6 Ways to Market Your Business on a Shoestring Budget

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Marketing on a Shoestring Budget Once you've created a marketing plan that identifies what it is you want to sell, how, and to whom, you need to start getting the word out on your business.

One question that many start-up companies will ask is how do I effectively reach the most people while keeping a reasonable marketing budget? Thanks to the Internet, not only is it possible to market on a shoestring budget, it's almost considered the norm these days. Here are some ways you can get your business’s word out with very little money:

Start a blog
Give people a reason to visit your website. If you don't have a blog, people might visit your website once or twice to gather information and never return. If you have a blog that gives your readers valuable information on a regular basis, then not only have you given your audience a reason to revisit, but you've also given them reasons to talk about your company. (“Last week, I read something on the Tech Business Blog that said the newest marketing trend is....”)

Once you have a blog, you can drive your audience to it, build a community, and initiate discussion about important topics.

Use social networking
If you doubt the power of social media, check out Twitter during an important sports game or when there is an international crisis. The Twitter-stream is always abuzz with the latest news and opinions. You can tap into this stream by either commenting on the trending topics (seen in the right column of your Twitter page) or creating a new “news-worthy” topic yourself. When people start seeing that your company is adding value to the conversation they will start paying attention.

Same thing goes for Facebook. Every award, every event your company has, every bit of good news, should go up on your Facebook page. Again, once people see that you are adding value (or that you are even participating) they will start paying attention.

Write posts for other blogs in your industry
This one comes further down the list because you should have a blog first, but it's not absolutely necessary. Guest blogging is something that everyone loves. For the owners of the blog, it gives them free content. For the writer of the post, you're seen as an authority in the field. Although you have to conform to the standards established on another business’s blog, you can always link back to your website or blog in your bio.

Writing for others is another way to drive business home and it's a way to get guest bloggers to write for your blog.

Get out of your office
People like to meet people. If you have the type of business that allows for it, go out and meet your audience. Hold workshops, sponsor local events, have a booth at a convention. Remember though, that at all times, the meeting is about your audience and what it is you can do to help them.

Create a buzz
If your business donates to a charity, write it up as a press release and get it out. Do you have an employee who recently won an award? Write it up. Local newspapers and online news sites are eager to get well-written press releases (with photos) to run as news stories.

Give something away
If you browse other business websites, you'll notice that many of them offer a free e-book on a specific topic. (Top 25 Reasons Why...) There are two reasons why this is a good idea:

    1. People like to get things for free. They especially like to get things of value for free. Getting something that could actually help them will make them like and respect your business.

    1. When people request the e-book, you can ask for their e-mail, which helps you create an e-mail list to send out company information.

Points worth repeating: the e-book needs to be well-written and it must give value to the reader. A fluff attempt might do you more damage than good with your audience.

As you've probably noticed, many of the ways to market these days involves writing. Go tap the strongest writer in your company and start seeing if you can get your company's brand out on the Internet by way of word.

What one thing can you think of doing today that could get your business’s brand out to your target audience?


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Nilotpal Datta's picture

Igor Levicki Said : you do not bake the bread after the customer comes to your bakery.

But you always bake keeping in mind what your customer want.

As said that Bad news travel faster than Good news, so it is very important that a good marketing is done o spread the Good news about the product. Marketing can say what the customer is looking for and what they expect from a new product (Market Research) you can't have market research after you have build the product, so it is always good to do the research and keep in the mind what your customer want.

Even Beta types is published to see what the customer feel about the product which is part of marketing. You can't build a good product without knowing what your customer want from it.

I feel that Marketing and Development team must work as a team to bring out the best product.

Wendy Thomas's picture

Good point about opt-out/in, Igor. Here is some information about the CAN-SPAM Act:

The CAN-SPAM Act, a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.

Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.

Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly. But following the law isn’t complicated. Here’s a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:

Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

Igor Levicki's picture

>>Nilotpal Datta said:
>>Marketing normally start before development of the product.

And then you have a crap product because you push it out unfinished in an effort to meet the goals set by marketing team instead of by engineering. Plenty of examples of that around you.

Moreover, you do not bake the bread after the customer comes to your bakery.

Finally, good products do not need extensive (or worse yet premature) marketing strategies, because people tell each other about them. On the other hand, if you have a bad product and people feel screwed after purchase they will spread bad word and bad news travel faster than good news.

@Wendy Thomas:

I hope you will clarify that collecting emails and sending unsolicited emails is punishable by law and that people are required to provide opt-in (ideally) or at least opt-out of such mailings.

Nilotpal Datta's picture

Nice to share the thoughts of individuals, but I think the best way of marketing is to think and identify what your customer need and who are your target customer, It is very important to define what is "Lead", do the visitor to your website is a suspect, prospect, or a real lead. Marketing normally start before development of the product.

Lauren Dankiewicz (Intel)'s picture

Thank you for the positive responses! It's good to know what content appeals to you so we can continue delivering "how to" blogs that are valuable to you.

anonymous's picture

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

anonymous's picture

For promoting the business following points you have described are very nice.

Lauren Dankiewicz (Intel)'s picture

Thanks for the feedback! Feel free to let us know if you have any questions regarding the blog.

anonymous's picture

wow, wonderful and informative website!


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