Congrats, you’ve decided to step out on your own!
You’ve got all these big dreams and goals and you’re ready to put your shoulder to the wheel and that deserves a round of applause.
[Cue 80s sitcom studio applause]
Now, here comes the tough part, you know you need to invest in your business, but the painful truth is that your current budget may not be where you want it to be.
No worries, you can just sell ‘cause once you do, you can make the money you need to invest……right??
Problem solved!!!……… buuutttttt in order to sell you need to money to promote and there begins a vicious cycle of needing money to invest in advertising, so you can sell, so you can get money to invest in advertising…….sigh!
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL PEOPLE!!!
But here’s the thing, building reach organically is one of the best ways to build credibility and establish yourself as a leader in your industry. Once done consistently people will come to recognize you as the ‘go to’ person in your field.
So while you continue to grow, here are some quick and easy ways to market yourself on a shoe string budget.
WORD OF MOUTH
This is by far the easiest form of organic advertising and literally costs zero dollars to ask someone to please tell a friend about what you do. Get out there and ask for referrals from persons you have worked with, even if it was for free. Keep telling people about you and what you do, and form relationships along the way. You can even go a step further and offer some sort of referral incentive such as a discount off their next purchase just to encourage persons to spread the word.
Social media is a great tool for persons on a budget. Your challenge, however, is to determine which platform(s) your target is on. Once you’ve figured it out, really work those platforms by showing up every day, engaging in group conversations and really telling people that you are exactly what they need in their lives. Give valuable information, assist others in the various groups and let them know about you and how you can assist them. I would also recommend including a small budget for social media ads to spread the word.
This is my personal favorite as it’s a great way to really showcase your knowledge and expertise to the public. Depending on your industry, you can definitely use your own personal experiences to drive home specific points, and, truly connect with your audience. No worries if you don’t have a website just yet, you can sign up for a free platform at www.wordpress.com and start blogging away. That’s actually how I started back in 2014. There are free templates, it’s easy to set up and you can now have an online home to host all your awesome content. If writing isn’t your thing, consider video blogging (vlogging) on social media and YouTube to talk your audience. Regardless of which you use, remember to share your content via social media and your email lists.
This too is a great way to interact with persons and having a list is crucial to the life and longevity of your brand. Create a lead magnet to draw your potential customers in and keep them coming back for more by giving them helpful information. Don’t use your list only to sell, it’s annoying and people will disregard them after a while.
Instead, ask yourselves: “What’s an issue my ideal client might be struggling with that has a fairly simple, actionable fix I can offer?” and build from there.
Once identified, speak directly to that with a compelling subject line that draws them in, and, within the body of the email, give information, examples or even personal stories that relate to the issue – then give your offer with a powerful call to action.
DIRECT MESSAGING & COLD CALLING
This is super simple, just send the message or make the call. Sometimes all it takes is making that connection with a potential customer to get what you need and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Introduce yourself and focus the conversation on how you can assist them with whatever issues they may be having. Remember you are the solution so engage them by focusing on how you are exactly what they need.
This is tried and true; it’s only when you meet new people that new people know about you. Nothing beats face to face conversations where you can share your passionate ideas with a brand new pool of persons who are in need of your business right now. You’re building your brand and increasing your visibility, something that any serious minded entrepreneur needs, plus, you get to be in a room with like minded persons from all walks of life who are already in the right mindset, because they took the time to be present at the event . That means more meaningful connections and fertile soil for your growing business. So put on your best outfit, get your hair and ladies get makeup done and, with call cards in hand, get out there and be social.
Collaborating with other businesses is an awesome way to let customers feel they are getting ‘added value’ for shopping. Look for ways to partner with other business owners and companies to promote yourself even further and bring more people to you. Can you offer a complimentary product to their customers or can you link with a competitor and offer their clients something extra special that they will need? Getting together with other heavy hitters in your industry that you share the same target with can truly help promote your brand and you can leverage their marketing and advertising to promote yourself.
So there you have it, seven ways to market your brand with little to no budget. Use the above in your marketing strategy and your investment of time and energy to make the money you want.
If you need more ideas specific to grow your business, be sure to sign up for Strategic Marketing Coaching with Carli where over a 90day period we go through your business and we work through what tactics are best. I will also answer any burning questions you may have about promoting your brand and give you specific, actionable steps that you can take to get seen the right way by the right people. I’m limiting to just five persons so be sure to sign up.
By the way, you can always feel free to Keep up with Carli and get free marketing training and advice on my Facebook business page at Carli Communications. (Don’t forget to click the follow button and set your notifications so you don’t miss a thing)