You have to be resourceful to market your business on a budget!
As a small business getting out the other side of a pandemic, times are still difficult as the ‘war chest’ has been used for survival. You’re now still fighting just as hard to bring your business back to normal, and to do that, you need more customers/sales.
You’re the owner of the business. That means growth is on you.
There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing marketing, but assuming that growth will come as a guarantee is where many businesses fail. You understand your business better than anyone, better than any marketer ever will. So remember, you’re delegating, not abdicating.
Decided to take the bull by the horns? here’s how to market your business on a budget;
1- Get into Communities
Find where your target audience spends their time. Are they on a Facebook group for small business owners? Maybe a Slack group for Tech Startups?
Getting a reputation for being knowledgeable about a certain industry pretty much guarantees two things; people will either use your services OR recommend you to others.
Of course, this takes some time for member to build up enough trust.
Bonus; As obvious as it sounds, be likeable!
2- Leverage LinkedIn / Get Social
I’ve found this to be the cheapest way to bring in new clients compared to any other medium. It doesn’t have to be LinkedIn, for a D2C (direct to consumer) e-commerce brand, it might be better to use Instagram or Pinterest instead.
Building a personal brand also pays out in the long run as you may not always be in the same role/industry. This way, you ensure that you leave a digital trail tracing back to you, if you’ve built up a good reputation, you can sell anything you wish.
Bonus; If you’re short on time, write your posts content out in advance and schedule it using a tool like Buffer. We’ve got a breakdown of some of the best b2b sales tools for SMEs here.
3 – Organic Content / Blogs
I’m literally doing this now. If you’re using WordPress as your website’s CMS, try using either the Yoast or RankMath plugin to help you optimise your content. Push content out on your company pages using HootSuite or Sprout Social if you’re short on time, just make sure you put the right content in the right place. (A post about marketing automation in 2021 won’t do well on Twitter…).
It may seem like it’s not doing much but search engine algorithms take time to really respond. It can take 6 to 9 months to see legitimate traction with SEO.
Bonus; Find a website/blog that’s relevant to your industry yet non-competitive and ask them to exchange links. Backlinks in the right place are the most powerful search engine ranking factor to build your domain’s authority.
4 – Cold Email
I truly believe content is key here otherwise you’ll do more harm than good. I dislike cold-calling but cold emailing has worked for us, it’s probably one of the easiest outbound methods to market your business on a budget.
A- Gather emails from targets through RocketReach or Hunter.io.
B- Test your email(s) and see if they’ll pass spam filters using mail-tester.com.
C- Write awesome copy. And I mean damn good. The subject line is your best hook here. Keep it concise, clear & valuable.
D- If you get no response/sign up/goal you’re looking for – stop sending them more messages. People hate spam.
5 – Attend Networking Events / Use Networking Apps
Many physical networking events are coming back! This is just another way to get into communities as we mentioned in #1.
Networking tools are pretty useful, our team loves using Lunchclub. It’s pretty much the best tool we’ve used so far to gain new customers!
6- Giveaways / Upfront Value
I’m not a big believer in concessions (discounts), however, I do make an exception if it’s a well-crafted marketing tool.
Providing a bit of upfront value by giving away part of your awesome SaaS tool might be the hook you need to land a client.
In the same way, while you’re networking, don’t try to sell. Try to be as helpful as you can reasonably be, this shows that you’re willing to take the first step.
Bonus; I don’t do this myself but it has been mentioned by many salespeople (see Robert Cialdini’s book about Influence) to ask your prospect for a small favour, if they don’t like you, it can help turn their perception around.
These are all from experience; we know having to market your business on a budget is no easy task.
If you’re past this stage and you’d rather outsource your marketing to a professional, we’ve got an awesome marketplace to get matched to the right agency here. If you don’t know who you should work with, learn more about finding the right agency.