7 November 2014
Marketing Your Business on a Low Budget

Marketing or advertising a business is necessary to gain an audience and attract clients.  However, especially when first starting, company owners have little to no finances to spend on their marketing needs.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to advertise and promote a business for free, and I’ve suggested some of them here, although this is by no means a complete list.

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1  Socialise

Social sites allow anyone to establish an account for free.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are probably the most popular choices to meet people and encourage followers.  Linked-In is another site to set up an actual descriptive page that also appears in search engines.  You can share photos or logos on Flickr or other similar sites and add a description and business links too.

2  Niche Listings and Topics

You can share articles about business or products and services through Hub Pages.  The site also enables users to submit photographs and videos.  Ezine Articles is another option for linking to sites and sharing pertinent information.  You could also set up a Gumtree listing.

3  Advertise Online

If starting a conventional ‘bricks-and-mortar business’, owners have the option of creating profiles on the Foursquare.com, mybuilder.com and ratedpeople.com websites.   There are others that can be found by searching Google using the term: ‘business directory UK free listing’.  These sites invite potential customers to visit and post their job requirements or find local tradesmen who will then either contact the client or bid for the work on offer.

4  Blogging

Hub Pages and Build Your Own Blog are great places to start no cost business blogs.  By blogging you can introduce potential clients to the business; share tips, introduce products or offer service recommendations; link to social sites and gradually spread the array of advertisement options; visit other blogs having a similar interest; and share comments, leaving a link to your site.  You can find other business blog websites and tips on business blogging by using the search term ‘business blogging’ in the Google search engine.

5  Sign Up

On-line business owners can register websites through major search engines, whether the business is ‘online’ or off.   Perform a search for ‘free ads’ or ‘business forums’ and market your business by listing the company through the forums listed.   Whilst this can be time consuming, consider the fact that these sources are free, evergreen and long-lasting.

6  Write About It

If you have an extensive knowledge base, or expertise in a particular subject or about a product, share the information by writing articles for specialist websites and magazines in your niche. This is a great way to connect with relevant audiences and drive targeted traffic.

7  Lasting Impressions

Whilst making a first impression counts when meeting new potential clients, making a lasting impression requires providing something memorable in the form of a business card.  Many offer a free service, where you can download designs to print yourself, or go to DCP  where you can create a complete card design and save the card to your PC.  Print the downloaded or saved designs.  At Vistaprint you can get special offers and business cards just for the price of the postage.

8  Advertise Offline

For ‘offline’ businesses, use computer programs or software to design flyers, posters or other small business marketing materials, or another option may include bartering for services through a local printer.  Hand out the materials at various locations, or post the ads throughout the community or in shop windows.  Another method is to carry out face to face surveys – these often result in gaining customers.  You could also attend networking meetings and events which, in many cases, are free to attend.  Check out Eventbrite for events listings.  Never forget that word of mouth is a very powerful (free) method of marketing.  Make sure to ask satisfied customers to recommend you to their connections and also for their leads.

9  Free Traffic

After creating and publishing a website, the next step entails getting noticed.  Attract traffic to the site by searching for “free traffic”, to discover sites that can help increase your hits such as Hits UK .  You could visit forums based around your niche where you can meet people, post links, offer an invite, or promote your website via social media.

10  E-mail

When potential clients visit your website, invite them to leave an email address in exchange for a special deal.  Send clients newsletters, updates, coupons, e-books or other rewards.

With thoughtful, and imaginative use of the free marketing and advertising methods available, you will be able to spread the word about your business at no cost to you.

John Sargant, Nwes, Low Carbon Business Advisor

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