Starting a business is never easy. Aside from the huge amount of courage it takes to set up shop on your own, there are costs that come along with taking the leap. You might have to apply for and pay for licenses. If your business requires a physical premises, you’ll have to find somewhere suitable and negotiate terms on one - and they pay the bill. You might have staff to hire and pay, and stock to acquire. Start-up costs can be high, and you can run out of it very quickly.
Even if you're confident that your business idea is going to make you a fortune, you haven't made that money yet, and you won't be able to unless people find out about what you're selling and know where to come for it. That means that you have to invest in marketing. The problem with that is that you may not have huge amounts of money left once all the other start-up costs are paid for. Help is at hand, though. There are ways to market a business on a shoestring budget - you just have to get a little inventive and resourceful!
Below, we've listed our top 5 low budget marketing ideas, and you're welcome to take them and use them as you please. They'll point you in the right direction, but they can't guarantee you success. The best way to achieve that is through persistence. Remember that successful marketing schemes work a lot like playing Chilli heat slot on a casino website. You don't expect to win every time you spend money at an online slots website, but you know that if you keep putting money in, you'll get a return in the end. The first nine times you spin the reels of that online slots game, it might feel like nothing is happening, but then you win on the tenth, and the win makes everything worthwhile. That's why it's worth persisting with these marketing methods even if you appear to be getting nowhere at first!
Blog Hard, and Blog Often
There's a reason that this article exists on our blog page. Blogs are great for SEO, and they'll help people to find your company's website even if it isn't directly related to what they were searching for. There's a technique to blogging successfully, and so yo you can't just write the first few things that pop into your mind, but there are several helpful guides online that can provide you with vital tips. Blogs are likely to be your website’s primary source of fresh content, and the more often fresh content appears on your website, the better it will rank with Google. A well-structured, frequently-updated blog can be the difference between appearing in the first two pages of Google results or being buried somewhere nobody will see you. They also provide you with an opportunity to display your knowledge of your chosen field.
Contribute Articles Elsewhere
Your company's website will not be deemed a high-authority source of information when it's brand new. That doesn't mean you can't piggyback someone else's success and use it to direct more traffic to your own site, though. You do this by contributing articles to other websites and implanting links back to your own. Buzzfeed and Medium both accept unsolicited posts from businesses, and they're just the tip of the iceberg. There will be industry blogs and publications that cover your area of work, and they'd love to hear from you. Submitting content to them is a great way of getting your name in front of their audience free of charge.
Offer Customer Incentives
Your first few customers are likely to be friends, family, and acquaintances, but you don’t know every single acquaintance that your acquaintances have. You can create a whole network that starts with your friends and family and stretches out from there if you’re clever about how you do it. Most small businesses are heavily reliant on personal referrals and word-of-mouth, so all you need to do is get people talking and get that word-of-mouth spread around. You do this through incentives. Could you offer free products to people who refer others to you? Could you pay them referral fees, or offer them cashback on what they’ve already paid you? People love making money for minimal effort, so if you can afford to pay everyone who successfully refers you a customer a small amount of money, you might find that some of your more entrepreneurial acquaintances suddenly turn into your biggest lead providers. Once you’ve got these new customers, offer the same incentives to them!
Scour Social Media
Twitter can be a noisy and frustrating place, full of loud opinions and little actual knowledge or insight. It can still be an excellent marketing tool if it’s used correctly, though. One of the first places people go when they’re looking for a product or service is social media. They’ll either ask their friends for advice, or they’ll casually mention that they’re looking for a specific service in a Tweet. So long as you’re there monitoring Twitter for relevant words and phrases, you can be directly in touch with that person within seconds of them posting their Tweet. The moment someone asks for recommendations, you can be there offering your services. It’s direct, it’s personal, and it works.
There are companies out there who’ll happily provide leads for you, and they don’t often want fees in advance. Instead, they’ll take a cut of any profits you make from selling the leads that they provide to you. It eats into your profit margins per sale, but it’s a good way to get customers during your first few months of operations. After that point, you’ll hopefully be getting enough new leads through your incentive scheme not to have to rely on them any longer. Get on Google and look for resellers or affiliates within your chosen field, speak to a few of them, and find out what they can do for you. They don’t all charge the same rate of commission - and some of them will want a much larger slice of the pie than others - so don’t just sign up with the first company you speak to no matter how good the deal seems!
Four of these ideas are completely free, and one of them will cost you a chunk of your profits but shouldn't cost much up front. None of them will make you the millions you're looking for, but they'll help you get up and running and lay the foundations for the fortune to come. Now you know what they are, go forth, and put them into practice!