There are many different ways to market your small business both online and offline. While some are free, you should at least try to work with a shoestring budget if you need to stretch those dollars stretch as far as possible.
One reason for spending some of your hard-earned money on marketing is because free lead generating efforts are often time-intensive. Another is that free methods often take some time to work, often weeks or months, while paid methods can start bringing in traffic within the first day, and sometimes even within the first hour.
The following eight methods we are about to cover will work whether you have a strictly digital business, a dropship business, or an offline business. Moreover, even if you have a digital business, it does not mean that you can’t market your business offline; similarly, if you just have a brick-and-mortar or offline service business, you can, and should, create a website to market your business online, too.
Let’s start with offline marketing methods that are budget-friendly.
Offline Marketing Techniques
By joining Meetup Groups, Chamber of Commerce organizations, service clubs, or other business networking opportunities, you can quickly generate leads for your business. While some have membership or subscription fees and others don’t cost anything to join, there are usually incidental fees involved, like paying for catered beverages at meetings, going to restaurants, or covering transportation costs. There is also the opportunity cost of spending a considerable amount of time socializing instead of working on your business.
2. Business collateral distribution
The use of marketing materials, like business cards, brochures, doorknobs, or flyers will only incur small printing costs. Giveaways at events are a good way to distribute business collateral. A company like Shirtspace wholesale t-shirts can reproduce your logo on a variety of clothing items you can then use in your marketing strategy. You can distribute them at trade shows or events to people who visit your booth.
3. In person or telephone solicitation.
Although now considered dated, knocking on doors and cold calling still works. However, this is usually a labor-intensive way of getting leads and only worth pursuing if you can’t afford paid advertising methods and are selling a high-ticket product.
4. Guerrilla marketing.
There are numerous free or almost no cost methods of guerrilla marketing. For instance, you can wear badges on hats or collars that are designed to provoke people to ask them your their business opportunity or you can strike up casual conversations in public places with people who could benefit from your product or services.
Online Marketing Techniques
1. Website marketing
You can easily build your own website using a website builder tool. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to do. While it may not have all the customization that you might like, it can prove worthwhile until your business grows to a point where you can hire a professional designer. You can attract traffic to your website via Google PPC ads, Facebook ads, or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques.
Blogging is an easy way to attract traffic from SEO and social media websites. Long-form, high-quality blog posts can help you establish your reputation as an authority in your niche.
3. Email marketing
By driving traffic to a landing page or an opt-in form on your website, blog, or mini-site, you can attract subscribers and build long-term relationships with prospects.
4. YouTube Marketing
You can attract thousands of people to your website every month by starting your own YouTube channel. Consumers are highly responsive to video marketing messages.
A Quick Evaluation
If you are planning on doing offline marketing, then you will get the most value from networking. Unless you are completely broke, it’s best to avoid free or ultra-low-cost methods, which basically involve randomly distributing flyers or other marketing information with your business contact information, accosting strangers with your marketing messages in malls or at grocery checkout stands, and cold calling. While these do work, they usually require a Herculean amount of time and effort to get leads, as well as a really thick skin to counter all rejection as well as blatant abuse from irritated people.
Overall, it’s best to avoid these free guerrilla marketing methods as there are far more efficient methods available. Meanwhile, all the online marketing methods are highly effective. Although, online, too, you will get more traction using paid advertising rather than slower free methods like SEO.
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