It doesn’t matter how much money you have to spend on marketing, there never seems to be enough to go around.

So here’s a roundup of a few articles that I’ve found on the subject. I’ve taken inspiration from the article for my own advice — here. Click on the link to read the original article for another take. See! It’s a SUPER-TWOFER deal day on DIYMarketers!

Low-Cost Marketing Ideas For Your Business:

This blog post includes 25 low cost (and in some cases completely free!) marketing ideas to help promote your business in 2014 and beyond. I’m going to list a few that I think a lot of small businesses ignore – but that pack a big punch.

  1. List your business on Google Local: It’s amazing how many businesses aren’t listed on Google local/places. Take advantage of local search results by ensuring your business is listed. Once you’re listed, encourage your customers to leave reviews on your page, it will help improve your local ranking.Click here to list your business.
  2. Get your business listed on directories: HubSpot did the work for you — here’s a list with links
  3. Get involved in forums: Start having conversations with your customers, find out what matters to them, educate and give support. Simply go to Google and type in your industry or subject with the word “forum” next to it and start clicking away. Another great way to join relevant conversations is to get active in LinkedIn groups — a lot of groups are DYING for expert advice. This is an especially great marketing strategy for B2B companies. If your customers are on Facebook, use a Facebook group.
  4. Create an email signature: I’m still shocked at how many people DO NOT have an email signature. Here’s what to put in your email signature; Name, physical mailing address, phone number, links to your sites, social media links, link to a calendar so people can schedule a meeting with you, links to recent blog posts, a product or program you are featuring. The list is endless. Don’t be shy.
  5. Run a joint promotion: Stop and look at which other business or brand can come before you or after you in the process? If you’re a printer, you might reach out to real estate agents for example. If you’re a massage therapist, you might parter with chiropractors, Who comes before you or after you in the customers’ buying process, those are your partners with whom you can do a joint promotion. Here’s another one — are you a restaurant? Partner with an entertainment venue — like the movies and do a Dinner and a Movie promotion.
  6. Offer something for free:?This only doesn’t work if you’re lazy. Sorry. The key to this strategy is to be CREATIVE. One of my favorite pieces of advice comes from a retail store that mailed GIFT CERTIFICATES — yeah! $50 gift certificates to their town. This drove traffic to the store and people bought MORE. That is a creative way to give something for free. Think of it this way, not everyone is going to take you up on it — and if they did — GREAT because they came to your store.
  7. Get AWESOME business cards: I’m a huge fan of Moo.com — they offer great quality and a reasonable price. The other thing they give you is a ton of inspirational creative ideas for going beyond the business card. Check out the inspirations and use them to create your own. One more tip here — INCLUDE a picture – maybe the same one you use on social media so people recognize you and remember you
  8. Use your vehicle: Don’t be afraid of shameless self-promotion – it’s probably more effective than you think. You can wrap your car, use one of those magnetic appliques. The key to your success with this strategy is to focus on a “trigger event” — what is it that has just happened to your ideal customer that would make them want to call someone like you.

 

Optimize Your Marketing Process

  1. Develop Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Ideal Clients.
  2. Organize Your Email List.
  3. Create an Offer That Your Buyer Persona Won’t be Able to Resist.
  4. Follow-up With Your Leads.
  5. Stay in Touch with Your Contacts.
  6. Get Out of Your Office and Network
  7. Follow Up With Your New Contacts
  8. Attract New Traffic to Your Website With Blogging
  9. Promote Your Content on Social Media
  10. Monitor Social Media Activity to Find New Leads

 

  1. Plan your attack. Define who your best prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them. Be as specific as possible. Is the decision maker the CTO of the company, the director of human resources, or a 37-year-old working mom? Will you find them on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest or Facebook? What about in-person networking at local business meetings Will they be searching for your type of product on Google or Bing? Do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to pull out their credit card and make the purchase. Write your answers down, and refer to them before you start any new marketing tactic.
  2. If you don’t have a website, get one set up. If you can’t afford to have someone custom-design your website, put your site up using one of the companies like SiteSell.com or HomeStead.com that provide templates and tools that make it easy to create a basic website.
  3. Set up a free listing for your business in search engine local directories. You can do this at http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/local/, https://www.bingplaces.com/, and http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/local-listings/. Be sure to include your website link and business description.

