Marketing is the second most important aspect of any business operation. It drives leads, boosts sales and brings the much-needed awareness to the masses that your business needs.
It is usually perceived that you need a separate budget for marketing. However, this is not always possible, especially when you’re just starting out. Hiring marketing professionals is always the right thing to do, but it is something you can’t always do.
Therefore, when you’re budget is strapped, start thinking on your feet and use the resources available. You may at first think that you don’t have much to go on, but some ingenious ways can be strategized.
[su_note note_color=”#66ecff” radius=”0″]Here are 17 Pro-hustle Ways for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget[/su_note]
#1 Set Up a Business Page on Google
You will instantly get listed on the search platform. Your business will be logged on Google Search, Maps and Google+, thus, enabling customers to easily find you, contact you and review your business.
This is especially useful for local businesses as they help boost local search rankings. In fact, Google+ reviews also influence rankings of those close to you. This means that if your local connections perform well, so do you.
#2 Set Up a Yelp Listing
Yelp is the biggest website when it comes to business reviews. It is a great platform to promote your business and find prospective clients. Listing your business is entirely free, and you get direct exposure to the 140 million average monthly users.
Having such listings help boost your online reputation and rankings. Even a single positive review matters. You can use these platforms to connect with prospective buyers of your services/products and boost your business.
#3 Have You Heard About Angieslist?
If you are a service-based business, then this is one website you should be listed on. It promotes local service based businesses and allows a listing for free. However, you need to pay a monthly subscription to continue using the platform.
#4 Tap into Local Business Opportunities: Yahoo Local
You may devise all your marketing campaigns keeping Google as the primary search engine, and that’s perfect, but you should also give a share to other search engines like Yahoo.
Yahoo offers local businesses to list themselves for free and improve local search rankings. You automatically get integrated into other products like Yahoo review, maps and events.
#5 Join Facebook and LinkedIn Groups in Your Niche
This should be already on your strategic marketing checklist. Joining groups can be beneficial in multiple ways.
When you join such groups, make sure you offer valuable advice and tips by regularly engaging in the form of posts, comments, feedbacks, shares, and likes. Networks like Facebook and LinkedIn have very targeted traffic across various niches.
When you start offering engagement, people, and other businesses connect with you. This way, you invite business outreach for your brand and start gaining authority in your sector.
Your business reputation gets a boost, and you become a sought after authority in your niche. This plays considerably when you finally land your product and helps in increasing sales.
#6 Start Using Images to Offer Discounts and Incentives on Social Media
Graphic Imagery has a high retention rate on social media, and incentives have the highest conversions.
Combining the two, you can come up with some impressive incentive campaigns for your audience. Use images to offer discounts, deals and coupons. It is also an excellent way to market your business without using any irritating promotional content.
#7 Start Offering Short But Free Consultancy Sessions to Your Followers
Offering free consultancy sessions is a great way to get people interested in your business and drive traffic to your website. Not only do you get a chance to collect valuable lead data in the form of emails and contacts but you also get a chance to show your credibility.
Offering these sessions also provide a sense of credibility to your business and increase the satisfaction quotient for every time your brand interacts with a prospect.
#8 Monitor Organic Brand Mentions and Engage With the Same
There are numerous social media tools in the market like BrandMentions and Social Mention that help you track all instances where your name gets mentioned.
You can go to these links and interact with them. This helps build a strong reputation of support for your business, and you also get to connect with organic followers and influencers in your industry.
#9 Add Graphic Media Like Infographics to Your Content
As discussed earlier, Graphic media has the highest retention and engagement rate on social media. They drive more traffic to websites as compared to other forms of text and video.
Therefore, start making relevant industry infographics and promote them on social media. If you cannot hire professional designers, then you can use tools like Canva, Piktochart, and Infogram to create awesome infographics with relative ease.
#10 Start Guest Posting on High Authority Blogs and Websites
Guest posts are an excellent way of brand outreach. They help in establishing authority on the Internet and provide significant SEO value to your business.
