5 Cheap Marketing Ideas for When Your Company is Broke
By Austin Graf on February 25, 2020
The start-up life can be hard. Even if you have been in business for a while, hard times strike. Companies that need to keep tight purse strings are not a new phenomenon.
Massive companies go broke with one downturn in the economy. Just look at companies like GM and Chrysler. The government bailed them out for billions during the 2008 economic crisis. Billions. Sometimes cash flow is an issue. Don’t be ashamed. As a small business ourselves, we understand that sometimes stretching a dollar can be just as important as earning the next.
- 1. Blogs Help Future Customers Find the Answers For Which They’ve Been Looking
- 2. Network With People in Your Community
- 3. Social Media Engages With Your Customers
- 4. Email Marketing Helps You Reach New Customers and Retain Current Customers
- 5. Develop Partnerships with Other Small Businesses
Now, full disclaimer: typically we do NOT suggest skimping on marketing. We just don’t. That’s not because we want your business (we do, but that is NOT why we usually say this). We don’t advise skimping on your marketing budget because we want your business to be successful.
Marketing is an investment in your product or service that should be translating into greater sales and revenue volume. Marketing is an investment in company success. You get what you pay for. Skimping on that website might make you or your product look unprofessional. Waiting on “word of mouth” referrals can take so long that your company depletes all of its capital. Marketing is not something to cheap out on if you’re serious about business growth.
BUT in the case that you just really cannot spare much else, below you will find 5 marketing ideas that if executed well will gain you traction in a saturated marketplace with very little financial overhead.
1. Blogs Help Future Customers Find the Answers For Which They’ve Been Looking
I honestly cannot say enough about the marketing benefits of blogging. Want to make a solid impression on the world? Hunker down and start a blog. Blogs are fairly simple to incorporate into any website. Don’t have a website? No advice out of this one…get a website. People need to find you. Even if you are using a template service and dragging and dropping your own, most templates come readily equipped with a blog.
Blog content is only as cheap as you want it to be. If you’re a small business, you don’t have to pay anyone! Just take some of your personal time and invest it in your business. If you’re a small business with limited resources, just remember to leverage the capital you do have. In the case of creating blogs, leverage what spare time you have. We wrote a blog post on how to write posts as quickly as possible. Sit down and write several at a time. You can post as frequently as you have time to manage.
Longer blogs filled with quality content can increase your site’s SEO which will increase your website rankings. If you are producing quality content, blogs can be utilized to create an audience that will buy your products over and over again.
Blogging is a form of content marketing (one of our personal favorites). If you want to learn more about content marketing, you can download our free white-paper HERE or for just a few dollars access our in-depth ebook HERE.
Also, don’t forget to capitalize on other blogs. Write guest posts for other companies in similar fields. This establishes you as an authority in your industry and drives traffic back to your site. Win-win!
Finally, comment on blog posts. Comment on yours and others to generate interest in your product and brand. Every time you put your name into the world is another chance someone may remember you when in need of a good or service.
2. Network With People in Your Community
This one is so easy, and no offense to blog posts, but sooooo much more fun. If you are truly shoe-string budgeting, go out into the world and network. The only thing required for this idea is a few elbow rubs and a healthy dose of talking about yourself (or your company rather).
Networking events are often free. I’m not suggesting you go to fancy galas or high ticket priced events (since you’re trying to save money). I am suggesting you grab coffee with the local chamber of commerce on that obscure Mid-Monday meeting that nobody could possibly ever make, but that people somehow find time to go to.
Word of mouth is one of the best tools for the broke marketer.
Talk and talk and talk (in a tasteful manner) about your company and what you do. Introduce yourself to everyone. People know other people and therefore talk to other people. If you own a coffee shop and there are four others in town, all of which are equally delicious and conveniently located, where will the clients go? They will go wherever they have a personal connection. If they know you (the owner), they will have more of a reason to choose your shop!
Sidebar, have you ever heard of MeetUp by chance? There are tons of networking and event groups that are just the ticket to get your name out there. Even if you don’t meet people looking for your specific product or service, perhaps the people you meet there know the right people!
3. Social Media Engages With Your Customers
This is the one with which most of you guys are familiar. Social media is an incredibly strong and cheap form of driving engagement. Social media can be as easy or difficult as you would like. According to Facebook Blueprint, one out of every five minutes spent on the internet is spent on Facebook or Instagram. So, obviously you might start with those two networks.
Social media is so great for companies looking to save money because these are free platforms in which you can share and engage your current and future clientele. You can post pictures, share those blog posts you’ve been writing, use gifs and memes, and you can even host live events on Facebook. Slowly build up your audience and then when the time seems right, remind them of the goods and services that your company provides, and that they should be indulging in.
You can even create exclusive Facebook groups for your most “exclusive” patrons. Social media is great in that way. You can truly build a sense of community around your services and products which prompts reviews, discussion, and genuine camaraderie among people procuring your goods and services.
Not all social networks are equal. Linkedin is ideal for B2B marketing, while Facebook is more of a B2C option. Learn how to increase engagement and start marketing your business on Linkedin in this post.
4. Email Marketing Helps You Reach New Customers and Retain Current Customers
If you are a small business, you may not take email marketing seriously yet. That’s okay. I forgive you, but I encourage you to reconsider.
Sure. Nobody likes their email filled with spam and cluttered with useless bits of this and that. so don’t send out junk!
Build your list. Collect emails. Create a free download. Ask for an email at checkout. Whatever you do, get their email. According to an article on Oberlo, 81% of small businesses rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel, and 80% for retention. (Emarsys, 2018)
Email is an incredibly easy way to re-insert yourself into the minds-eye of your audience.
Even if they are just going to delete most of your emails, odds are if you send them that 10% off code for a product they sorta wanted anyways they are going to consider it more seriously. Email is a great way to reengage and reiterate your presence. Remember, every single time you get your name in front of someone is another chance for them to call upon you when in need of a good or service.
Sending marketing emails does not have to be complicated. Companies like MailChimp offer free email campaign management software up to 2000 email addresses. If you spend a bit of time carefully crafting and curating your emails, you can set up and automate the rest of the process. Easy. Cheap. Wonderful.
5. Develop Partnerships with Other Small Businesses
This may be a bit far-fetched. This always seems so difficult to do, but it’s not and it has tons of benefits. This falls somewhat in the realm of networking in that it is people coming together in an effort to build each other (and their companies) up.
Partnerships don’t have to be difficult or extreme. They can be simple. They can just be a mutual promise. A restaurant promises to recommend its patrons stop in at the local gift shop for some neat treats and goodies. That same gift shop recommends that restaurant to shoppers that have worked up an appetite.
Partnerships can take on an affiliate role in which people who send business your way take a small commission, or if you send business their way, you take a commission. Partnerships can be as complex or as simple as you would like, but the key is to find a mutual ground that benefits both parties. Always carefully consider partnerships, of course, and be certain of the benefits for your company based on the specific agreement before you commit.Back to the blog