If you are a small business owner, you and I have something in common. How to promote ourselves without spending a fortune. I have discussed in previous blogs about the use of co-op dollars and marketing development funds (MDF) to help offset your budgets but what about all that pre-planning? Can that too be done for little or no cost? Absolutely!
Whether you use someone like me or you do it yourself, plan your campaign or marketing activity very carefully. Know where your dollars are going and how much you can really spend to make everything work in your favor. (ROI) Know what you have avialable before you and of those, what you want to use or not use. Also it is OK to make last minute changes or revise on the fly if you have to. It is your money.
Know Your Market
It does not take a rocket scientist to know your market area. You can do this using the web for free. If you don't know who you are selling to and why they are coming in to buy your products and services then you have a serious problem. Also make sure you are marketing to your area and your customers. What you might think or hear worked really well in a metro area may not be right for you if your business is in a rural area. People's buying habits and use of media is very different as is the demographics.
If you email your clients at all then you have a tool before you to use to market. Tell them about your promotion. Emails are free. Now there are companies out there that will blast for you and also sell you lists that "fit" your potential customer base. Personally, I hate these lists. I have used them before and 9 out of 10 are either outdated, dead emails, or the contacts are no longer valid. You are better off developing your own by gathering business cards, networking, and doing one on ones with people.
Social Media. Oh what a buzzword. Where do I go? What platforms do I use? That is your choice but the good news is It is free! Most businesses, even the smallest have at the very least a web site and Facebook page. Use them to your advantage to get the word out that you have a product or service to sell and maybe even a special or sale coming up! Other platforms at your disposal that is free is Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Look into these as well and see if they would work for your business marketing.
My Final Thoughts
As you can tell from all this, you don't have to that guy running for President that owns a lot of businesses to run a marketing or promotion campaign. You can promote your business for almost nothing. Just be smart about it and do the research. Good luck!