Cost effective ideas to get you started with marketing your business

Marketing budgets saw a drop at the beginning of lockdown, but more people are seeing it as an investment, rather than a cost.  

It’s true that some businesses see marketing budgets as disposable, or the least important. However, promoting your business is vital to building up a pipeline of prospects, especially for SMEs. Whilst marketing shouldn’t be seen as a cost to the business, but more of an investment, some business owners are still reluctant to take the leap, or simply don’t have the budget. We’ve pulled together some affordable ways to get started with promoting your brand.

Creating a marketing plan

Before you begin marketing your business for the world to see, it’s a good idea to outline a plan. Then, rather than jumping in blindly to social media posting and content writing, you’ll have a more streamlined idea of what you want to achieve, and how to get there.

  1. Analyse your current situation: Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a well-rounded understanding of your product’s market
  2. Define your target audience: Create a customer avatar of your ideal client, including demographics like age, gender and income. Think about what drives your audience and the problems they have that your product or service can remedy
  3. Set SMART goals: Create specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals that will help with your marketing. For example, gaining 50 Twitter followers in one month
  4. Assign actions to your goals: Now that you have the ideas in place, look at how you’ll achieve them. For example, to gain 50 Twitter followers in a month, create the action of posting every day, doing a Twitter poll, and consciously following other accounts to remain active
  5. Think about budget: This won’t apply if you’re not looking to spend anything to start off with, but if something paid – like a social media ad campaign – might be on the cards for the future, consider what your ideal spend might be.

Work smarter, not harder to build your customer base

If you’re looking to grow, don’t forget about the connections that got you to where you are now. Make an effort to nurture your existing customer base – after all, retained customers are much more valuable than constantly trying to get new ones. Consciously make connections, whether that may be through social media or free networking. What goes around comes around and, if you think you might be able to bring a connection something of value, this can stand you in good stead for opportunities from them in the future.

Make the most of free marketing resources

Although lots of digital platforms require some kind of investment to get a tangible return, like social media tools that offer premium plans, you can see valuable outcomes from free digital tools:

  • Google Analytics: Useful for measuring your website visitors, page views, session duration and more. Seeing how your web visitors are behaving allows you to test and tweak new website designs to see what works and what doesn’t
  • Social media: There are countless free platforms that allow you to reach out and build discussions with your customers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn… the list goes on! Think about who you want to reach and what platforms they will be on, then promote your content on those relevant channels
  • Canva: Create shareable, engaging visuals to accompany social media posts or to go on your website.

Whilst a marketing budget is a wise way to ensure you’re attracting new customers and should be seen as an investment, some business owners and start-ups simply don’t have the capacity. These affordable ways to get started with promoting your brand will help you build a strong foundation, ready for when the time comes to expand on your digital marketing capabilities.

Cost effective ideas to get you started with marketing your business
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Digital Strategy Analyst