How to Market a Small Business on a BudgetJun 20, 2023
I am so excited about this topic. We are chatting with Kristy Carruthers about how to market a small business on a budget. Big marketing and making a big difference on a small budget are so important when you are getting started with your business.
Kristy refers to herself as a serial entrepreneur. She has started numerous businesses, starting with nothing and eventually getting to seven figures. What she learned from her current business and the ones before it was really piecing together information from anywhere she could find it and from experience. In addition to building your confidence, her budget marketing tips also help you grow your business using solid marketing strategies. She teaches how to use all of your real estate to market. In other words, think of ALL THE WAYS you can promote your business and take advantage of them all! Additionally, she recommends collecting emails, nominating your business for awards that will garner you publicity, and getting some press for your biz to establish credibility! Let's get to it!
Starting a Business
So you're getting started and you're thinking, "Okay, I need to get myself in front of all these people." But when you look at what Facebook ads cost or hiring somebody to help you do it or all the things, it starts to get overwhelming and is really expensive. So if you are gonna put together a marketing plan on a small budget, what does that look like for you?
The beauty of these budget marketing tips is that they're not hacks. These are things, no matter what your budget is, you should be doing these because they are solid marketing strategies and because they don't cost a lot, it's not something that you can only do when you have a big budget or a seasonal thing. They can run all year long because they're not really costing you anything. It's worth noting that the seven-figure business that I have was built entirely on non-paid marketing. We didn't do Facebook ads, we didn't run newspaper ads, radio ads, or any of those things because it was a promotional products business. We decided to use those actually branded goods to do all of the kinds of grassroots-level marketing on it. Here are 5 tips to market your business on a budget!
#1 Use All of Your Real Estate
This will mean something different to everyone depending on what type of business you're in, but use all your real estate. Make sure you're using all your opportunities to market and cross-sell. So if you're a brick and mortar and you have a physical location, do you have window displays? Do you have window clings in your windows? Do you have things on the countertop at the point of purchase that are cross-selling and upselling? Do you have vehicle decks on your car? So many people don't really look and go, "Okay, here's all the real estate I have, these are all the eyes that are on my business. Am I giving them the message I wanna give them? Am I promoting the thing I want to promote with that real estate?"
If you're an online business and working mostly from your website, do you have a popup on your homepage? Do you have a banner? What is promoted on your homepage? Look at your analytics and see how are most people entering your site. And it may not be your homepage, it could be your about us, it could be a blog page. What do you have linked on that site? What are you promoting? Are you cross-promoting your blog to your site? Make sure that you're using all of your real estate and everywhere you're getting eyes on your business, you're giving them the information that you really wanna give them to sell the thing you need to sell.
Email is real estate
The one you hear about all the time and for good reason because I don't think it can be overstated, is to collect emails. People have large social followings, which is amazing, but a million followers on Instagram is not going to do any good if Instagram starts closing people's accounts. So if you haven't already, you need to start moving your followers or your community into a channel of communication that you control. Not only do you need to collect those emails, but you have to actually use them, which is where a lot of people fall down.
The return on a dollar that it costs you for email advertising is absolutely astronomical compared to almost any other marketing that you can do.
#2 Dig Into Your Local Community
Apply for awards. This is a two-for-one as far as the marketing goes. You get the publicity and you also get the credibility. Don't wait for somebody to nominate your company, do it yourself! Find out what awards you're eligible for. To do this, you can go to your local women in business, your Chamber of Commerce, and all sorts of awards. And just by being part of that process, you're going to get publicity. Even if you don't win, if you place, you're going to get more publicity. And then if you win, well fabulous. You get the credibility that goes with that and you also get the publicity that goes with it. So it's a great free way to really build your network, build your exposure, and your credibility.
#3 Get in the press.
If you are unfamiliar with public relations, PR is unpaid exposure in the media. Sometimes our imposter syndrome kicks in and we think, well, I'm not a big shot. I haven't been around long enough, my company's new. Journalists don't care how long you've been around or how big you are. They need to produce stories every single day with fresh voices and fresh perspectives. So if you can send them a pitch that gives them something new to talk about or a new angle on something that's relevant and topical, they'll use it. You can also use PR as a press release. If you win an award, have a new product, or grand opening, you can send that out to your local media.
A service a lot of people don't know about is called HARO. It's a free service that will actually send you automated emails in whatever category you want to be sent. And it's going to give you the names of reporters and all their contact information where they're looking for sources to quote on different stories. It's free, it gives you credibility and helps you establish authority. This is a great place to start if you are new.
#4 Think about the whole customer journey
If you want to find a really effective strategy and all of the opportunities that you're missing in your business to either upsell, cross-sell, grow your customer base, or retain more customers, is to actually map out your customer journey. Sit down, take a few hours, and go from before they become a customer to when they finally leave you and beyond.
Then sit down and go through every single point on that customer journey and say, "okay, if this point right here where they saw this ad or where they walked into my store, etc. how could I have upsold them there?" Or could I have encouraged them to refer somebody to me? Or could I just improve their experience somehow so they stay a customer longer? That is going to give you a completely personal look at your own business that is unique to your business and that nobody else can do for you and really find all of those opportunities that you've been missing.
80% of your income comes from 20% of your clients because of that experience and that relationship and all the things that you're talking about from a marketing perspective of you want them to be clients for life.
Customer Service Tips
We take really good care of our customers on every level and really take care of their experience. We make sure to answer them promptly and do all of the things that you would expect, which is really hard to get these days. Even mediocre customer service really shines lately, y
Sending small gifts for birthdays or anniversaries of working together goes a long way. We just do wherever we can to make the experience better for them. I hope you enjoyed these tips for how to market your business on a budget! Let me know which is your favorite.
- Listen to the whole podcast episode with Kristy.
- Grab her free Bootstrappers Guide to BIG Marketing on a Small Budget.
- Read my post on 10 marketing tips for when the economy is rough.
Looking for more on this topic and your High-Level Action items? Check out the Strategy Lab in the Crush the Rush Club!