If you’re running a small business, your time and your budget have to be spent as efficiently as possible. Especially in this economy, the savvy small business owner is wearing a variety of hats. Probably the coolest hat, and trickiest to size, is Marketer.
Marketing is such a big umbrella of strategies and tasks, but essentially, it’s promoting and selling your product or service. How do you, from the ground up and on a budget, get the word out about your business? It can be overwhelming, but with a little guerilla grit and creative thinking, you can put your business out there in a real and impactful way.
Here are 5 marketing ideas that are easy to implement, budget-friendly, and fun to execute.
Don’t knock “basic”
Swag is getting too cool for me. Collapsable water bottles and AirPod holders? No thanks. I will, however, always accept a pen.
This is like passing out your business cards, but better. As a former NYC resident, I don’t take any piece of paper handed to me during my commute on public transportation, not from a politician, not from a restaurant, not from anyone. I also don’t stop to make conversation. This might be unique to NYC, but if your strategy is to hit the streets and talk to the people, you might find yourself by yourself.
Donating branded pens to local offices and restaurants is a low-cost way to create brand awareness. Get your feet wet by starting with the places you already frequent. Meet the owner and make a connection.
Bulletin board flyers
These will never become obsolete. If you’re looking to tap into your local market, small shops (i.e. the local coffee spot) have bulletin boards where businesses can post something. Please make it nicer than Microsoft Word, Comic Sans, and some clip art (try Canva!). Be sure to engage with the owners of where you post your flyers. You’ll naturally build your customer base and network by building these relationships.
What other products or services do your customers use? Businesses in similar industries, or in industries that complement one another, can cross-promote each other’s products and services to give each other’s businesses a helping hand.
For example, if you’re a shoe store, you can cross promote with your local gym. Anyone who buys a pair of shoes from you gets a coupon to the gym, and anyone who joins the gym gets a coupon for a pair of shoes.
Think about what type of partnership makes sense for your business (it can be more than one cross promotion!) and introduce yourself and the idea over email or in person. This works great with local/small businesses, as they generally want to keep similar shops around.
Nano- or micro-influnencers are a great way to target parts of your audience. Content made by your followers is excellent at promoting your brand in an organic and authentic way. This type of content has a high trust rating because it’s real people giving honest opinions (good, bad, or neutral).
Nano-influencers are your everyday social media users to have up to 10K followers. They aren’t professional “influencers” in any way. A micro-influencer is an influencer with a follower count within the range of 10K –100K followers.
These influencers can also help your business reach a wider audience at an affordable price point. You can work with more influencers for a smaller budget to increase your reach. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, here’s what you can expect to pay:
- Instagram: $100–$500/post
- YouTube: $200–$1,000/video
- TikTok: $25–$125/video
- Twitter: $20–$100/Tweet
- Facebook: $250–$1,250/post
There’s also a good chance that if your influencer uses your product or service, their followers are likely to be a part of your target audience as well. You can start by connecting with some of your loyal customers, searching online for influencers in your area or finding the online communities that your product or service would benefit.
Post helpful videos or blog articles
Whatever your business is, there’s got to be something that you’re an expert on or love talking about. If you’re a makeup artist, you could post a video on how to achieve the perfect winged eye-liner. If you’re an accountant, you could write a blog giving tips on getting the biggest tax refund. If you’re a graphic designer, you could film a real on how to know when your business is ready for a logo.
Whatever you do and whatever you’re into, talk about it. You are the expert, you have the secret sauce, and doing this puts a face to your business. Keep your content bite sized and easy to digest. Don’t over complicate what you’re trying to explain, and don’t add too much filler. The last thing you want is your viewer to tap out after 10 seconds, or your reader to X out after the intro paragraph.
Be sure to end with a way for viewers or readers to get in touch with you.
It’s not as overwhelming as you might think to start marketing your business, and you definitely don’t have to do all the things. Start with 2 or 3, and really pour into them. Remember that results aren’t instant, and progress is ongoing. Who knows, you might even go viral!