For new businesses, the old adage ‘you have to spend money to make money’ can be downright misleading. A limitless marketing budget definitely helps, but there are a number of strategies a bootstrapped company can deploy to help grow traffic/leads/etc. Corl put together some strategies can get the best marketing bang for your limited buck.
Word of mouth marketing is one of the most valuable form of marketing. It’s the one that consumers trust above all others and the one that is most likely to drive sales to your company. People are four times more likely to buy a product when it’s referred to them by a friend.
Establishing a referral program doesn’t cost much, and depending on how you structure it, might be entirely free. Options include offering your current customers a discount in exchange for referring a new customer, or offering a cash reward if you’re going all out with this strategy. Just make sure customers are aware of this promotion.
2. Press Releases and News Features
News outlets are usually open to unsolicited stories. Press releases are a great (and inexpensive) way to get your brand mentioned in major publications and could help pick up some inbound traffic. You will have to do some research to assess which publication is likely to post your story and to whom you should send your article.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is another resource. You can sign up a source and you’ll be sent inquiries for comment. You can pick stories in your market and provide your opinion. Make sure to request confirmation and be informed as to when the article will get posted.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing comes in many forms and does not require significant investment. The simplest approach is managing an on-site blog where you can inform and entertain your readers in a unique and practical way.
Blogs aren’t your only option. Feel free to get creative with infographics, videos, and podcasts. All content mediums have the power to improve your brand reputation, increase your inbound traffic and complement many other strategies within this list.
If you’re going to be dedicating a portion of your time writing articles for content marketing, it only makes sense to invest in improving your search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO affects your brand’s online visibility as consumers look up keywords using a search engine. With online tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer, you can identify keywords that are relevant to your business and will attract high traffic to your site with low competition. Remember to tweak your site to include those keywords.
It’s also important to write consistently high-quality content and add backlinks to your domain. With this strategy, the only cost to you is time.
5. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is freely available and, if done correctly, could foster a great relationship between your brand and its customers. Start by making profiles of your business on major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The content you share should be tailored to optimize the characteristics of each platform.
Share content you think your target market will like, while also reaching out to individuals to make sure they stay connected. This community of followers will eventually grow and will represent an anchor stream of traffic to your site.
6. Email Marketing
Some sources claim the return on investment (ROI) of email marketing is 400% or more. It remains one of the most cost-efficient marketing strategies. All you need is a good list (organically curated, rather than bought), and a steady, non-invasive stream of outgoing email blasts. If done right, you should be able to see a significant return on any time or money you put into it.
7. PPC Ads
If you are looking for a low-cost method of paid advertising, pay-per-click ads can support budget-conscious entrepreneur, as long as you are targeting niche keywords and platforms. On Facebook, you can still pay as little as $1 a day for certain ads.
8. Personal Branding
People tend to trust other people more than corporations. Because of this, branding will apply to you as an individual. Take the opportunity to promote yourself and your expertise across social media, perhaps start a dedicated blog, earn new followers and a separate source of traffic and interest. Eventually you will have a separate, powerful outlet you can use to syndicate your content or attract new leads, without having to pay a dime.
9. Forums and Groups
Public forums and social media groups are a great way to share your expertise or promote your business. The more you are involved with your respective communities, the more you stand to gain. Best of all, there is usually no cost of becoming a member of these communities, so you can reap the benefits with nothing more than a few hours of your time.
(Just be aware of Reddit rules before you post anything. Redditors can be merciless.)
10. Give Back
There are many low-cost ways to give back to your community, whether that’s hosting a beach cleanup or starting a canned food drive. Not only are you doing your part for the community, but you’re also generating goodwill with customers and prospects.
Corl is a Toronto area investor providing non-dilutive funding options to post-revenue technology companies. If you’re a business owner and interested in acquiring capital to grow, check out www.corl.io for more information or click the button below to submit an application: