How To Market Your Business On A Shoestring Budget
The best marketing is narrative. That’s because stories sell. When you first come across a new product, you’ll stumble upon a marketing story.
On a website, for example, an About Us page will reveal an origin story. It will talk about how the product’s creator stumbled upon an idea or experience that changed his or her life. If the product is a beauty aid, the story may be about how an ageing woman found a little-known Amazonian herb that removed wrinkles and transformed her from plain to beautiful and from old to young; or if it’s an investment product, it will be the story of how a long-forgotten financial strategy transformed someone from struggling to pay his meagre rent to own a castle in Scotland.
Just, in case, you’re not convinced that the zero-to-hero story can also transform your life from lack to abundance, from scarcity to plenty, from not-enough to more-than-enough, the sales page will be packed with testimonials to convince you that even people in your type of distressing situation have been able to turn their lives around.
As a marketer with a story to tell, how do you transform the world through your narrative? How do you make fragmented before-and-after stories whole and find the right images to illustrate your theme without spending a small fortune on copywriters, graphic artists, and printers?
Here are five ways to market your idea on a tight budget:
- Own the printing equipment.
Often many of your costs will be associated with printing marketing collateral. You will, for example, need business cards, brochures, and flyers for your direct promotions, whether it’s networking or giving a public presentation.
Unfortunately, it’s expensive to print out all the marketing collateral you need, particularly if you want to print in colour or need to print on materials other than plain paper, like plastic, cardboard, or fabric.
Owning/investing in an equipment will allow you to personalize all your marketing campaigns without having to pay a printing firm.
- Trade time for money.
If you have more time than money, then you can simply do the work yourself. For instance, if you need to get more traffic to your website, you can study search engine optimization and use Google’s organic search results to generate traffic.
While it might not be as quick as buying Google’s pay-per-click advertising, you will generate leads for a long time once you manage to place your well-researched keywords on the first page of a search engine’s results page.
- Create your own content.
There are many ways for you to create content to get more people interested in your products or services.
Online, you can write blog posts and post on social media. Offline, you can write articles for newspapers and magazines.
You can also create content through the spoken word. So, online you could use a podcast or YouTube. Meanwhile, offline, you could give presentations at service clubs.
In all these instances, it’s important to just provide valuable information and link or mention where people can find out more about your products or services. If you try to pitch your product or service under the guise that you’re being helpful, you’ll turn people off not win them over.
- Build a network.
The best way of getting the word out about who you are and what you do is to network online and offline.
Online networking, of course, is as simple as setting up your profile on social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest.
Offline networking is business networking—going to places where you will meet other business people and arrange mutual references.
- Ask for referrals.
There are many ways to get others to refer your business in return for a benefit or compensation.
Online, you can simply set up an affiliate marketing opportunity to get people to promote your merchant website.
Offline, you can ask your customers to refer your business in exchange for a discount on your services.
In conclusion, the essence of marketing is sharing a story that will excite people to use your product or try out your service. This marketing story can be told through either advertising or hustle. When you have more time than money, then you should hustle. Later, when you have more money than time, you will reach a larger audience with less effort through advertising.