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Start-Ups

7 Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Small Business

By Townes Haas   |    December 16, 2014   |    11:11 AM

How to Market Your Small Business on a Tight Budget

Marketing is an extremely effective way to reach new audiences and sell more product. Many small businesses, however, don’t have huge budgets to spend on expensive advertising to expose their brand to millions of people. There are some inexpensive ways to reach a larger audience without causing budget strain.

1. Social Media: Social media requires some work, especially setting up accounts and finding/following the right people, but it’s a great way to get your business message out and connect with influencers and potential clients. Social media messaging also helps with SEO and getting your business found online.

2. Networking: Research networking events in your area, including business happy hours, conferences and parties. Have plenty of business cards, and craft and practice an elevator pitch about your company. As you begin to attend more of these gatherings, you’ll get increasingly comfortable in this networking environment.

3. Using Connections: Your connections are a valuable asset for promoting your business, whether they’re past customers, former coworkers or friends. Ask these connections for referrals and recommendations. Some of these connections will be familiar with your business and will want to share it with their larger network. Others may need to know more about the business in order to promote it. Pull together a short overview for these people that they can use for this purpose.

4. Collaboration: Don’t go it alone. Find partners in your field or even people in other synergistic businesses. Then cross-promote each other’s businesses or outsource work to each other. Partnering with compatible businesses can expand your overall customer base and create goodwill within your local industry.

5. Get Speaker Engagements: Subject matter experts (sometimes referred to as SMEs) are considered the authorities in their field. And the way that they become SMEs is by sharing their knowledge with others. Sign up for speaker engagements at local Meetup groups, conferences or even webinars. People buy from those they trust. Build this trust by sharing knowledge.

6. Use Email: Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect and market to potential customers. Require an email address when someone signs up for a free trial, downloads an eBook or signs up for the newsletter. Then, send out nurture campaign emails to encourage these people to get to know the business and its offerings. Inexpensive email programs like MailChimp are easy to setup and use.

7. Do Free Trials: Don’t be afraid to let someone try your product or service for free for a limited time. Potential buyers can be hesitant to lay down money for a service they’ve never used. Let the customer try it for a while for free, and they’re more likely to purchase it.

Marketing doesn’t end once a small business starts getting sales and people in the door. All of these methods can be used for future marketing as well.