5 Ways to Market Your Business on a Shoestring Budget

If you were to ask most entrepreneurs what was the biggest challenge they face in business, the number one answer, unfortunately, would be money (or lack thereof).

Cash flow problems is often a road block to success when trying to start or grow a business.  After all, you need money to market your business and get the word out about your products and/or services, right?

Well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.  With a little creativity and out of the box thinking, you can still market your business without a huge marketing budget.

Here are 5 ways to market your business on a shoestring budget:

 Video Marketing

Video is a great tool for marketing any type of business.  Whether you create how-to videos, descriptions of your products/services, testimonials, etc., it is a great way to get exposure.  The great thing about video is that it does not have to be a huge, elaborate production to be effective. In fact, quick, simple, and to-the-point videos shot on an inexpensive flip video camera, cell phone, or web cam can do the trick. In most cases, it’s not all about the quality, but more about the message you are getting out there.  Now, I’m not saying just throw up any old blurry, crummy video, but don’t spend so much time worrying about perfection that you hesitate to get started. Remember, people do business with those they know, like, and trust. Incorporating video marketing is a great way to gain that trust. Your customers/clients want to know that they are working with a REAL person, so letting them hear your voice and see your face creates a sense of a personal connection, making them more willing to do business with you.

How to Set Up An Email Marketing Campaign

 Email Marketing

Staying in front of your target market is imperative.  The best way to do this: email marketing. You can use email services such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc. to create an opt-in box on your website to capture the email addresses of potential clients (this works best when you share a “free juicy offer” such as a free report, ebook, etc). Email your list on a regular basis to make sure that your business is at the top of mind when it’s time to seek out someone who offers your specific product/service. The key here is to not be “spammy” by bombarding them with constant sales pitches. Instead, offer value with your emails. For example, If you own a clothing boutique, write an article about the most current clothing trends and include a discount code to purchase similar clothing from your shop. This is also a good opportunity to keep potential clients in the know about what’s new with your business, events that you’ll be participating in, special promotions, etc. Use catchy subject lines to make your subscribers want to open your email, and be sure to pack in interesting info to make sure you keep their attention once they do!

Effective Networking Strategies

 Networking

While online marketing should definitely be a part of your marketing plan, nothing beats good ol’ face-to-face networking.  In a world where practically everyone is using social media, it’s still important to get from behind the comfort of your computer, get out there and shake some hands and network.  Networking is an acquired skill, so take time to learn some effective strategies. It’s not about attending as many events as possible and shoving a business card in the hands of anyone who will take it. Your goal should be to make quality connections. Also, focus on what you have to offer others versus going in with a “what can you do for me” mindset.  You will find that more people will be willing to work with you and/or speak your praises when you are willing to help them in some way as well. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to speak to at least 30 people per week about your business.  Research events in your area using a site such as meetup.com, and plan to attend at least 1-2 events per week.

 Hosting Your Own Events

Another great way to spread the word about your business is to host events. Depending on the type of business you are in, you can come up with some creative event ideas to build a buzz about your business, score great press, and meet new and potential customers face-to-face. It is a great way to build personal relationships (remember the know, like, and trust factor).  If you are in the beauty industry, why not host a pampering event to get a group of potential clients in one place where they’ll be exposed to your product/service?  If you’re a wedding designer, you can host an open house to show samples of your design style and invite engaged couples to see what you have to offer. Really, the possibilities are endless. Get creative and come up with a fun quarterly or twice a year event to steadily gain new clientele.

How to Start a Blog

Blogging

In my opinion, blogging is one of the most efficient, and inexpensive ways to market your business. Just like with email marketing, it is your opportunity to stay in front of your target market, offer solutions to their problems, as well as keep them informed on the goings-on of your business.  As with all forms of marketing, consistency is key.  Whether you post daily or weekly, you should come up with a schedule that you can keep up with so that your clients will look forward to what you have to share.  You can use a free blog site such as Blogger, but if you want to step your game up, WordPress is where it’s at! You are able to do so much more functionally, not to mention it’s more visually appealing and is better for SEO purposes (I’ll go more in depth on that in another post).         

Do you have any other creative ideas for marketing a business on a shoestring budget? Please share in the comments below.

To Your Prosperity and Success,

Nikola Ahaiwe - Business Coach, Motivational Speaker, Blogger

P.S. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more valuable business tips, resources, and tools!

4 Simple Ways to Stay Business Ready

I recently heard an old school song on the radio with the lyrics, “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready”.

Do you understand just how powerful that is?!

That one sentence can be applied to so many aspects of your life…especially your business!

BePrepared

Have you ever been presented with an opportunity, only to say (or think) “it’s not the right time”, “I’m not prepared”, “If only…”

That is why it is imperative that you STAY ready, so you don’t have to GET ready when a blessing or opportunity is presented to you.

You see, we are presented with opportunities almost everyday, but sometimes we block our blessings by doing one of two things:

1. Not realizing, or overlooking, the right opportunity when it is in front of you.

2. Simply not being prepared.

Do any of these sound familiar to you? How many times have you missed out on a HUGE opportunity to advance your business, missed out on a sale, or lost a prospective client due to one of the reasons above?

Below are 4 simple things you can do to make sure you STAY business ready:

Create an Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief summary of who you are and what you do.  Sometimes, you only get one shot to speak with a prospect and fill them in about your business, so it is important that you take the time to craft a clear, concise description of what you have to offer. This is not the time to ramble on and on, nor present a sales pitch. The goal is to summarize your offerings and get your potential client interested in your product or service in no more than 30 secs (approximately the time it takes to ride on an elevator). Take the time to practice your pitch in a mirror so you’ll be comfortable and speak with clarity and confidence.

dress-for-success-pic

Dress for Success

I know it’s really tempting to throw on a pair of sweats and tennis shoes when you have a day full of errands to run. However, when you’re a business owner, it’s very important that you are mindful of your appearance at all times. Now, i’m not saying you have to be all dolled up every time you leave the house, but you do want to make sure you take pride in your appearance. As you prepare to head out, ask yourself “will I be comfortable speaking to a prospective or current client in this attire?” If the answer is no, you may want to rethink it. People sometimes think that working from home means sitting around in your PJs all day. While that can be a lovely perk, I make it a habit to get up, get dressed, and make sure that I look as presentable as if I were heading into the office. Try it out…you’ll be surprised how much more productive you are!

Know Your Products/Services

This may sound like an easy one, but it’s really important that you know your products like the back of your hand! You should be able to answer any and all questions about your products (or services) without hesitation. Your clients will buy from those that they know, like, and trust. Not being knowledgeable about your offerings is one of the surest ways to strike up a sense of doubt , and can result in you losing the sale, client, opportunity, etc.

Be Open to Change

If you have been doing the same thing over and over again and it’s not working, then maybe it’s time for a change. Sometimes, your ego can get in the way and you don’t want to admit to yourself that you don’t know everything. Let go of that way of thinking right now. As an entrepreneur, you will learn new things as you go further on the journey and you have to be able to adapt to those changes.  The things that you thought would work, may not. All of the things you thought could not possibly work, just may be what you need to give a shot! Keeping an open mind allows you to always be prepared when an opportunity for growth arises.

Keep these tips in mind so that the next time you are presented with a business opportunity, you will be ready!

To Your Prosperity and Success,

Nikola Ahaiwe - Business Coach, Motivational Speaker, Blogger

P.S. Connect with me on Facebook for more valuable business tips!

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