Whether you’re facing tough economic times or just have a limited marketing budget, here are some free or low-cost ways to help you promote your business:
Google My Business
Every business should have a Google My Business account. It’s completely free and provides a platform for you to feature information about your business that prospective customers want to know, such as store hours, contact information, photos and customer reviews. Having a Google My Business profile literally puts you on the map too, which enables customers to easily access directions to your business location. It’s easy to set up and manage.
Google Ad Grants
If your organization is a nonprofit charity in good standing, you could be eligible for up to $10,000 of in-kind advertising every month. Check to see if your organization qualifies.
Create and/or claim your business listings on any review sites that apply to your industry. Some of these sites include Yelp, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Foursquare, Manta, Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, Yahoo! Local Listings, Bing Places, Influenster and Merchant Circle. Be sure to complete your listings with as much accurate information as possible, including contact information, website, hours, description of services, etc. The more complete your profiles are, the more likely it will help you be found in searches.
Start A Referral Program
Incentivize happy customers to refer you. For example, current customers of a gym may get one month free for recruiting a friend. Those in professional services might consider offering a discount to their top referral sources.
DIY Public Relations
Become a subject matter expert, and get published. Public relations can be a big investment of time — that’s why most businesses hire PR pros to help them achieve publicity and credibility. However, if budgets are limited and you have the time, you can definitely get a handle on this yourself. Start with content creation (articles, blogs, videos, press releases), then determine where to publish them. Some free resources include PRLog and other press release distribution sites, and HARO (helpareporter.com) to secure media coverage.
Social media is a great way to get your business out there for free. You can publish your content across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other social networking sites. Having social media profiles for your company will boost your chances of getting found on Google, Bing and other search engines. It’s a great way for customers to stay connected and in the know of your latest offerings and updates.
There are plenty of free or low-cost email marketing tools available (Mailchimp, Constant Contact and VBout to name a few) where you can customize beautiful professional emails and send them out to a large group of prospects. Pro tip: Keep your text minimal, and include a call to action or a reason for them to contact you soon.
Strengthen your business connections by getting involved in networking groups. Whether virtual or in-person, you can meet like-minded people who can introduce you to people seeking your services. Another way to get involved in the networking community is hosting a webinar or workshop. If you have valuable insights you are willing to share, this could be a cost-effective way to demonstrate your specialized knowledge and the value of your services to potential customers. Speaking engagements can be a great way to establish credibility as a leader in your industry.
Now go out there and promote your business proudly!