November 9, 2014
The following marketing ideas can be accomplished with little to no money, they work for any small business on a small budget. It doesn’t matter if you sell a service, or any kind of product or hand-crafted items; you need a solid marketing strategy in order for people to find you. Take a look at these 5 ideas to get you started:
Transform your Waiting Area
If you have a dedicated area for waiting clients or customers, either a room or maybe a counter, then try to make their wait time more productive. Encouraging social sharing for your small business is very important.
Set up a laptop opened up to your Facebook page, your blog or Yelp! profile and encourage social engagement. Make a flyer or write a friendly note and place it in a highly visual place asking your visitors to ‘like’ your page, leave a comment or invite them to write a quick review.
You could also offer a small gift like a key chain or water bottle with your logo on it for leaving you valuable feedback or for sharing your social media pages with their friends and family.
Utilize your Print Collateral
If you are handing out printed materials to your customers make good use of the space. Include your website/blog URL, your social media URL’s, promo details and a QR code.
Creating a QR code with an online generator is quick, easy and free. What is a QR Code you might wonder? A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode that is readable by smartphones. They look very similar to the standard bar codes that appear on all types of consumer products.
QR Codes may be used to display text to the user, to open a website, save a contact to the address book or to compose text messages. Basically a QR code is a paper-based hyperlink that connects the physical world with the online world. There are many practical ways QR codes can be used for marketing and promotions in a variety of settings.
QR Codes can be integrated into any type of printed materials including:
- Conference displays
- Print ads
- Business cards
- Brochures, poster and flyers
- Postcards and mailers
- Book covers
These codes provide a convenient one-step process for directing users to a website, phone number, directions to your business, current promotions or other information.
Join a Local Forum
Find a local forum community that relates to your brand or business. This is a great and free way to market yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field, as well as to connect with others who may be able to help your business grow.
Networking opportunities, discounts and training are just some of the things local associations like the Chamber of Commerce or BNI (Business Network International) can offer you and your small business. One nice benefit of joining a local forum is the fact that members will often offer other members a discount on goods or services.
Community involvement is very crucial to any small business that is why many towns have a monthly get-together for small business owners. By promoting yourself through networking opportunities you can gain more local exposure, make valuable contacts and get great marketing ideas.
Some other benefits of joining a local forum:
- Exposure to many other people and businesses
- Increase in possible referrals
- Networking opportunities
Give a Speech
A lot of people hate public speaking, myself included. However, there are many organizations looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups. Take a deep breath and volunteer to give a speech.
You don’t have to be a professsional to give a speech as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. And the upside — the more you do it the easier it gets. Plus, it positions you as a credible authority in your field.
Some tips to help you get ready for your speech:
- Organize your information in simple patterns
- Use your introduction to set the audience’s expectations
- Have a special conclusion ready to go into at the end
- Anticipate any questions that might be asked
- Practice your speech out loud
- Establish eye contact, look around and smile
- Vary your pitch, don’t be a monotone drone
- Convey enthusiasm for your subject-matter
Just think, you will have a room full of people that have to listen to what you are saying, and some times they even pay to be there. What better way to share your business information on a low budget.
As a small business owner, and especially if you are just starting out, you may think it is almost impossible to get the word out about what you do. That is not so, and you don’t need any marketing gimmicks or fads either. Knowing this alone will save you a lot of money, frustration and wasted time.
Be helpful not just to your customers, but to your fellow small business owners, local organizations and causes as well.
Support a cause, help a fellow business or sponsor an organization, but don’t just show up or throw some money at them. Volunteer to lead the group, or fix the problem, and you never know who you might be rubbing elbows with. You might just connect with the brightest minds of the fastest growing companies in your area. Last, but not least, your customers will love you for your generosity or good will.
The marketing ideas I outlined above have been proven to work by millions of other small business owners and they will work you.
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