You’ve got a great business and no money. How are you going to get anyone to listen to what you have to say?
This is a crucial question for small businesses to answer.
Here are five ideas to get you started.
Have a great product or service
The easiest thing in the world to market is something that people really want. Make sure what you are doing is providing something of value to others.
Know your customer
Many small businesses go with the “spray and pray” method of sending out messages in all different directions and hoping for the best.
The questions you have to ask yourself are 1. What problem are you solving? And 2. Who needs this problem solved? When you can identify your exact ideal customer, you need to direct your marketing efforts to the places that person is. Anything else is just a waste of your valuable time.
This is why, in a purely pragmatic sense, email is by far the best answer to this question to how to market on a budget. But it takes patience and a willingness to invest in others without getting anything in return.
I feel myself constantly writing this, and I think that’s partially because I need to remind myself. Your idea is not going viral. We live in such an age of instant gratification that we want to create something, and then immediately reach our long term goals.
Life doesn’t work that way. The best way to market on a budget is to go directly to people and sell them your product or service. Can you make one sale today? And then another tomorrow? Have a small victory each day, and in time, you’ll be headed toward those goals.
What a world we live in, that we can have conversations with people from anywhere who are doing anything. Take advantage of that. Meet people online and in person. Challenge yourself to meet people, not for what you can get out of it, but for what you can offer to them.
When you create relationships, opportunities multiply. For one, you learn from people when you actually listen. And as far as marketing on a budget, these relationships can lead to cross-promotional opportunities, partnerships or simply a valuable resource to keep in mind.
It’s impossible not to. We do it with our personal lives, our possessions and our businesses. But it does absolutely no good to compare ourselves to others. Whether we are looking at people who are better and lamenting our challenges, or comparing to those who are worse to justify our production, the end result always the same – we are doing nothing.
The real key to marketing on a budget is to look yourself in the mirror and decide to take a step forward today. Regardless of what others are doing around you, this is your mission, and you are the only one who can step up. Stop comparing yourself to others, and think about what small victory you can have today.
Micky Deming is an entrepreneur and co-founder at TREP school – a learning resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Previously, he worked as a journalist and newspaper editor, and has put his reporting skills to use – interviewing entrepreneurs and telling their stories at the TREP school blog. Image courtesy Karin Dalziel