High-quality marketing is expensive. However, it doesn't have to be. Thanks to the Internet, the playing field has been significantly leveled for small businesses, which now have access to the reach and influence formerly only reserved for the big brands. There are actually many low-cost methods for reaching out to your customers and spreading the word about your business. Here are 20 creative options to market your business online on a budget that you can try.
#1 Run Contests
Contests are a fun and highly interactive way to get greater visibility for your company. Some suggestions include caption contests and giveaways. Caption contests are good for a laugh and you can provide a small prize for the winners. Giveaways are great for growing your e-mail lists via the entry form. Polls are also helpful, because they not only draw attention to your business and its plans but also provide you with valuable data.
#2 Write Guest Blog Posts
<">Pursuing guest post opportunities is an important way to grow your influence without spending any money.
You may even get paid for your content. These posts benefit both parties because they give the host opportunities for new, unique content from different contributors and they benefit you by reaching a wider audience.
Quality backlinks from these sites will also improve your search engine rankings, giving your business further exposure.
#3 Answer Questions on Forums or Answer Sites
It costs nothing to offer advice or answer someone's question. Doing so will establish you as a knowledgeable professional and help you gain the trust of clients. Sites like Quora and Reddit are full of people with questions. Answering a question also offers longevity. These questions and your answers remain up on the site, so anyone looking for a similar answer in the future is bound to stumble across it.
This is really a great way to market your business online on a budget. Why? Because, this will show your expertise in your industry, you might become a thought leader if you're consistent and this will help you generate leads.
#4 List Your Business on Online Directories and Review Sites
Customers use these directories when looking for a business, and so it is important to make sure your company is listed on them. Heavily trafficked sites to list your information on include Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, Angie and Apple Maps. These sites are free to list on, although you may need to meet some of their requirements first and prove your business is legitimate.
#5 Join Industry Groups and Communities
Industry groups and communities are very helpful places for building your network, growing your authority and both giving and receiving advice.
There are industry-specific groups present on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Communities on Google+. If you can establish yourself as a helpful contributor to these groups, your influence and reputation will grow. You never know what kinds of cool insider tricks you may learn as well.
#6 Leverage Pinterest
Pinterest, like many social media sites, is free to use and should not be underestimated as a significant marketing force. It is especially useful for sharing images of your products, displaying infographics and driving traffic to your site by linking to it from the image. Pinterest is a great channel to grow and what's amazing about it is that marketers don't use it that much yet. This is why Pinterest is a great way to grow your business online on a budget.
Visual media tends to attract the eyes of customers more often, so one of the largest image sharing sites on the Internet should not be overlooked. A staggering 87% of Pinterest users have purchased a product because they saw it or heard it recommended on Pinterest.
#7 Heavily Use Referral Marketing
Referral marketing is one of those high-ROI marketing tactics for low-budget startups & businesses. If you don't have one already, you should work on forming a referral program within your company. This encourages your loyal customers to spread the word about your business and bring in more customers. According to Nielson, 84% of customers around the globe believe that friends and family are the most trustworthy sources of information about products.
Referral marketing is a cost-effective growth strategy that can bring you explosive growth. There are many referral marketing examples you could get inspired by.
#8 Actively Participate on Social Media
The interest of marketers has clearly been captured by social media. Facebook, for example, has 8 to 9 times higher click-through rates than regular web ads. But just having a presence is not enough. It is equally important to give regular updates so users are continuously being reminded of your presence and what you do.
We recommend any businesses or any sizes to have a large social media presence. Social media is inexpensive and is a great option to market your company if you're on a shoestring budget. You should also get involved in the community, such as by participating in themed hashtag days, for example. You never know what other professionals and customers you might connect with.
Social media marketing doesn't have to be expensive. With SMM, you can create phenomenal brand experiences on a shoestring budget.
#9 Give Out Free Stuff
It shouldn't come as a surprise that people love free stuff. Some people love it so much that they frequent deal sites. For example, if you are selling a book, giving away free books on a major platform like GoodReads will increase exposure for both your book and your company. Giving away occasional freebies also gets your products into the hands of potential customers and may win you loyal fans.
