While effective marketing is necessary for any small business, blowing a lot of money by doing this is not! Many startups have seen first-hand how quick and easy it is to spend huge amounts of money on marketing campaigns, despite there being other effective marketing techniques that require no outlay apart from time and effort. When you first start your business your cash flow isn’t always the best, which is why it is particularly important for small businesses to know how to grow their business in a cost effective manner.
Here are a few tips on techniques you could use:
1. Social Networks
In the past five years there has been a boom in the amount of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) using social network sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The majority of social network sites are free and another benefit is that they are a great way to find companies/people you may not have found otherwise. These platforms not only connect you with a wider audience but allow you to engage with current and potential customers, keep customers up to date, keep a close eye on your competitors and of course drive traffic to your website.
Events are an excellent way to meet new people and spread the word about your business. Going to the right events is essential though. You need to make sure you find events that are relevant to your business or where you would expect your potential clients to be. There are often many free networking events, be sure to regularly check out websites such as eventbrite.com, meetup.com and the SME events calendar on startupbritain.org. Also, if you want some useful tips on business networking check out our previous blog on thestartupmagazine.co.uk website.
Holding your own event doesn’t have to be expensive either and can be very effective for meeting new people and for boosting your business’ PR. When we held an event, instead of boring our guests with a long talk on invoice finance we kept the topic broad and interesting so we could stand out from other financial events. It is a great idea to encourage other speakers to participate and overall attract a good crowd.
3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO can seem like a challenging technique, and don’t get us wrong it can be. Outsourcing your SEO can take a big chunk out of your budget, which is why spending some time learning how to maximise traffic from Google is time well spent. Essentially, there are two parts to SEO; your websites content, and the quality/quantity of your inbound links. Composing original content for your site that links to other parts of your site is also an important trick to learn. Think Wikipedia. Even if your keywords don’t make for the most interesting context, try and work with what you have and be creative.
Spending lots on advertising is not always the best option as today’s readers are more interested in editorial content, which can be good for you as journalists are always looking for interesting stories to cover. If something exciting happens to your business or if something happens in the news that is related to your company you should take advantage of that opportunity and get in touch with journalists. Sending press releases out is an effective way to get your name out there too. You can also submit press releases to websites such as PRWeb.com which cater for small business and are low-cost.
In the fast-paced world of news, stories can crop up quickly, so in order for your press releases or comment to be used by a journalist you need to act fast. Create a mailing list of all your journalists so you can act fast. Another good tip is to use the connections you already have, see if your contacts know any journalists, it never hurts to ask.
5. White Papers
And finally writing a white paper with useful information can be a very effective marketing tool. White papers demonstrate knowledge of your industry and an open attitude to sharing knowledge. In some cases if the white paper is well written it may be distributed through emails and it may encourage incoming web links. At MarketInvoice we created four detailed white papers to help our clients and prospects learn more about working capital solutions.
- Can any startup be a Lean Start Up? (thestartupmagazine.co.uk)
- Q&A Session with Peter Ward Founder of Where Are You Now, WAYN.com (thestartupmagazine.co.uk)
- Opportunities to showcase your business ideas around the world! (thestartupmagazine.co.uk)