Building a business is a serious challenge for any small business owner. One of the most common strategies for growing a company is to launch an effective marketing campaign. However, advertising and building a business can be a very expensive project for any small business owner. Below you will find five of the cheapest ways to market a company and build a business.
1. Go Local
Going local is not only the most affordable way to advertise a small business but it is also essential. With Google, Yahoo, and Bing local directories your business listing can be found all over the internet on both mobile devices and personal computers. Even Facebook has a directory of businesses where you can be found by over 1 billion users. All of these places a company can promote their products and services for free with very few exceptions.
There are even online platforms for a nominal fee that allow you to control most of your local listings and update them all in just a few clicks. Yext is the leader in this industry and they provide software that allows companies to instantly update their location information, address, daily hours, and photos on fifty of the major sites, apps and maps. Advertising in local directories is the most inexpensive way to promote your business. Here you can find a list of directories to get you started but there are likely a lot more and even some smaller and more localized directories in your area.
2. Classified Ads
Creating and posting classified ads is an equally cost effective solution to advertise a product or service. Many of these ads rank high in the search engines for long tail search terms. The main difference with classifieds is that it is strongly focused on buying and selling a type of product or service and there are limitations to the types of products or services that can be sold or promoted on these platforms.
There are no major internet companies that provide online platforms to control bulk classified ads with an easy to use solution, however, there are some companies that provide automated posting software which allows you to do bulk postings. The major difference between local directory listings and classified ads is that the former listing remains indefinitely and the latter postings expire in short periods of time and must be reposted. Classifieds ads are an equally inexpensive (mostly free) and effective way to generate business.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing has remained a solid and inexpensive way to build new customers and generate additional sales from existing customers. Most of the platforms available online offer both free and paid services. Many of these companies also provide support to walk you through the setup process to begin sending your customers creative emails to generate new business. Mail Chimp is one of the most popular and they have a free option but there are a wide variety of solutions that should be looked at to determine the right one for your business. Here you can find an unbiased review discussing many of the top email marketing software solutions available. It is amazing how this option which can also be free is still providing results on a consistent basis for the companies that advertise this way.
4. Social Networking
As the internet continues to grow its reach and interconnectedness on a global scale social networking continues to cement its importance to any company looking to generate business. Some examples of social networking include: creating a group on Linkedin to interact with buyers and sellers in your industry, create a Fan Page or Business Page on Facebook with daily postings, Start a MeetUp group and establish monthly events, build a Twitter Following and interact with buyers and sellers, build a Pinterest Board promoting products, or create robust videos to highlight products and services just to name a few networking opportunities. There are endless resources to social network and the options continue to grow on a daily basis. Social networking is not only affordable, it offers unlimited potential for small businesses looking to build their customer base.
Due to the popularity there are a wide variety of online tools and software that allow you to control all of your social media marketing from one platform. HootSuite is one of the most well known and popular social media management tools available and they have a free option. With the software you can manage more than one network, measure performance with analytical tools, manage profiles, send messages across multiple platforms, and so much more. With the potential of social networking and the available management tools social networking is probably the most critical campaign to include in your marketing arsenal. Here you can learn how to get started with social networking.
5. Print Advertising
Print advertising continues to be a very inexpensive and productive way to advertise. Business cards are not only essential for any business owner, they are a great way to advertise. Whether you are at a social networking event, or you leave a stack of your business cards in a high traffic area for potential customers, handing out business cards is a cheap way to advertise across almost anywhere.
Another great printing product that is also inexpensive and provides a powerful form of targeted marketing is door hanger advertising. Door hangers are small advertisements that include all of your contact information as well as details and images about your products, services, and brand. These small advertisements are hung on each door of the desired customer. You can advertise to particular neighborhoods, specific homes or businesses, or select any type of targeted demographic. You can print thousands of both business cards and door hangers for a couple of hundred bucks or less.
There are many online printing websites that have editing tools and templates to make it easy for you to create a design to be printed. Make sure that you take your time when designing your product so that it stands out from other advertisements and choose paper options that have a premium appearance. Here you can find a great solution for designing and printing both business cards and door hangers.
There are also a wide variety of companies that can manage all of your marketing efforts for a fee if you do not want to manage it yourself. Although it can save you an enormous amount of time and help you avoid a learning curve, the costs for hiring marketing firms can stack up. If you want to hire a marketing firm and do not have the available funding, there are plenty of places to go online and acquire small business loans to help fuel your advertising budget.
For most business owners that do not have the financial resources available the above mentioned marketing solutions are an excellent way to advertise your business. They are cost effective, they can be extremely productive, and they can all be launched and managed from a personal computer in your home or office.