#10 Create Lists of Statistics
A post consisting of interesting statistics about your industry is a relatively easy way to drive traffic to your blog.
People find statistics interesting and love to share them. You don't even have to go out of your way to do this - it can come naturally from market research you have done or other high authority sources of information you came across while learning more about your industry.
#11 Write an Ego Bait Post
An ego bait post is when you mention a famous or more influential person you admire in your industry in a positive way. The hope is that they will then share that post on their social media, blog or website. Simply mentioning their names and what they are doing right in your industry might attract their attention. They might even reach out to you personally and start a connection.
#12 Interview Experts
Interviewing experts in your field is another way to increase your authority. You can interview them with set questions, such as over e-mail, and write up the interview in a blog post to share. The people you interview will also likely post your interview, which shares it with their followers and widens your reach. This is one of my favorite ways to market your business on a budget because by interviewing experts in your industry, not only you'll leverage their community, you will also connect with them.
#13 Write How-To Guides and Ebooks
There are always people looking to get started in your industry, whether as an employee or an entrepreneur.
Writing how-to guides and ebooks for this audience can be a significant source of income as well as grow your influence and establish you as a professional in your field.
You might not have the time for this, so it might be worth looking into hiring a ghostwriter. Remote collaboration between content editors and ghostwriters is often highly successful.
#14 Leverage Your E-Mail Signature
In your e-mail signature should be your name, what you do, your contact information and links to your website. You can also include your company's slogan and social media accounts. Make it colorful, eye-catching and interesting. This reminds or announces to anyone you contact this way that you exist, and thus serves as a good marketing tactic.
Your email signature is just one email marketing tactic. You've got a lot of email marketing strategies you can integrate into your campaigns. Plus, email marketing has a great ROI!
#15 Offer Limited-Time Discounts
You have probably noticed how often major companies have sales, which is at least a few times a year, if not more. They do this for a reason - it works. Customers are more likely to take a chance on a new product or service when it is on sale.
Plan your sales carefully and space them evenly throughout the year. For example, discounts at specific times of the year, namely holidays, are popular. For online businesses, participation in Cyber Monday in November is practically a must.
#16 Collaborate With Other Professionals
There are many different partnerships you can build, and they can all be excellent ways to increase your reputation and what you can offer. For instance, you could work with influencers to grow your business. Look for professionals who offer complementary or similar services to yours. For example, if you are a landscaper, you can collaborate with an irrigation specialist to discuss topics of interest and offer combined services.
Influencer marketing and business development is huge and is becoming bigger every day. What's great about it is that it's cost-effective and can have an immense impact on your growth. Try influencer marketing today if you want to market your business online on a budget; you won't be disappointed.
#17 Ask for Testimonials and Reviews
For most people, testimonials and reviews weigh heavily into their decision-making process when choosing which company to do business with.
The New York Times identified that, on average, 65% of a company's new business comes from referrals. The best way to get referrals is to ask. Also make sure to ask a customer's permission before using their testimonial in your marketing or posting it to your site.
#18 Offer Free Consultations
If you provide a service, whether you are a personal trainer or an attorney, offering free consultations is a great way to bring people in. They can then meet you and see if you can provide what they need. Use this opportunity to impress them so they will want to go forward with working with you.
#19 Join HARO
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a site that connects journalists to sources. You can sign up for free and get contacted by a journalist when they need a quality source for a piece. This makes it a free way to get media coverage, increase your authority as an expert and get your name out there.
#20 Comment on Other Blogs
You likely read many blogs to stay up to date on what is going on in your industry. Simply leave comments and start discussions about these posts. Doing so shows that you are actively engaged in the community and lets other users know that you are a professional.
So, how to market your business online on a budget?
In the digital era we're living in, you can now market like a big business even with a small budget. Effective marketing is not just about the money. You must also put time and effort into it, and, perhaps most importantly, appeal to your customers. Never stop looking for new and creative ways to reach your customers, and you will find a winning combination that works for you.
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