Press

Creative Marketing Ideas When You Have a $0 Budget

As a small or medium-sized business, it’s often difficult to plan and justify adding expensive marketing tactics into your budget every month. We looked into some creative marketing ideas and created a list of simple ways you can increase customers and sales without breaking the bank. Enjoy!

1. Get Social.

There are a lot of social networks to keep track of- SnapchatTwitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp, YouTube, etc. At the very least, your business should have a profile on the appropriate networks that gives basic contact information and a description. If you really want to get the most out of these social networks you will need to be, well, social. Your business should interact with the people that like the page, mention you in posts or tag you in pictures.  Social networks are a no-cost way to give your audience updates on your business, invite them to give feedback on your products or services and encourage them to share their experiences at your business with their friends.

2. Partnerships.

Find a business similar to yours and team up. If your product or service naturally goes with another business then it is a great idea to offer a package deal or to recommend each other to customers. A partnership doubles the amount of exposure your business gets.

3. Local Awards & Lists.

Every city, big or small, has its own list of top cafes, salons, boutiques, mechanics, etc. Get on these lists by contacting the organizations or individuals creating the lists. There may be some cost to be included, but these lists stay published and will help get you exposure for far longer than the voting stage exists.

4. Host Events & Classes.

Plan an event at your location for your customers to meet and mingle. This encourages your existing customers to introduce their friends to your business. You can create a special offer, give away a gift, or present a complimentary class that is valuable to your clients. Events and classes give your business exposure, introduces you to new clients, and solidifies you as an expert in the community.

Plan an event at your location for your customers to meet and mingle. This encourages your existing customers to introduce their friends to your business. You can create a special offer, give away a gift, or present a complimentary class that is valuable to your clients. Events and classes give your business exposure, introduces you to new clients, and solidifies you as an expert in the community.

Plan an event at your location for your customers to meet and mingle. This encourages your existing customers to introduce their friends to your business. You can create a special offer, give away a gift, or present a complimentary class that is valuable to your clients. Events and classes give your business exposure, introduces you to new clients, and solidifies you as an expert in the community.

5. Referrals.

Asking your customers to recommend your business is a great way to get new customers. Some businesses use referral cards or codes to track referrals and reward the customers that bring new clients. When incentives are aligned, having a referral network is the quickest most cost effective way to grow your customer base.

6. Email Marketing.

After your customers leave your business, email is a great way to stay in contact. You should collect customer email addresses as they checkout, whether online or in-store. You can send them special offers, business updates, event invitations, or create a newsletter with all of the above. Most email platforms like MailChimp or CakeMail have plans that let you send to a limited number of contacts for free.

With little to no budget, you can use these marketing strategies to increase brand awareness and drive sales. It doesn’t cost anything but your time and attention to create a great customer experience and encourage a community that will recognize and recommend your business.

The Truth about Putting a Press Release on the Wire

Whenever a company has a big announcement to make the first thing they think of doing is writing a press release and then choosing a wire service to distribute this 300-500 word, over-edited document.  Now don’t get me wrong, distributing your news all over the world at the click of a button for a not-too-expensive-but-just-within-budget fee seems like a brilliant idea.  Mass distribution is necessary. You just need to be aware that this is not the only, and probably should not be the first thought you have, when you are thinking of sharing some exciting news.

Don’t count on SEO. Wire distribution services used to be a great way to get some SEO points, but Google has changed how they index press releases.  The value a website gets from link-backs from a press release is extremely low.

Most pick-up will be from robots. There is an ever-growing number of feeds, blogs, aggregator sites that automatically pick-up and post all press releases.  Some of these sites do filter releases by topic, so there is a chance your news will end up next to other industry-relevant news.  However, chances are you will show up in a big list of releases…and it will probably be just the text…and it will probably never be clicked on.

Reach out to your fanboys/girls. If you really want to share your news with people that care and will appreciate the milestone/release/deal/new hire then you need to do some research.  Find reporters and bloggers that have written about the similar news. Give them a pitch, offer exclusive information, let them know that you are available for extra commentary or an interview of sorts.  Chances are they will at least listen to you.  Worst case scenario, if they shoot you down and your news isn’t that big of a deal to them, then they at least know who you are and you can circle back when you have even bigger news.

Putting a press release on the wire is a way of tooting your own horn.  It basically makes an event official and gets you a slight boost in search result queries.  If you really want to generate buzz you have to get other people excited about your product/service/business. Getting outsiders talking and sharing your news is the best way to grow your exposure and reach real people.