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Affordable marketing strategies for smaller businesses

Build it and they will come only works in the movies. If you're a small business owner, relying on people finding you will most likely end in disaster. Actively pursuing clients predicts success, but many entrepreneurs simply don't know how to do that. However, marketing is easy - if you have a plan. Here are a few tips to get your on your way.

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The best plans are written down in a notebook or on your computer. Even a scrap of paper will do. But studies show that when you write things down, you're more likely to succeed.

Sometimes new business owners are wary of any talk about marketing because they think marketing must be expensive. But can you afford not to market your company?

Here are a few tips to get your on your way:

It all starts with image (and yes, image is part of marketing as is pretty much everything you say and do). To show the world a professional image, consider the impact of having everything that represents your company match perfectly – be it business cards, brochures, and your web site to name a few.

The single most affordable marketing strategy is networking and requests for referral. In fact, not only is it the most affordable, it's also the most effective. A client coming to you through a referral is likely interested in your product or services 60% of the time. You simply can't beat that.

Direct mail is an excellent strategy for reaching your target market. Direct mail works for both business-to-business and consumer markets. And while writing for both markets has certain aspects in common, there are also important differences when copywriting for the two.

If your town has bulletin boards or shopfronts that allow it (most do if you look hard enough), post a notice free of charge. The only cost bulletin board notices have is your time.

Join your local business groups and offer to speak during their next meeting. Although public speaking is one of our most common fears, speaking to a group quickly establishes expert status.

Find a business that offers complementary services to yours and split the costs of your both your marketing. For example, if you own a graphic design business, join forces with a printer.

I can't end this discussion without mentioning websites.

There is no other way to reach as many people at the same time (except maybe advertising, but advertising on the same scale can be very expensive). The problem with websites is that creating the website is just the first step. Marketing your site takes a lot of hard work, but it's worth it.

Small business marketing doesn't need to be difficult. Nor does it need to be expensive.

These strategies are just the tip of the iceberg. Really, you're only limited by your imagination, and of course your budget.

About the author

Eve Jackson offers marketing services to small business owners. Visit her website at detailssbs.com/services.php where you'll find all sorts of information to help your small business succeed. You'll learn about small business image, marketing strategies, direct mail and small business website development from start to finish.

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