A tough task for any small business owner is trying to promote your business with big impact -- but on a small budget.
Sometimes the main cause of failure for any business is a lack of marketing. But most businesses who fail to promote their business do so because of typical financial restraints on running a business.
It's obviously not because the business owner doesn't want to.
But the simple fact is that if you're not promoting your business, nobody will know about you.
And if nobody knows about you ...
So what can you do?
Concentrate on these low-cost marketing ideas ...
1. Get a website - Just pennies a day.
The number of businesses putting up a website increases every day. And it's very clear that the number is not going to go down. And the longer you wait, the farther behind your competition you're going to be.
Putting up a small business website isn't as difficult as you might think. Online CMS platforms like WordPress or Jekyll are easy to use that even teenagers can create professional websites. There is no real excuse not to have something up on the internet.
2. Break out of isolation $0
You don't have to go on the global speech-circuit, but you certainly need to get out of your office and start meeting some people. You don't have to hunt down customers, but the more people you meet, the better your chances of making a connection that leads to more business.
Join small business organizations (like the local chamber of commerce) where other business owners meet, or join associations related to your business.
3. Get a partner! -$0
When you get out and meet people, you'll begin to form social partnerships and very often these partnerships become business-partnerships where you can promote each other's product or service.
This has nothing to do with sharing business ownership, but more to do with "you scratch my back I'll scratch yours."
For instance, a Professional Organizer has ten solid clients. A handyman has ten solid clients. By sharing these clients with each other, the "partnership" increases a customer base for each business into twenty clients.
4. Write a newsletter
An informative newsletter doesn't have to be much fancier than a two-sided photocopy of a some articles you've written that are of interest to your prospects and customers.
And you don't have to be a writer to be able to put your "expertise" on paper.
Giving away this free information will give you instant credibility and offer a taste of your knowledge to would-be customers. When the time comes that they need your service, they'll know where to turn.
By the way, don't think you have to mail out these newsletters (although it's a good idea to mail it to present customers.)
For example, suppose you own a doggie daycare center. Drop off a stack of your newsletters in a vet's office (see #4, above). And to assure that you'll be allowed to leave your newsletters in the office, offer to place a small ad for the vet in your newsletter for free!
5. Give something away that's F-R-E-E!
Call it bribery, but giving someone a gift is simply smart business.
Free gifts and promotional product advertising has a high perceived value and are very cost effective.
You'll not only build relationships, you'll build your brand by getting your message in front of your customers over an extended period of time. (I've got a coffee cup in front of me that my bank gave me over three years ago!) But it's got to be an item that's related to your business and, again, has a high perceived value to your customer.