While every business owner knows they need to invest in their business to get a return the reality is that a lot of start ups, solo-preneurs and small businesses don’t have a marketing budget. Actually, most have no budget at all, perhaps having thrown the last of your savings into your business or getting into entrepreneurship as an extension of your secular career after having kids.
The joys of being your own boss, you have the freedom to work when you want to BUT in the early days you also have the freedom to enjoy Vegemite sandwiches as a staple meal most days of the week.
Without marketing your business you have no business. So how the heck do you get the word out when your funds are limited?
Here are 10 really easy ways you can market your business on a budget, now full disclaimer DIY marketing is WORK. I cannot sugar coat this at all, you are going to need to work at this. EVERY DAY. EVERY WEEK. EVERY MONTH.
Remember everything comes as a value exchange so if you are unable to pay $$ for something then you need to exchange your time to do it yourself. NOTHING in this world comes for free babe.
Last, but not least, once you have grown a profitable business INVEST back into it with a marketing budget so that you can continue to scale and grow. Even $200-500 a month can help get you a coaching session, some content created, some professional branding, professional images, outsource something, a payment on a new programme, or something else that is going to move you forward.
Until then sink your teeth into these 10 marketing strategies that will have your business growing AND have you eat more than that Vegemite Sanger for dinner again.
Of course, this was gonna be my numero uno right there up the top! It would be crazy for a Social Media Coach NOT to do this. I am so passionate about how awesome the FREE platforms of socials are for growing your business.
Really when you think about it, you can get a Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest Profile for FREE and start marketing your business immediately. Which is amazing! Sometimes I think if we had to pay a subscription for these platforms that people would value them more and invest more into how to utilise them more effectively.
90% of what I teach in my online programmes, in my FREE Facebook Group and with my coaching clients is the organic and FREE platforms of Facebook and Instagram. The other 10% is paid advertising which means that if coaches are spending so much time on teaching the FREE parts of the platform then there is so much value in them that you can tap into.
2. Google My Business & Basic SEO
A Google My Business listing is 100% free and in my opinion essential when starting out on Google as a local business.
What is Google My Business? It is a free, easy-to-use tool that helps businesses manage their online presence and appearance in Google Search and Google Maps.
If you’ve ever searched for a business’ name, you’ll often see their Google My Business “knowledge panel,” a card containing important information customers want to know about local businesses, show up first.
You GMB shows up in searches that are local to the areas you service and directs traffic to your website and socials.
A step up from that is having an SEO optimised website. For those that don’t know what that means it is Search Engine Optimisation and refers to the keywords you use on the pages of your site that help it rank higher on a Google search.
If you are managing your own website most web platforms have an SEO plugin that will help you maximise this.
Why do this? Because people searching on Google are active purchasers they are looking for a business to meet a need now. Which means that leads coming from these sources are hot little potatoes.
TIP: SEO is a rabbit hole and something that is NOT easy to fully understand and manage yourself when you are starting out. But if you are a bit handy with tech is very doable yourself at a basic level. This is one part of a marketing plan that I encourage to be outsourced if tech is a challenge for you otherwise you will be knee deep in keyword analysis and probably have no time for anything else.
I have total love heart eyes for collaboration! Collaboration is, in my opinion, a MUST for small business. The doors that collaborating can open for you are limitless, not to mention meeting new people and making new friends.
When you collaborate strategically with the right businesses you are getting in front of more of your ideal client by giving both you and the person you are collaborating with access to each other’s networks.
The saying two heads are better than one definitely applies here.
Always make sure you are collaborating strategically with businesses that are in your niche but non competing with you.
For example: The bridal industry. A florist, photographer, celebrant, wedding planner and makeup artist all have the same client. Someone getting married. But their businesses do not compete with each other for a share of the market of that bride’s budget. She needs them all.
You would not as a florist, collaborate with another florist, for a bridal pack it makes no sense. But the other businesses above are perfect for collaborations and then there is leverage off each other’s audiences.
4. Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are one of the few paid strategies in this blog. The reason is that Facebook Ads are still a relatively inexpensive platform for how targeted you can get your Ads to be.
The downfall is that because it is so easy to get started, like as easy as pressing ‘Boost Post’, on that way too simple to press button on your page posts. Which means that a lot of the time people are mucking around putting up Ads with no idea how to define their targeting.
My recommendation is this when getting started with Facebook Ads. Invest in some simple know-how about how to use the platform. I have a number of blogs on Facebook Ads, resources in my Facebook Group – Social Media 101 and also Facebook Ads Courses. Doing this will help you reduce what you spend on Ads and have a higher return faster.
5. Build Your Email List
I cannot express enough that you need to start building your email list IMMEDIATELY. Even if you don’t do much with it to start with, just start collecting them. So if you do not even have an Email Service Provider (ESP) and a list to direct subscribers to STOP RIGHT NOW and go and do that.
