Whether you love it or hate it, business promotion is an essential ingredient of successful entrepreneurship. It’s the key to driving sales, generating leads and maximizing conversion rates.
However critical, though, promotion isn’t known for being cheap. Big corporations are notorious for forking out millions of dollars on social media ads every single month just to keep things ticking over. Not only that, but PR campaigns and expert guidance on promotion can cost a fortune, with no guarantee of success.
Thankfully, it’s possible to promote your business both effectively and affordable. There are plenty of ways in which you can market your company without breaking your bank, but before we dive into those, let’s take a look at why promotion is such an essential tool.
Why Promotion is Important
Many startups create a unique product and expect sales to start pouring in as soon as things are off the ground. Alas, most of these businesses fail before long.
Sure, you might get lucky and find your product relishing in virality, but the chances are slim. Instead of waiting for that golden moment to strike, promoting your business will ensure that it continues to grow and that new clients keep coming your way even if it doesn’t go viral.
The bottom line is that creating a product is only half of the battle. Making sure people actually hear about it is equally as, if not more, critical than producing it.
Knowing how to promote your product on low-budget is one thing, but first, you should know how to effectively create a budget to fund your marketing endeavours.
How to Budget for Promotion
Although we’ll be looking at the best ways to promote your business on a budget in this article, you’re going to need an actual budget in the first place. Creating a pot of money with which to market your company, however, isn’t always an easy feat.
Before you start weighing up any figures, you’re going to need to start answering a few important questions to determine exactly how much money you’ll need to fulfil your marketing plan.
– How many site visits do you have per month?
– How many leads are you generating per month?
– How much revenue does a typical new deal create?
– How much of your monthly profits do you plan to invest in promotion?
– What are your business objectives for this quarter?
– What are your business objective for the next year?
These are all important things to consider. The answer to these questions will help you to create a rough estimate on how much revenue you’ll be pumping into promotion each month.
Typically, small businesses earning less than $5 million allocate 7-8% of their profit to marketing and brand development (websites, blogs etc.), as well as advertising campaigns and paid social media promotion.
Deciding on exactly how much money you intend to spend in order to meet your business goals will ensure that you have a large enough budget to keep everything moving in the right direction, rather than spending blindly and running out of money early.
7 Budget-Friendly Promotional Strategies and How to do Them
Once you’ve decided on how you’ll save up enough money to fund your marketing endeavours, you’ll need to decide on how to distribute your budget. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective budget-friendly ideas for business promotion in 2019.
1. Promoting Your Business When You Communicate
One powerful and often-ignored promotional avenue is simple communication. Both in-person and online conversations can provide golden opportunities when it comes to improving brand familiarity and reach.
How to Promote Using Communication
Simply getting used to promoting your business whenever you communicate with people is an incredibly easy and effective way to start spreading the word. Letting people know about your company when they ask what you do for a living may just connect you with your next client.
Of course, if you’re planning on promoting your business in person, business cards are your new best friend. Any documents that you hand out should also have a letterhead containing your company’s information, including your business name, logo, contact details and any other relevant details.
You should also be mindful that communicative promotion isn’t limited only to face-to-face encounters. Ensuring that all of your emails are signed off with your company name, your position and electronic signature will also help to improve brand familiarity, as will updating your social media biographies with links to your business website.
Combining online and offline communication with promotion is an easy and free way to let anybody you speak to know what you do and how you might be able to help them. When they find themselves in need of your product or services, they’ll know where to turn.
2. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the simplest and most cost-effective promotional methods available. It involves posting regular content about your company and the themes it relates to, aiming to attract an audience likely to be interested in your product or services.
How to Promote Your Business Using Social Media Marketing
Thankfully, some of the most popular and widely-utilized social media platforms are entirely free. Said platforms are like oceans of people, millions of which might be interested in your business. Promoting your company on social media allows you to start attracting any potential clients to you.
Don’t Let Low-Engagement Deter You
Many people interested in marketing themselves on social media are put off by low click-through rates. An account with 10,000 followers, for instance, might only have around 1,000 followers that actively engage with the account’s content or buy into that business.
While the ratio of followers to conversions may be pretty imbalanced, don’t let that deter you. Social media platforms are some of the most lucrative (and free) places to market your business, providing an enormous return on your investment.
Protect Your Brand
One of the most critical elements of marketing effectively on social media is branding. It’s imperative that the content you publish aligns with the core message of your company. This will be determined by everything from visual content to writing style and external links.
Before you start promoting through social media, you should become really clear about how you want to present your business to its audience.
After that, just keep posting several times a day and engaging with other accounts in your niche, ensuring that all content stays true to your brand. Marketing plans and paid promotion can also help to get things off the ground, although these aren’t essential.
3. Blogging and Producing Written Content
Many companies have begun to harness the power of the written word in recent years. Whether in the form of blog posts on your business website or guest articles in related publications, content marketing is an easy and effective way to promote any brand.
How to Promote Your Business With Written Content
There are millions of readers online every single day in search of content that solves their problems. It’s for this very reason that so many companies now have ‘Blog’ sections on their sites, posting on-brand articles on a regular basis.
Well-written articles also double up as free advertising. If you’ve just launched a start-up in sustainable energy sources, for example, blog posts about how to make your home more eco-friendly or the benefits of plastic reduction will appeal to many potential customers.
Not only that, but writing articles also allows you to tap into an entirely different audience – of readers. People that might not even be searching for your product could stumble upon it through your blog posts, becoming a client of yours without even intending to.
Knowing where to publish these articles, however, can be tricky. There are so many different options, some of which are listed below with guidance.
– Blogs/websites: The most obvious platform onto which you can start publishing articles is your company blog or website. While posting content to your site is never a bad idea, publishing pieces to other spaces within your niche can also help you to market your company.
Ideally, you want to to have your piece published to a site that generates a lot of regular traffic, linking back to your company site. Those articles then start to serve as funnels through which internet users search for one thing and find themselves clicking through to your company site, where they may even become a paying client.
– Magazines: Amidst an ocean of digital publications and content creators, the magazine industry is still, against all odds, alive and kicking. Magazines still serve as excellent tools through which entrepreneurs can promote their businesses, tapping directly into a committed source of niche readers.
If you can get your articles published in on-brand magazines that your target market are already actively reading, there’s a strong change that they’ll be interested in your company.
– Newspapers: Printed media is still a great promotional tool, although it is considerably less targeted guest posts in niche publication. Contacting the business editors at local or even national papers and pitching articles may just land you a valuable feature.
Such features can be particularly valuable to geographically-focused businesses targeting potential customers in their local area.
4. Branded Giveaways
Whether at trade shows or corporate events, branded giveaways are a classic and timeless form of advertising that doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Providing potential customers and event attendees with products printed with your company name is a sure way to increase brand awareness and familiarity as well as the number of potential leads your company attracts.
How to Promote Your Business With Branded Giveaways
Handing out genuinely useful items such as iPad cases will provide the people you meet with a practical gift that’s branded with your company name.
Even if the people that happen to see your logo don’t convert immediately to paying clients, branded giveaways are great for increasing the familiarity of any business.
Take a company like GoDaddy, for example. They don’t expect viewers of their advertisements to immediately open up their laptop and start a website – but when they do find themselves wanting to purchase a domain, they’ll know where to turn.
In much the same way, branded giveaways can help to establish that same degree of brand familiarity. If people are already subconsciously aware of your business’s name and services, they’ll know exactly where they need to go when the time comes.
5. Promote Your Business by Delivering Seminars and Presentations
In-person promotion is effective for many reasons, allowing potential clients to physically meet company representatives and ask questions. Seminars and presentations are great ways in which your customer base can get to know you personally.
How to Promote Your Business With Seminars and Presentations
Another fantastic way to promote your business to people passionate about your niche is by delivering seminars and presentations in person. If you’re looking to spread the word about your carbon fiber surfboard startup, for instance, going out to local surf schools and educating them on the benefits of your technology will help to point dedicated surfers in your direction.
Presentation attendees not only receive the benefit of useful information on something they care about, but offering discounts and offers on your products at such events will leave people desperate to purchase from you.
Even if there’s no direct tie-in to your product, you can still deliver presentations on related topics. In much the same way as blogging on related platforms can help to direct people towards your business, so too will closely-neighboring presentational topics help to send people your way.
If public speaking really isn’t your thing, you can start small and work your way up. There are also great sites and groups such as Toastmasters, as well as public speaking groups on Meetup, which can help you to feel more at ease during seminars and presentations. Alternatively, you could hire colleagues or employees to speak on your company’s behalf.
6. Start Making Use of Email Marketing
Email marketing is an incredibly powerful and cost-effective promotional tool. It provides predictable results, allows you to use targeted ads without spending much of your budget.
Businesses have made use of email marketing opportunities for decades. Although an aged promotional tool, building a strong and passionate emailing list is valuable for a range of different reasons, helping to attract potential customers and drive conversions.
How to Promote Your Business With Email Marketing
Unlike any other platform, your email subscribers belong to you – you don’t just build a network, you own it. While beneficial in many ways, social media advertisements don’t always reach the full extent of your followers.
Facebook has even been reported to only show a small fraction of published content to followers of business pages. Facebook and all other online platforms withhold the right to change things as they please, while your email marketing efforts are entirely under your control.
It’s also advisable, and more reliable, if you work to build a strong mailing list rather than buying one from a list broker. The best way to start is to simply begin asking previous and potential clients if you can have their email address to add to your list.
To avoid fines and penalties, as well as comply with GDPR policies, you should always ask for permission before you add people to your list.
6. Appear on Talk Shows and Radios
Similarly to delivering presentations and seminars too prospective clients, appearing on radio and talk shows is another effective way to market your business to potential clients.
How to Promote Your Business on Talk Shows and Radios
Local radio shows and interviewing platforms like podcasts are often in search of guests to feature – particularly those providing value to their local community through business.
By finding out the names and details of show hosts, you can start getting in touch and booking yourself to speak about your business (or topics pertaining to it) to local listeners.
7. Starting a Business Podcast
The podcasting industry has grown enormously in recent years. While podcasts can now serve as businesses in their own right, they’re also an invaluable tool when it comes to promoting an existing company or product.
How to Promote Your Business Using Podcasts
Starting a podcast is relatively easy and low-cost, requiring little more than a decent-quality microphone and basic editing software. On your podcast, you could discuss topics that relate to your business and appeal to its target audience, providing free information with the intent of pointing them towards your products and services.
Of course, not all listeners will convert into customers, but some will. The more regular streamers you can build, the higher the chances that podcasting will help to boost your company’s reach and, in turn, it’s earnings.
Don’t Have the Time? Try Sponsoring Other Podcasts
As well as promoting your business by launching its own podcast, you can also significantly increase your marketing reach by offering sponsorships to other podcast hosts.
Paid sponsors allow large podcasts to earn enough money to sustain themselves and so most will welcome sponsorships from companies looking to promote themselves. You can start promoting yours by getting in touch with podcast hosts that are involved in the same niche as you and offering to pay them to talk a little about your products or services.
Final Word on Budget-Friendly Promotion
While marketing is notoriously expensive, it doesn’t have to drive your business into debt or bankruptcy.
By building a strong promotional plan before you start out, allocating enough money to your marketing efforts and then sticking to the low-budget options listed above, you’ll be able to expand your business’s reach without breaking your bank.