Statistics predict that, when you’re starting a new business in the United States, there are good chances it will survive its first two years of operation – roughly two-thirds of business do. But as time goes by, the chances that you’ll have to close the business’ doors increase, and by year five roughly half of all businesses fail. The usual reasons businesses fail include inexperience, low demand for their products and services, poor planning, and – money issues.
Unless they have an endless supply of money, new business owners will have to figure out how to spread the money they have around so that they cover all of the things their business needs in order to thrive. Sometimes, that will mean finding an activity where more can be done with less, and marketing can be such an activity.
The Offline Basics
The core of executing a successful marketing strategy with as little money as possible is taking advantage of as many free or discounted things as possible. If you have a nice place of business, for example, you can let the local community organizations use it for some of their events after hours, raising awareness in the process. You can also offer to write for any local publications and provide your opinions and advice on your area of expertise.
When you do decide to spend money, you should make sure it goes to the least expensive activity that gives you the most results. Let’s say that you’re planning to rent a couple of billboards in your area to promote your business. Achieving the same coverage with simple yard signs can be almost as effective and is probably cheaper. Asking your friends to place them in their yards for free for a while is the way you can save some money.
You will need to create some promotional material. Business cards are a must. Instead of creating flyers that list your products and services, you might instead create tip sheets that give advice on how to use the products or services that you offer. If your targeted audience is kids, you should create the tip sheets for their parents, and balloons with your company logo for the kids.
Taking Your Marketing Online
You have many ways to market your business online either for free or on the cheap. You should consider utilizing social media to the fullest extent. Social networks will not require you to pay in order to open a business page, but maintaining and updating your business page will take up some of your time. Not as much time as you might imagine, though, because as long as you have less than 10,000 Facebook followers, for example, you can post as little as five updates each month without reducing the page’s performance.
Paid online advertising comes in many different forms – from buying space on websites and creating affiliate programs to using Facebook and Google ads. The latter two allow you to use them with a small amount of money, and they give you useful data that help you better aim your advertising efforts.
One thing you should consider investing in is a website. Shared hosting will only make a tiny dent in your budget, and you can create a WordPress website fairly easily. Once you have created a website, you can use it to start a blog and offer valuable advice and insight to potential customers. You will need to set aside some time for it, but a blog can also help your website’s search engine rankings, which will make it more visible to people who search for terms related to your industry.
Going Local Online
Fueled by the increase in mobile online searching, local search is the big thing in marketing right now. People search for products and services near them using their smartphones, and often enough they end up visiting stores within a day of finding them online. If you want to attract customers who have purchase intent, you should consider optimizing your web presence for local search.
Creating a Google My Business listing is free and absolutely necessary for excelling at local search engine optimization. You can also consider targeting keywords and phrases that include local modifiers such as landmarks, names of cities and neighborhoods, and area codes. Making sure that your website has online reviews will also help. You can do all three of these things for free.
Starting a business and making sure that it stands on firm ground can be difficult. But if you want to rise to the challenge and create a business that will be running strong in five years time, making sure that every dollar you spend on it is spent where it has the maximum impact is a sound strategy. In marketing, you can reduce spending by some good old DIY and creativity, without compromising effectiveness.