High-quality marketing can be expensive but it doesn't have to be. With significant thanks to the Internet, the playing field has been levelled for small businesses, which now have access to the reach and influence at a level and scale that only large brands could reach. There are actually many low-cost methods for reaching out to your customers and spreading the word about your business.
Here are 13 creative ways to market your business online on a budget that you can try.
1. Write Blog Posts
Sharing & writing content can allows you to let your customers and prospects know the knowledge you hold, how you can help them and raise awareness of your brand and purpose. Pursuing guest post opportunities is another important way to grow your influence without spending any money. If you become good at this you may even be able to get paid for your content and posts. Backlinks from these sites will also improve your search engine rankings, giving your business further exposure for free.
2. Comment on Blogs
If you don’t already, you should read blogs to stay up to date on what is going on in your industry. By simply leaving comments and starting conversations about these posts can lead you to promoting your business or you as a knowledgable person within your industry. On top of this you will be seen as an actively engaged member of the community and lets other users know that you are a professional.
3. Offer advice & help on forums or Q&A Sites
Sites such as Quora and Reddit are full of people with questions and it doesn’t cost anything to offer advice or answer someone's question. Doing this will establish you as a knowledgeable professional and help you gain the trust of clients. Your answers remain up on the site, so anyone looking for a similar answer in the future is bound to stumble across it, this is really a great way to market your business online on a budget for a long period of time. This is a great way to show your expertise in your industry, maybe even leading people to recognise you as a thought leader if you're consistent and this will help you generate leads.
4. Join Online Directories & Review Sites
Customers use directories & review sites when looking for a business so it is important to make sure your business is listed on them. Heavily trafficked sites to list your information on include Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, Trust Pilot and Apple Maps. These sites are free to list on, although you may need to meet some of their requirements first and prove your business is legitimate.
5. Baiting Posts
A bait post is when you mention a famous or influential person you admire in your industry in a positive way. The hope is that they will then share that post on their social media, blog or website. Simply mentioning their names and what they are doing right in your industry might attract their attention by calling on their ego. In a dream situation, they might even reach out to you and start a conversation.
6. Create & Share How-To Guides and Ebooks
You can either write guides or ebooks to help with common problems or for people looking to come into your industry. Writing how-to guides and ebooks for your audience it can be a significant source of income as well as grow your influence and establish you as a professional in.
7. Proactively Participate on Social Media & be consistent
Facebook has a 10x higher click-through rate than regular web ads however just having a presence is not enough. You need to be consistent with regular updates so users are continuously being reminded of your presence and what you do. I recommend any business, of any size to have a large social media presence. Social media is inexpensive and is a great option to market your company if you're on a limited budget. Importantly, you should also get involved in with your community. Get involved in conversations, reply to people comments to spark conversations and this will drive a really engaged community that are interested in your business.
9. Free Consultations
If you have a service-based business, offering free consultations is a great way to bring people in. This will allow you to start a relationship though conversation and see if you can provide what they need. Use this opportunity to impress so they will want to go forward with working with you.
10. Referral Marketing
If you don't have one already, you should work on forming a referral program within your business. This incentives your loyal customers to spread the word about your business and bring in more customers. In 2018, 84% of customers around the globe believe that friends and family are the most trustworthy sources of information about products. Referral marketing is a cost-effective growth strategy that can bring you explosive growth.
11. Offer Time Sensitive Discounts
You have probably noticed how often some major businesses have sales, which is at least a few times a year and probably more. The main reason for this - it works. Customers are more likely to take a chance on a new product or service when it is on sale. Plan your sales carefully and space them evenly throughout the year.
12. Run Competitions
Caption contests and giveaways competitions are a fun and highly interactive way to get greater visibility for your business. Caption competitions are good for a laugh and you can provide a small prize for the winner. Giveaways are great for growing your e-mail lists via the entry form. Polls are really helpful because they not only draw attention to your business but also provide you with valuable data if you make the questions about what your business cares about.
13. Give Out Free Stuff
People love free stuff. Giving away occasional freebies also gets your products into the hands of potential customers and may win you loyal fans.
So, how to market your business online on a budget?
Your don’t have to have a large budget to have impact when marketing your business, it’s not just about money. You must put time, effort and creativity into it, and, perhaps most importantly, appeal to your customers. Never stop looking for creative ways to reach your customers and you will find a winning combination that works for you.