You finally did it.  You channelled your inner entrepreneur and followed your dream of starting your own business.  Your startup is all ready to go, but after all of the other expenses, you’re left with little to no money for marketing.  So what should you do?  Believe it or not, you can still market your business on a tight budget. You just need to be a little creative and make sure your focus is on creating relationships instead of merely customers.  The following are seven of the best strategies for marketing your business at low or no cost to you:

Share Your “Why” Story With Others

When you’re out and about, people will invariably ask you what you do for a living.  Instead of answering with, “I own my own business,” or “I sell product X,” tell others how your business came to be.  There’s usually a pretty good story behind what compelled you to start out on the risky path of the entrepreneur.  Did another product anger you?  Does your business support a charity?  Are you in it for revenge?  Share your story about why you started your business, and people will definitely remember you and your business.  This technique will generate some word-of-mouth, and it doesn’t cost a thing!

Engage, Don’t Just Sell

As a business owner, it’s pretty normal to get stuck in sell mode all the time.  However, people tend to react negatively to a hard sell approach over time.  Rather than just selling, try to engage with others on topics within your industry.  On social media it’s good to repost related information and events that may be of interest to your online following.  Posting content that’s helpful to your customers is a great way to remain in their mind until they’re ready to buy your product or service.  Get involved with online conversations and try to be as helpful as possible.  

Build Credibility

It doesn’t cost anything to build your credibility within your particular industry.  Using a blog or videos, you can quickly establish yourself as an expert in your field.  The idea here is to try to educate others about what you do, and why your product or service is needed.  As your reputation as an entrepreneur grows, consider mentoring others who are facing problems that you have experienced in the past.  Educate and inspire others!

Help Your Audience Find You

Just because you have a website doesn’t mean your target audience can find you easily.  Whenever you publish, make sure you use keywords that are specific to your particular niche.  Connect with Twitter users who post regularly with your niche keywords, and return the favor if possible.  Research Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, and test your website’s search rankings to see if you are up to snuff.  Make sure your website downloads quickly, and make a mobile version available if you haven’t yet.  Most of your new customers will find you on their phones.

Use e-Coupons

Everybody loves to get a great deal, so a great coupon is an easy way to market your business.  Send out e-coupons to everyone on your mailing list, and post another that’s not quite as good on your social media channels.  Your existing customers should always get the best deal.  This is a great way to thank your customers for their business and to attract new customers.  

Freebies

You don’t have any marketing money, but you’ve got product, right?  Provide some free samples to key industry people, like trade publications or product reviewers.  If they like what they see, they will definitely help you and your business.  Another great way to build buzz about your company and grow your customer list at the same time is by having weekly or monthly product giveaways!  Everyone loves to win stuff, and the odds are that if they don’t win your giveaway, then they’ll buy at a later date.  If you’ve got product on the shelves, you’ve got some marketing power.

If you don’t have a marketing budget, there are still several valuable strategies you can use to effectively market your business.  Establish personal relationships without selling all the time, educate and inspire others, make sure your web presence is up to snuff, and offer customers discounts and freebies!  Present your company as a positive asset to your niche market, and they’ll remember you when it’s time to buy.  If you’re struggling to get your marketing strategy up and running, get in touch with the experts at Grow Digital Marketing to find out how we can help you today!