As far as what platform to choose, MailChimp is a great place to start and is FREE for up to 2000 subscribers. Other platforms like Convert Kit and Active Campaign are also popular and have more functionality, but are paid platforms. If you need a CRM function then I cannot highly recommend you check out Active Campaign.
Email Marketing is a great place for conversion to take place and most important your email list is something you own! So you have more control over it.
Once you have established the basics (Picked your ESP & set up your list to send your subscribers to) then you can start to compile ways that you can direct people to your list.
Some of the easy places to start are: Pop up on your website, integrate your payment system eg.Stripe, integrate your booking platform or purchase platform, upload your client email list, integrate your contact form on your website. Basically anywhere you collect an email address from someone – can you integrate it?
THEN start thinking about other ways you can direct people to your list like creating some great FREE content on your site or downloadables that require an email address to access.
Blogs are a great way to market your business. Blogging sets you apart as a thought leader and shows you are an expert in your field. As soon as you can start to create long-form content that can be produced in blog or vlog format – DO IT!
The beauty of blogging is that it directs people to your website, so it moves them further through the client journey. And your site is a more intimate place for them to be in contact with you, you have their undivided attention, no Facebook notifications to distract them!
PLUS blogging is great for SEO, you can create some really well crafted CTA’s to add to your blogs as people who are invested in reading blog content tend to be more active buyers.
7. Guest Blogs & Sharing Content
As a perfect follow on from Number 6 is Guest Blogging. I have love heart eyes for guest blogs for so many reasons.
Getting someone to write a guest blog for you – You don’t have to write the content yourself, you can add even more value with your audience by tapping into other peoples knowledge in your niche, it is great for cross promotion!
Guest blogging for others – You can tap into their audience by adding value through your blogs AKA Cross Promo!, if you have a back catalogue of blogs then you may have something you can give them without re-creating content, they are great for SEO as the backlinks are coming from another website.
You can also re-purpose this content into Social Media posts and EDM’s giving that blog even more exposure.
And it’s FREE!
8. Facebook Groups
If you have been living under a rock then you would have missed the JUGGERNAUGHT that is Facebook Groups. Groups have become THE place to be for business owners. The majority of them are FREE to join, those that run them add heaps of value so if the Group is a business group like my FREE Group – Social Media 101 then you can learn a lot about the subject matter, many allow you to advertise for free and you can meet lots of people to collaborate with and ask questions.
Other than business Groups, there are literally thousands of Groups on Facebook and a lot of them are where your ideal client could be hanging out. So if you get in those groups and are actively paying attention to what people are talking about you can add heaps of value and create some great conversations from them.
HOT TIP: Unless the group allows advertising don’t just drop your link and run, use them as a space to connect, add value and create conversations.
I personally would not have the business I do today without being active in Facebook Groups.
In your local area, there will be plenty of opportunities to Network. I encourage you to get out and do it as often as you can! Besides making some great connections from a new client perspective, you will meet new friends, be part of a real community and potentially learn some stuff too.
A lot of events will have a theme or topic and you can go and learn a lot from them, yes some of them are paid events but they are absolutely worth it!
I have met some of my BEST clients at networking events and it was only that I was there on the day making an effort to talk and mingle that they chose me.
If you are active in local Business Facebook Groups a lot of them have events you can attend in your local area, they are a great place to start to find some events you can go to. Also, check out any local co-working spaces as they often have networking events regularly.
10. FREE Programmes & Webinars
HEAPS of marketing and business coaches will have FREE programmes, challenges, webinars, eBooks and resources. I do and you can find it all on my site on the dedicated page for FREE Stuff. There is so much value put into creating free content and pretty much all the coaches who produce it give away amazing stuff, often content that should be paid for!
While there is only so far you will get with free content, any free programmes you can register for are a great place to start. The other HUGE benefit is that you get a little taste of what it might be like to work with that coach which means the more you can devour in free content the easier it will be to pick the person you want to work with.
If you haven’t seen any of my FREE Programmes I have four of them go check them out and register for them all if you want. The more the merrier.
As a bonus round in the world of marketing on a budget a lot of experts will do a FREE Initial Chat, this gives you the chance to lay out what you need, what your challenges are and get some insight on what you could be doing to improve that for you.
I offer FREE Social Catch Ups for anyone wanting to hash out where they are now and where they could be with their socials. While it is not a full coaching session there is a lot of value in these calls, some people get the clarification they were needing to keep moving forward solo, other people we work out a plan that is unique to them and their needs to up-level their socials with some paid pro help.
What I love about these calls is you get an expert (that’s me!) to recommend a specific plan for you. Rather than just purchasing a bunch of courses and they not be what you need.
So babe, if you are feeling challenged with socials right now. BOOK ONE, they are FREE, totally no obligation, no crazy sales pitch, some well thought out guidance you can action right away and laughs are thrown in at no extra expense.
Head Chief In Charge Of Fun and Socials at The Social Hub