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Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Employee Emeritus Employee Emeritus ‎08-17-2018 10:08 AM

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Most small businesses get caught in an endless cycle when it comes to marketing and sales. They only have time to do marketing when their sales are down. But once revenue starts to pick up because of these efforts, they stop having time to do marketing. Their sales then start to shrink, and this cycle starts all over again. This keeps their business flat and prevents them from ever growing their company. Small-business owners need to know how to develop a sustainable marketing plan even if it is on a limited budget.

Here is where to start:

  1. Content marketing. This is an easy way to stay in front of small business prospects to showcase expertise, so they think of the company when they are ready to buy. It involves sharing expert knowledge on social media, through websites, video or by sending emails. Where to start: On at least a weekly basis, send single subject emails solving a problem prospects may encounter. Get involved in conversations on social media where that advice is also offered. Unfortunately, many small businesses spend too much time on social media every week without a clear strategy.
  2. Hire a content writer for the company blog. Many small-business owners complain they have no time to blog or create content for their site. However, the more branded content a company blog has, the higher it will rank in the search engine rankings. Where to start: Find a journalism student or get an article written for as little as $1.25 a post by a freelancer through a crowdsourcing site like UpWork.
  3. Get more reviews. Consumers now trust online reviews from people they don’t know almost as much as a referral from friends and family. Where to start: Ask customers. This can be noted in the bottom of a receipt, attached to a follow up email or in person after a sale. This can be done automatically through solutions like FiveStars.
  4. Practice organic search engine optimization (SEO). Every post and page should have keywords, so search engines can easily index this information. If customers can’t find a company when they're looking for a solution, it will never be chosen. SEO enables a company to target the keywords and links that can get it on page one of search engines and increase its traffic. Where to start: If the website is built on WordPress, there are free plugins like Yoast SEO that can help. It is also important to claim the company’s listing on Google My Business.
  5. Execute a well-managed search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. This is not to be done alone, since a poor campaign can burn through $500 very quickly with little results. Where to start: For the novice, start testing advertising with Facebook rather than Google. Facebook offers a narrower search for prospects that look like the company’s customers on a smaller budget.  
  6. Send 500 postcards to targeted customers. Direct mail is making a comeback, since there's more email spam and less physical junk mail than 10 years ago. Where to start: Use a vendor like Office Depot to design and print postcards for about $10. Repeat similar mailings to the same customers at least six times on a monthly basis.
  7. Buy a plane ticket to see a key customer. There's still nothing that can replace a face to face meeting when it comes to building a relationship with a customer and then landing the business. The best time to buy a ticket is on the weekend and fly on a Tuesday. Use services like Upside that can compare fees across airlines and other Internet ticket sites.
  8. Earn PR. Get the company’s story in front of news people, but make sure it connects to what is actually going on in the news, not just a pitch about products. Where to start: Many businesses use the free service from called HARO. However, for more targeted results, check out Dan Janal’s PR Leads service to get more reporters and high-quality interviews.

Want more information? Join me for a free webinar on “How to Market Your Business on A Shoestring Budget” sponsored by Veri...

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Contact the editor: tumara.r.jordan@verizon.com

About the Authors

Tumara Jordan

Senior Manager: Verizon Business Markets

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Tumara is a contributor to the Business Markets Marketing team and she currently manages Social Media marketing campaigns.


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