What do smart entrepreneurs do differently to ensure their business stays profitable? They do the simple things right. Simple things like finding cheap ways to get exposure, or acting on their customers’ complaints, or networking in the right places (even while social distancing). But don’t just think outside the box, get rid of the box! Be creative. Think guerrilla. And if that doesn’t work, sometimes it just doesn’t hurt to ask questions. The truth is, your success is going to be dependent upon how much work you’re willing to put in and how good you are at telling your story.
Here’s a recipe for marketing on a shoestring budget. Lack of funding is a problem many people face when looking to start a new business. Sometimes, taking out a loan is not possible or is simply not enough to cover costs. While there are many funding alternatives, including crowdfunding, equity-sharing, and pitching for angel investment, if you’d prefer to go without the loan, there are a number of things you can do yourself:
1. Start blogging, blogging and blogging.
The best way to create new buyers is by creating a company blog and posting on it frequently. Think of the quality of your product and the quality of your blog as two distinct things you could work on. Of course, well-written and well-researched content derives better responses.
In the virtual world, people will keep trusting you if you appear active enough. And somewhat like God, the internet works in mysterious ways. If any of your blog posts goes viral, you’ll be building links and attracting customers from places you have never even heard of.
2. Join online communities and maintain a social media presence.
Don’t forget to include social media marketing in your outreach strategy! LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are great platforms to turn to if you’re looking to find and join a community of people that will be interested in what you have to say or offer. To become an active member, you don’t even need to start your own community; just join other existing communities to get a lay of the land. With BILLIONS of people logging onto social media platforms each day, it’s imperative that you maintain active accounts that allow you to engage with your audience by posting regular updates and shareable content.
To make things easier when getting started in social media and marketing for your business, you can visit 40billion.com — the fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in automated promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites at the same time – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like promoted posts and promoted company listings were created for small business entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. This could expand your reach even faster and further than ever before.
3. Ask your current customers for referrals.
There’s absolutely nothing shameful about asking your customers to refer a friend (or two) if they’re happy with what you provide. People prefer to do business with people they know, or with people they know of.
Next time someone compliments your product or service, thank them and be sure to ask if they know of someone else who might benefit from what you’ve got to offer.
4. Pitch the press.
Before you do this, get your business story straight; after all, this is what you’re really selling, and this is what people are interested in reading about. Products come and go, but great stories remain alive in our minds for a long time. People like Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs are especially memorable not just because of the things they made, but because they lived interesting lives, faced challenges, and overcame them.
A great CEO or company is one that has a unique story. Take advantage of your own life to create your company story. Once you’ve got that ready, you can begin writing to newspapers, magazines, editors, and journalists. Twitter is a good place to get started – many journalists have Twitter accounts which you can skim through to figure out whether they’d be interested in writing about you. You can also use websites like ProfNet to do some easy PR outreach.
5. Network, be friendly, and speak up.
Great networking is about developing real relationships that are beneficial to both parties. Poor networking is shallow and transaction-driven.
If you’re going out to speak to people solely with the intention of selling your product or getting what you want, you’re unlikely to build trust, and therefore unlikely to get what you want. On the other hand, if you are genuinely interested in the other party, you’re far more likely to find them opening up and getting in touch with you after the event.
Developing relationships within your local community is the best way to get your first customer. Reach out to the local Chamber of Commerce to establish and build relationships with people that may then refer business to you.
6. Create a solid marketing plan.
By starting off with a marketing plan, you’re really putting the time into laying out exactly who your target market is, what your competition looks like, your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and any budget or advertising plans that you may have.
Like a business plan, a marketing plan is not a static document, but rather something that can be adjusted and added to over time. As you update it, you’ll also be getting a better understanding of your business and of how you came to be where you are today.
If you’re unsure about how to write a marketing plan, there are hundreds of sample plans and startup guides available online to help you get started.
While this list is by no means a conclusive guide to marketing on a shoestring budget, it’s a great list of tried and proven approaches that will give you a PR boost. As you’re just getting started, enjoy the ride and take every opportunity to spread the word as creatively and proactively as possible.
About 40Billion.com [Harendra Jani – VP] 40Billion is the social network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders – a social platform for connecting business owners and promoting the things they create. Use 40Billion to find professional contacts and projects, get affordable digital marketing and social media promotion, and show off your creations to the world. Awarded Best Small Business Marketing Platform by US Business News!