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  • Writer's pictureSBDC @ JCC

Marketing on a Budget

by Jennifer Wedzik, SBDC Business Advisor

Is that even possible? Don't get discouraged if you don't have money for a huge advertising budget! You just need to invest some time, effort (maybe in the form of education), and creativity into your advertising. Here are some simple tactics for you to consider trying and exploring:

1. Get found in search engines - especially local searches!

According to Google, 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information AND according to Joel House Media report, local searches result in purchases 28% of the time. Getting your local business registered with Google My Business is one of the first things I talk to clients about when we are talking about marketing. Check out our great training on the subject on our JCC SBDC Small Business Academy page. Once you have your business listed it's time to focus on your website's keywords. You don't have to pay to be found in google. Organic search results and time spent working on those is well worth it and will pay major dividends for your business.

2) Social Media

You knew this was going to be on our list, right? According to Campaign Monitor, 7 out 10 small businesses use Facebook, half use Twitter and Instagram, and 64% use email marketing. Social Media is being used by your customers and other local businesses - both to find where they want to shop and as an enjoyable distraction. It is a great way to interact with your current and future customers. Some things to add to your repertoire in this area: Hash Tags, Share Buttons and promotions, and visual or video content. Tag loyal customers, influencers, or local companies and use popular or relevant tags. Reward social media sharing. Make your posts eye-catching, professional and fun as you never know when your own post will go VIRAL (check out our webinar on this)!

3) Network

Join an online niche community or get active with a general network like Pinterest or LinkedIn. This will allow you to connect with people and their interests around your product or service. There is nothing wrong with old school networking - attending local chamber meetings, organizational meetings, and/or charity events! Leverage your connections from these meetings and maybe do some cross promoting with some of these connections as well.

4) Offer up your expertise.

Did you know the Google prioritizes high-quality content that answers questions people are asking Google? Good, informative content is a way you can make your website more visible and drive traffic there. Content marketing strategy could include options like: creating a blog or newsletter, holding a class or event, answering common questions, or giving a talk at local organizational meeting.

5) Ask for referrals and reviews.

Did you know, per Google, that 72% of customers use reviews when choosing a product or business? Ask your customers when they leave to complete an online review for you - whether that be on Google, Yelp!, Trip Advisor, or on social media. Again, old school marketing ideas like simply asking your customer for a referral or a review (maybe even run a contest with your employees to see who can be personally mentioned the most in reviews)... or reward/loyalty programs are always something to consider when marketing on a budget. Word on Mouth will never goes out of style.

6) Get listed in online and industry business directories

Yelp!, Yahoo!, Bing, and Trip Advisor are all good online directories - most of these are free - just take a couple of minutes and fill out information on their site.

7) Call the SBDC to work with an advisor to get free marketing advice.

The SBDC services are free and confidential, call today to make an appointment with an advisor, 716-338-1024.

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