, instead of handing out one, hand them two. Chances are by the end of your conversation you have told them a little bit about yourself and your business. Either they have asked for your business card or you have offered. Either way, by handing out two cards you can let them know that you appreciate the referral. So next week when that person is talking to a friend about XYZ product or service, they can say “hey, actually I met someone who does that, here let me give you their card.”
- If you are someone who loves to read blogs, occasionally you will find an article worthy of you leaving a comment on an opinion. Most blog comment forms provide the option for you to provide your website address which will link up to your name when your comment is displayed. Definitely link that up to your business site, and on the same note, since you will be representing your company, make sure you have something relevant, constructive and meaningful to say. This might also broaden your scope of blogs that you read. Perhaps you’ll include some more industry-specific blogs and provide your expert opinion.
- Offer to be a guest blogger or to be interviewed for another website that covers your industry. Many of these sites will offer to do a blurb about you at the end of the article when it is posted, and they will also link the article to your website.
- Up your presence online. There are so many forms of social media and social networking, many which are free to use. Setting up a LinkedIn account, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page make you searchable on several different terms, and give your business more exposure. You don’t have to be on these sites all the time everyday. There are applications through Facebook that will link up to your Twitter account so when you post to Twitter it shows up on Facebook. There are applications on Twitter that allow you to include a RSS feed on your website so that when you update Twitter, it shows up on your website. If you don’t think you can make the time commitment and you have an intern or a secretary, this can be a fun project for them to generate buzz.
- Get an online newsletter. They are relatively inexpensive these days, and many service providers will offer free trial periods to get you started. If you happen to have under 100 subscribers (or you are new to newsletters so it will take some time to build up your fan base), Mailchimp will let you send out your newsletters for free and earn credits as an affiliate for having their logo tucked away at the bottom of your newsletter. So you can start this project at no costs and then watch it grow.
- Hand write thank you notes to your clients or customers. This is especially important if you are a service provider. Once the job is done, let your client know that you enjoyed working with them and put a stamp on it! It’s so much more personal than an email, and your client won’t expect it at all. Include a couple of business cards in your thank you note (see Tip #1). If you are a small business selling a product that you mail to your customers, on the printed invoice/receipt simply right “thank you!” or “we appreciate your service!” This lets your customer know that you are not a computer, but a person who truly appreciates their patronage.
- Get feedback from your clients and customers. Networking sites such as LinkedIn already have an electronic referral form that you can use. If your client/customer is not on LinkedIn, you can send them an invitation to join (explaining the benefits). Once they join, send them the referral form. Use their response in your promotional materials (website, blog, white sheets, case studies, etc).
Wow that’s really simple! And you didn’t even have to reach for your wallet or credit card. If you have any tips you would like to share, simply comment on this article for all to see.