For start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners, every dollar counts. But even if you start with a tight marketing budget, this doesn’t mean you cannot increase the visibility of your business while spending next to nothing. By the way, while I see myself as a guerilla marketer, I do understand the importance of spending money to make money.
It’s possible to market your business effectively for less than $100 a month. The important thing is to focus on cheap marketing strategies that actually work, and that offer the best return on your investment. Here’s how to get started.
Embrace Email Marketing (Up to $50/Month)
Email marketing is so powerful that marketers report an average ROI of $44.25 for every dollar spent on it. For many small businesses, it’s the best marketing strategy available, and one that doesn’t cost too much time, either.
Automated email marketing platforms cost up to $50 a month for 5,000 contacts, which should be more than enough for a small business. Marketing platforms such as Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and the like come with templates that help you design engaging emails. Email platforms also help you easily track the performance of your sent emails, including open rates and click-troughs. You can go back to tweak them for best results for future mailings.
To keep costs low, you will have to create content for your email marketing campaign yourself. However, this doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. Gather content from your blog and website and tie it to any news or updates you want to feature. Send a weekly or by-monthly email to all your subscribers.
To grow your email list, encouraging people on your blog, website, and social media pages to sign to your email list via an opt-in form and along with a give-away.
Optimize Your Website for Search Engines (Free or $5)
Search engine optimization doesn’t have to be daunting for 50-something entrepreneurs. It’s possible to optimize a small business website on your own, without having to pay a professional to do it for you. The result will be a higher Google ranking, which translates to more online visibility and a steady source of traffic for keyword searches in your niche. Here’s how you can do it:
- Use a SEO-friendly content management system or website builder like WordPress
- Use a mobile-friendly theme that works on both phones and tablets (for those new to this, when looking for a WordPress template it will be listed as a responsive template (many are available for free).
- Share your experience by writing posts for your blog and content for your website
- Add to your website content and blog posts keywords relevant to your topic
- Include keywords in the headline and page URL
- Give images titles and ALT tags
You can also use a cheap outsourcing platform like Fiverr where you can get basic SEO, design, or marketing services starting at US$5.
Advertise the Smart Way ($45)
If you want to make advertising a part of your marketing strategy, turn your attention to social media ads. You can market your business for free on social media by creating a business page on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and posting on it engaging posts. For even more targeted marketing, however, social ads are a cost-effective and powerful solution.
With just $45, you can get your ads seen by hundreds, even thousands of people on social media. These ads won’t be as powerful as a twenty-feet-long billboard, but they will reach a very targeted audience, ensuring you get the best value for your money.
It’s also good to keep in mind that ads can build familiarity for your brand. Even if not everyone will click them, your ads will have a subliminal effect. Later, if they encounter your brand again, they will be more likely to answer your call to action.
Marketing on a low budget is not only possible, but in many ways it can be good for your business. Instead of taking the easy way out and spending thousands of dollars on ads, it encourages you to market your business more organically, through content and search engine optimization.