12 ways to market your business on a budget

Knowing how to market your start up business is vital if you want to gain new customers and grow awareness of your product or service.

We have collated our tip 12 ways you can make marketing work for you to get your brand out there and increase sales.

1. Get a company website

Even if it’s just a page with contact details, it’s better than nothing. Potential customers are likely to google search you to check you are a legitimate business. If you can, present the page well and include good quality pictures that help explain what your business offers. Use key words that are associated with your industry and what you offer. If you can’t afford a shop built into the website, don’t worry. Let customers know how and when they can contact you and direct them to active social media accounts if you have them.

2. Attend networking events

Networking is a great way to meet aspiring and existing business owners. It can help you get business advice by talking to like-minded individuals, and is a chance to pitch your business to potential customers. 4N (a national business networking organisation) offer you three free meetings and after that there are paid options. If you’re in London, see 3Beards for their Silicon Drinkabout events. Check business hubs, co-working spaces, libraries and business centres in your local area as these places host a number of networking events. You never know, you may meet your next big customer or future business partner.

3. Make a blog

If you have a company website, you should be looking to host relevant, quality content. This can help build your reputation. Whether it’s starting a discussion about what’s going on in an industry, an advice column or explanations of your products and services, make sure the blog has a clear ‘Call To Action’ and directs people to where they can buy your product or service.

4. Share your content

It’s also worth contacting related organisations to see if they would like content for their website. Sharing your tips and advice from starting up, or knowledge of your sector, can generate awareness of your business.

5. Facebook

Facebook is used by many small businesses to sell products as well as promote them! If your business is retail, it is a great way to share pictures of what you stock and best of all it can be free of charge. Your Facebook page is perfect for letting customers know what’s in store if you have a product range that can change quickly.

6. Create a Twitter account

Twitter is a great way to share updates on your business and it’s free to create an account. Whilst you are limited to how many characters you can write, it’s still a fast and easy way to direct people to your website and share what your business is up to.

7. Search for a #journorequest

This is the hashtag that many journalists use on Twitter to find companies to feature in their publications. Follow key journalists who feature on small business/enterprise/startups in both local, regional and national press.

8. Instagram your business

Instagram is fast becoming the new place for small businesses to promote their products and it’s great if you love taking creative photos. Check out Start Up Loan recipient Pip & Nut to see how they use Instagram to market their nut butters.

9. Enter free awards

There are lots to choose from that target startups and small businesses. Even if you don’t win, there will likely be a page that advertises the entrants or semi-finalists so this can create some free exposure. Check out The Pitch and if you’re under 30 Shell LiveWIRE who offer a monthly award.

10. Host a cheap event

Whether it’s a pub quiz, fundraiser or a business networking event, this is a great way to get your name out there and printed on the marketing collateral. You could even pitch your business at the event! Make sure your event has a clear purpose, and by charging a small fee and using free ticketing applications like Eventbrite, you can keep the costs of your event relatively low.

11. Reviews, reviews, reviews

Contact previous customers and ask them about their experience – if it’s been great and they’ve loved your product or service, ask for a quote that you can use and post it on your company website or social media profiles. This will help build confidence in your business.

12. Write a press release

A press release is your way of letting journalists know about your business, and hopefully securing some press coverage out of it. Target local press and journalists often like to hear about local successes. Check out our blog on how to create a press release that will get you noticed.

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