No Marketing Budget? No Problem!
When I started my first business, Bubbler.com.au, I had a very small marketing budget of $300 per month, often much less. It required me to be incredibly resourceful. Five years on and I have grown the business to a community of 150,000 mums. Today I want to share with you the five things you can do to grow your business that won’t cost you a cent.
1. Testimonials, Ratings & Reviews
These serve to build confidence, credibility, and trust and can assist overcome any scepticism your prospective customers may hold. They are the most influential factor in converting a prospect to a customer according to the 2016 Marketing to Mums Survey. A good testimonial provides money can’t buy advertising and enables your current customers to become raving rans and do the selling for you.
If you are targeting Australia’s most powerful consumer group, mothers, make sure you have Facebook ratings and reviews turned on and you are encouraging customers to leave their testimonial on your page. Ensure you have a process for requesting a testimonial with every client and if you are running an event consider video recording participant feedback on your phone and uploading it to social media.
Your community are likely to respond positively to these as they are seen as authentic, so don’t bother getting them edited. Make sure you update these regularly and share your testimonials and reviews on all your marketing materials.
2. Publicity through media channels
The media are always looking for content, why not help them? Register on SourceBottle for their twice daily call outs from journalists who are looking for experts to interview or comment on a story. This has been successful for me and resulted in features on Today Tonight, Channel 7 News and an article in The Age. Don’t focus exclusively at traditional media either.
Look to write guest articles, feature on other people’s podcasts or be the guest content curator on a Facebook page for a day or week. Make sure you have a media release or a media kit ready to go to attract interest from these new media channels.
3. Industry Awards
Enter awards to amplify things which make your business unique. Just like testimonials, awards provide third party endorsement for your business. They also give you a great reason to go to the media or update your media kit and resend it out to your prospects.
My business has won an award for best customer service and we cemented our point of difference in the marketplace as having superior customer service. It allowed us to receive considerable media amongst our target market. More so, it developed trust amongst our community and this is critical in taking a person along the path to purchase.
4. Marketing Partnerships
These are without question, the most cost effective way to grow your business and they rarely require financial investment. Find another business (or two or three) which share the same ideal target market as you and who are not in direct competition with you. Ensure their business values are in alignment with yours and your customers. Run a joint promotion such as a competition or exchange advertising services to exposure your respective businesses to each other customers.
I periodically team up with other reputable businesses in my industry and run a competition to grow my email list. We seek a prize sponsor and jointly promote the activity over an agreed time across newsletter and social media. Graphics can be designed on Canva.
Marketing partnerships might be a significant investment in time but they rarely cost money and can drive sales better than any other activity I’ve listed. This is where you can really benefit from industry networking you’ve previously undertaken.
5. Engage your community
This is so incredibly important yet many businesses fail to engage and interact with their prospective and existing customers. Customers are our reason for being, everything that happens in our business should be with them in mind.
I advocate interacting with your community for fifteen minutes every day on social media, blogs or LinkedIn. Share relevant, useful material which they desire. Engaged customers are more likely to buy from you.
Look to share your brand story with your audience and allow them to get to know you. This is particularly important if your business targets women who want to develop a relationship with you prior to purchase.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a marketing budget or not, there are creative, resourceful ways to promote your business and gain success. Over to you, what other free marketing strategies do you use?
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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