For small businesses - especially those in the beginning stages of growth - cash flow and access to capital are big issues.
Choosing what to spend money on and how much budget to allocate for different key areas of business are critical decisions. This is certainly true as more channels pop up to market on. And unfortunately, when it's all said and done, marketing often gets left by the wayside by smaller businesses too overwhelmed to take a step forward.
5 Marketing Tips for Small Budgets
Cash flow is an issue for almost every business at one point or another. And while the ultimate goal is to identify the culprits of your financial restrictions and overcome them, it's not always an easy fix. In the meantime, you must learn to operate with what you're given.
Over the years, we've become conditioned to think marketing requires large amounts of capital. However, this is a misconception. While money does make marketing easier, there are plenty of ways to thrive independent of a massive budget.
Let's take a look at what you can do.
1. Invest in Content Marketing
The best thing you can do is start publishing quality content. Content makes the internet go round and your brand needs to attach itself to quality content that resonates with your target audience. While content may not be free to produce, it's extremely cost effective and can be used over and over again to continually extract value and garner attention on the search engine result pages.
2. Become an Expert Networker
You and your employees are the best marketing tools your business has. You should be networking with people any chance you get. From formal conferences and tradeshows to casual lunches and impromptu meetings, never miss out on a chance to grow your brand's footprint via networking. It's the closest thing there is to free marketing.
3. Take Out a Line of Credit
It would be inaccurate to say you don't need a marketing budget at all. While there are some free strategies - including those highlighted in this article - there are still plenty of accrued expenses that go along with hiring employees, creating content, and leveraging tools and subscriptions.
If you need help satisfying these expenses, a business line of credit may be right for you. With a line of credit, you can get access to capital and only pay for what you use. Even if there isn't an immediate need, you can obtain a line of credit and keep it until the opportunity arises.
4. Utilize Social Media
Social media is a godsend for small businesses that can't afford to pay thousands of dollars just to reach people. With networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, any business can strategically position itself in front of a very specific and relevant group of potential customers. Don't miss out on this opportunity.
Start by using social media as a tool for listening and monitoring. What are your customers saying? How do they interact with brands? What are their pain points? The more you can learn about your target customers, the more effective your social media strategy will be.
5. Develop a Referral Program
When you don't have the resources to handle your marketing needs internally, outsource! But don't outsource in the traditional sense. We're talking about outsourcing your marketing to your customers. Create a customer loyalty or referral program and encourage your customers to do the marketing and talking for you. With the right approach, this strategy can yield some impressive results at a very small cost.
Thrive When Cash is Low
As you can see, it's possible to invest in highly effective marketing even with very little access to capital. Keep these tips in mind and don't attempt to merely survive. Instead, adopt the mentality that you can and will thrive.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he's also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Larry Alton is a multi-talented professional with a diverse background in writing, sales, marketing, and account management. He has a wealth of knowledge in digital marketing and a passion for e-commerce, SEO, social media, conversion rate optimization, and creative digital design. In addition to his expertise in digital marketing, Larry also actively invests in real estate and is passionate about this field. His writing has been featured in prominent publications such as Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, and TechCrunch, as well as Business.com and TheNextWeb.com. With a proven track record in both the digital marketing and writing industries, Larry is a valuable asset to any organization.