To do this correctly, you should first try to engage and contact industry influencers, bloggers, and businesses in your niche. Once you have relationships established with them, you can pitch a guest post idea.
Make sure to publish the guest post across social channels and tag the parent website/owner.
You can also go for high authority sites in your niche. They have a guest post option where you can share your idea with them. If they like it, then you can submit your post, which gets published after a brief review.
#11 Start Hosting Free Webinars for Increased Outreach
Webinars have become a popular way to drive engagement. You can always find relevant questions and topics in your industry by using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Long Tail Pro, and Buzz Sumo.
In fact, a brief overview of your LinkedIn posts or Quora profile will give an original idea of problems people are finding answers for.
All you need to do now is prepare a strong webinar for these audiences. Once delivered, it will help you establish business authority, bring in more potential leads and connect with audiences on a more interpersonal level.
Ask attendees to interact, pose questions and provide genuine feedback. There you have it: Brand outreach, customer feedback, and market research all done in one go!
#12 Host Events/Contests with Complimentary Businesses
Co-sponsoring events and competitions alongside similar/complimentary businesses have mutual benefits for all parties.
For starters, you get to tap into the existing audience of other businesses and expand your outreach. Second, you get to interact on an offline level, which is best for cementing interpersonal relationships between brands and customers.
Moreover, events and contests provide great incentives for prospective and existing customers and thus, establish a long-term brand recall factor for your business.
#13 Make Your Website and Content Share-Friendly
This is a simple trick that boosts engagement on your website exponentially. Simple plugins are available for free with popular CMS like WordPress that install sharing buttons on your website and over your blog posts.
This increases audience engagement and reduces bounce rate. If your content is excellent, people will read it and after being satisfied, they will want to share it with their network of people who have similar interests.
Thus, incorporating this simple step can get you all the word of mouth advertising that you need!
#14 Engage With Other Authorities and Blogs in Your Niche
Nothing works better than proving that you are a team player. Comment on other people’s blogs with meaningful comments. Share good posts in your niche. Reply to comments people have posted on your links.
Not only does this help you get noticed on social media but also adds to your good reputation. The more helpful you are, the more sought after you are.
However, do not keep posting links and spam people in an attempt to promote your business. It never works and never will.
#15 Applaud Others Involved in Your Niche
You should always include posts and other content media that appreciate your competitors or other related businesses in your niche.
Not only is this a great way to promote healthy competition amongst businesses but also projects you as a value oriented and ethical business. The air of credibility you generate will help with brand reputation and in due course of time others will return the favor if not out the goodness of their hearts then as a copied marketing tactic from you.
#16 Starts Creating and Joining Forums and Communities
You should have your social media groups, online communities, and forums where you can interact with audiences. These form the part of your community outreach program and establish a direct line of communication between you and your customers.
This way, you can always stay on top of customer perception, have a ready audience to promote your products and services and receive genuine feedback from time to time.
#17 Use Third Party Channels Like Quora to Generate Influence
Quora is a great place to interact with target audiences and establish authority. The Q&A forum has millions of traffic on daily basis.
Therefore, you must have a Quora profile and use it for market perception, content ideas; connecting with other influencers and more but most importantly you should use it to create authority.
Just pick big questions in your niche and answer them in the best way you can. Make sure to upvote those answers that you find genuine.
Monstrous Marketing Budgets do not always mean stellar ROI. Marketing is not capital intensive. It is based on your creativity, professional expertise, and market perception. Money only helps expand the reach of your marketing strategies.
Therefore, don’t care about your budget so much. As we saw above, there is a lot you can do yourself. After all, working under financial constraint and still succeeding based on will and wit is what real Entrepreneurship is all about.
Therefore, carefully analyze your business, your product, and your customers. Correlate it with your goals and develop marketing strategies and don’t depend on financial scalability but the execution.