Wednesday, February 12, 2014

No Budget Marketing for New Businesses

You finally have your new business open, all your sweat and tears paid off and you have hung up your sign and thrown open the doors (even if only virtually in the case of an online business) and....crickets. Where are all the customers?

Likely, they are at your competitor's business or website-- because they do not know you exist. Time to change that! It does not have to be expensive, and you can do a lot-- in fact all-- of your own marketing--if you have the time and patience.

So what can you do without spending money that will help drive people to your door?

First, make a huge announcement! 
Open for business-- and tell people what your business is about. Do this physically at your location if you have a brick and mortar business, as well as online. If you have social media accounts, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter-- shout it to the rooftops and ask all your friends to share it for you.

Grand Opening Events
Yes, even online businesses should have grand opening events and invite everyone you know to your event. Offer a special discount or perhaps put together a contest to generate excitement and get people talking about your business.

Determine your Strategy
Where do your customers and prospects hang out online? That is where you also need to be. If they are Tweeting, it won't do you much good to hang out on Facebook. Figure out where your target customer is, and go there!

Set up Processes 
Social media marketing can feel overwhelming without a process in place. Further, it will often get put on the back burner if you do not schedule it into your important tasks for the day. Use inexpensive, and sometimes free, tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Twuffer to help manage the process and set up a lot of posts at one time, but be sure to personally respond to likes, follows and comments-- your customers are reaching out to you, so respond!

Create Great Content
Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard that in 2014, content is King! Writing compelling content for your business profiles is critical, and it goes far behind just writing a short blurb. People today expect good writing along with videos and images as well. If you don't have time to do a
ll of this-- it might be something to consider outsourcing, but there are great images to be had from many sites online-- just be sure that you choose those which are "free to use and share". You can add your own touches with image editing software. Be sure to include blogging in your content creation activity-- you will be happy with the traffic it generates, believe me!

Network, network, network
Networking with potential customers in groups they belong to online, or connecting with related businesses to work together can help get the word out about your business. Also be sure to ask family, friends and employees to help you launch your marketing efforts. Be sure to connect with influencers and thought leaders in your niche as well.