Believe it or not, you don’t have to break the bank to market your business.
Of course, professional consultants and flashy TV ads cost money, but if you’re looking for affordable ways to get your brand known, there are many things you can do to boost marketing.
Chris Surridge from Whitefish Marketing offers ten suggestions for affordable marketing to get the ball rolling.
1. Optimise your website
When formulating an online marketing strategy, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be at the front of your mind. It’s one of the least expensive yet most effective ways in the long run to improve your online presence and, if done correctly, will help you rank well for specific searches. Coupled with a strong content marketing strategy you can increase your inbound traffic dramatically.
2. Don’t forget local SEO
With many web-based companies battling for clicks, views and clients, it’s essential to minimise the competition by making yourself relevant to people in your area. By claiming your Google Places for Business page and setting up a Google+ Local page, you’ll give yourself more chance of being seen by people who would benefit from your organisation. Many businesses charge into trying to dominate the nation, yet forget to focus on their immediate geographic audiences. These are “low hanging fruit” which should be picked off first.
3. Start a blog
There are many positive reasons to start a blog. Not only is it a free way to engage with customers and clients, but it’s the ideal platform to talk about upcoming products and ideas. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers and see if they will either accept a guest post or write something for your site as this is a great way to get your company known in reputable or relevant circles. Blogging also helps enhance your SEO, showing Google that your site provides fresh, unique content, on a regular basis.
4. Attend free events
Networking is an important part of business. You never know who you might meet at any given time so represent your company by attending as many free events as possible. Take your business cards with you, get chatting to like-minded people, and you could open up new opportunities. Whether you choose morning breakfast meetings, or after-hours drinks, pick one which works for you.
5. Brand yourself
If you’ve got a load of company t-shirts and jumpers sitting in a storeroom somewhere, pull them out and put them on. Parading your name and logo wherever possible is great for brand awareness as you’ll literally become walking, talking billboards. If you are thinking of branding your vehicle, look for automotive vinyl stickers as they are considerably cheaper than re-sprays.
6. Make the most of social media
For many people, social media is just a place to post photos and gossip with friends. In reality, it’s also a useful, and affordable, marketing platform for businesses, allowing all different kinds of companies to build up and online fan base and attract new customers. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are just some of the sites out there, so it’s well worth developing your social networking strategy. Plan ahead each week and ensure you have a good social engagement agenda which is interesting and informative. Don’t just talk about yourself and your company all the time. Ensure you are offering something of value for others to read about.
7. Become a public speaker
If you are passionate about what you do and want to inspire people as well as spread the word about your business, becoming a public speaker could be right up your street. Colleges, universities and schools are always on the lookout for positive individuals with something interesting to say, so do some research and see what you can come up with. Also, speak with your local Chamber of Commerce or look for specialist events related to your industry.
8. Revamp your reception
People will form an opinion of your business as soon as they set foot in reception. So why not use this space to your advantage by ensuring it’s on brand in terms of colour scheme and charisma? Leave informative things for them to read, play short video clips that are relevant to your company, and ensure visitors are not twiddling their thumbs as they wait for an interview or client meeting.
9. Public relations
Consider all the events that your company is involved in. Whether it is giving something back to the community, a volunteering project, a run for charity, right through to product launches, new members of staff, or even awards and accolades achieved, all of these events are newsworthy and offer a great opportunity for PR. Speak with your local press news desks to and propose your story. Building up the relationship will be key over the months and years ahead, but it’s worth it. Likewise, ensure you utilise digital PR distribution as well for added exposure.
10. Add important information to your website
If your website is already up and running, check it has all the important information displayed clearly such as your telephone number, email address, business address, and social media links. You might be surprised as “ghosts in the machine” will sometimes throw up annoying bugs and glitches. If anything is missing it could cost you a customer, so it’s certainly worth carrying out a content review. Put yourself in the eyes of your customers and be vigilant with your checks.
Effective marketing is about getting a good return for your budget, and here at Whitefish Marketing, we believe that “Performance Comes First”. Until you are ready to adopt a professional digital agency to formulate your marketing activity, these ten affordable tips will help your business succeed without costing the earth.