 

1. Organize a FREE Fitness Bootcamp for Kids to Fight Obesity: Arrange a weekly or bi-weekly sessions FREE for kids and their families. Provide a workout, water, healthy snacks, literature and a weekly lesson about diet and exercise. (Then have a separate booth with additional educational materials about your paid for programs?) ?This is an excellent way to inadvertently market to grown-ups by giving to their children. Parents are always looking for fun activities for their kids and this would be great. (You could even invite a massage therapist to give FREE chair massages while parents wait again unique marketing for a health professional.)

3. Start a FREE Weekly Workout at the Park: Each Saturday or Sunday either hire a trained professional (if you’re not) and start a workout program for FREE in a local park. Then make sure you have a table set up with free tasters of your food (if you have a weightless program), literature and other information that will help folks learn what you do. Encourage people to bring a friend. Make sure you have balloons and signs so onlookers can come join the fun too.

4. Focus on a Specific Niche. Instead of just offering your services to everyone, pick a niche and a theme. For example, at the start of the new year, you could start to target spring and summer brides with a Bridal Party Slim Down Challenge?. Host a party or event. You could even add in a contest for the Bridal Party that loses the biggest percentage of fat and give a $500 gift of flowers or a gift certificate to something wedding related as a fun incentive. Another great specific niche to target are moms for a Baby Bounce Back Summer Countdown? or Divorced Dads Get Fit for Dating?. Choosing a theme and a niche draws more people in because they say to themselves “That’s me, I need that!” It’s much easier to grab their attention. Make sense? It’s much more powerful than just offering services or coaching for anyone and it’s actually much easier to get participants as well as clients.

You’re lucky enough to be in a business that’s trending right now. Don’t get stuck in the mindset of doing the kind of photography anyone can do with their phone — instead, really focus on areas where a phone camera just won’t do. What can you do that your customers can’t — now prove it using:

  1. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest? Use your Facebook page to educate your friends and family on being better photographers themselves. Share your photos and how you did it. On Twitter, offer tips, camera reviews, dispel myths – be the one they turn to when pictures are in question.
  2. Make Connections Identify your ideal customer and be where they are — connect with them, build a relationship and offer advice, don’t worry, they will come to you because you will be top of mind.
  3. Sell In More Than One Place Be everywhere your ideal customer is. Choose 3-5 distribution avenues and be consistently there.

 

  1. Free Google Business pages. Google rewards those businesses who use all the features – encourage customers to write reviews for your restaurant. Upload pictures of your food and folks having fun.
  2. Twitter and blogging: Create a hashtag for your restaurant, if you’re not too creative, just make it your restaurant name, encourage folks to Tweet their experiences using the hashtag – watch the stream and pick the most engaged customers to receive a free meal or gift certificate.
  3. Newsletters: Give customers an insiders peek into the restaurant. Share recipes
  4. Memberships: Offer 3 membership levels for a monthly fee (this way you get paid TWICE; once for the membership and again when they come in with their friends) Provide different levels of free stuff, coupons, and special member events.
  5. Today’s Specials I don’t know about you, but if I was following twitter posts and I saw that my favorite restaurant was tweeting their daily specials, my mouth would be watering and I’d be calling up everyone I could think of to find someone to join me for a meal!
  6. Cost-effective Branded Take Out Boxes Who doesn’t want to get a super-twofer on meals, don’t just default to the generic styrofoam, slap your brand on some cool paper bags instead.

photo credit: RiOTPHOTOGRAPHY.com via photopin cc