Friday, March 15, 2013

3 Quick Tips for Low-Cost Marketing

Everyone is on a budget these days, including most businesses. But how can you grow your business and not spend money? Embrace low-cost, no-cost marketing ideas.

Marketing is the life blood of any business. It's essential to generate new customers and clients. Here are some ways you can market your business without breaking the bank:

Tell everyone about your business, from your mother and cousins to your hairdresser and mechanic. Every person you interact with should know that you're in business, what you offer and how to become a customer. Think about it. Every person in your social circle probably knows 50 to 100 people. It's the old adage "and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends..." Word-of-mouth referrals are a great source of business.

Public Relations (PR)
It's important to note that public relations and advertising are not the same. PR is essentially unpaid advertising. However, what you would pay cash for in marketing, you will pay in your time with PR. PR is not a quick fix. It's like sowing seeds. You need to plant, care for and nurture your PR efforts. PR highlights newsworthy information and should not be promotional. You can generate PR in a variety of ways, including with press releases, a media event, pitching local media or highlighting a recent survey or case study.

Social Media
No low-cost marketing plan is complete without including social media. Social media is all the rage. With hundreds of sites to choose from, you're best bet is to select a few to focus your efforts. Depending on the type of business you have, I would recommend Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. These popular sites are a great way to build relationships with customers, highlight products and services, gather feedback and leverage viral marketing. It's a great venue to both market and provide value to customers. Best of all, it doesn't cost any money to do it!

While there are hundreds of free or low-cost marketing ideas, these are just a few. No matter what kind of marketing you are doing for your business, the most important part is to have a plan. It doesn't need to be anything elaborate, but it should include all the components with a calendar outlining what to do and when.

Have any free or low-cost marketing tips that have worked well for you business? I'd love to hear them!