Starting a new business is an incredibly exciting experience for first-time entrepreneurs, but when the reality of overhead settles in the need to market your business without a large marketing budget can be terrifying. It’s said that you have to have money to make money; however, you don’t need to invest a lot of money to effectively market your small business. If you want to land more customers without breaking the bank, try the following 10 frugal marketing tips for budget-strapped small businesses.
1# Get the best prices
No matter what marketing tools you use or advertisements you take out, always get the best prices. Be willing to wait for business cards, postcards and catalog printing to go on sale. Negotiate with media ad salespeople: they’re rates are not static, and they will come down on price.
2# Use creative substitutions
Creative substitutions can help you minimize your investment and maximize your return. A retailer, for example, might not have the budget to print a direct-mail catalog – but he could send a postcard with a link to his website to view the entire catalog.
3# Track all response
Work with tracking mechanisms into all your marketing so you can measure response. Learn what works and what doesn’t so you can market more efficiently.
4# Print lots of business cards
Business cards are cheap and can be handed to everyone you meet and placed everywhere you go. Print lots of them.
5# Print door hangers instead of postcards
Postcards are powerful marketing materials, but the cost of postage can be prohibitive to some small businesses. Print door hangers instead, and recruit volunteers to help you distribute them. Reward them with a small party. You get the same effect as postcards without the postage overhead.
6# Go grassroots
Take to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to promote your brand, products and services. Be part of the conversation, and you’ll win the type of loyal followers who will help you grow your business.
7# Get PR
It’s not difficult to get good PR. Research journalists, staff writers, and editors of publications, blogs, and radio and TV stations that are relevant to your customers. Pitch a story that they’ll want to run. You’ll get interviewed, and you’ll get noticed.
8# Join a networking group
Business networking groups can lead to tons of referrals for customers you never would have earned. Sometimes it’s who you know that counts.
9# Trade ad space
Swap ad space on your website with a non-competing business that shares your target customer base. Find local partners to place flyers on their counters – and place theirs on yours. Always look for creative ways to take advantage of in-kind trades.
10# Reach the masses with vinyl banners
Vinyl banners are cheap to print. Get two or three banners and place them near busy intersections. In a few days, thousands of potential customers will see your brand and your message.
What are your favorite frugal marketing tips? Share them in the comments below!
Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint.