Promotion is an integral part of your marketing strategy. Without it, you will not be able to generate enough interest in your business or find the right audience.
But if you are just starting out, you may be completely bootstrapped and not have enough money to put into your business.
So here are seven ways you promote your business with little to no money –
#1. Start selling merchandise
Merchandise is an underrated way of promoting your business. You can hand out some free samples along with your regular products and services but if you have been able to build a community around your business, selling merchandise means an additional source of income.
Designing and selling merchandise can take up a lot of time and money if done the traditional way. Instead, try the print on demand model. This model allows you to mockup designs and only pay when a customer places an order.
You can profit from custom merchandise if you do it right. The guide of etsy print on demand explained on the Printify’s website gives a rundown on how to sell custom merch on the platform. Make sure the designs align with your brand, and your audience will be happy to purchase the products.
#2. Switch to dropshipping
If you have zero money to put in promotion, think about switching to a dropshipping model. This model allows you to have zero overhead and take care of the fulfillment so that you can focus on other important things.
23% of all online sales globally were fulfilled through the dropshipping model in 2017 according to Printify. This suggests that dropshipping is a growing market.
With the right partners, you can reduce your business expenses and invest it in the promotion strategy and start running ads.
#3. Create a Google My Business profile
If you have a local business, Google My Business (GMB) is your friend. Consumers often search for businesses around them or add ‘Near Me’ to their searches to find local stores. With an optimized Google My Business profile, you can be instantly discoverable to the right audience. GMB also allows you to add information about store timings, add a website, and important announcements.
You also want to make sure your information is updated so that potential customers can call and make inquiries. You can also reach local customers and promote your business using yard signs.
#4. Start a website
A website does cost money, but it also makes it possible for more customers to find you. Instead of taking the expensive route, if you have an eCommerce store, you can look to Shopify to help you create an online store.
There are also several website builders that help you create a website through their drag and drop interface.
Finally, when it comes to domain and hosting, you can find some inexpensive options. You can also purchase a blockchain domain that never expires or needs to be renewed.
The website opens up avenues for SEO and content marketing which we will discuss next.
#5. Invest in SEO and content marketing
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a way for you to become discoverable on the internet. For instance, if you sell home decor items, you want to show up for home decor. Now, ‘home decor’ may be too broad a keyword, so you have to do some keyword research to find keywords that have a reasonable search volume but aren’t very difficult to rank for.
The best strategy is to start ranking for long-tail keywords like ‘home decor items for a moody bedroom.’ This ensures you can rank easily, and people landing on your website will have a greater purchase intent.
Depending on the type of business you own, content marketing may also be key to your success. Content helps people identify whether you are the right partner for them. It is typically divided into three stages – awareness, consideration, and decision making.
You can write content for each of these stages to help move the customer along to the next phase of the funnel.
If you’re not open to hiring the right resource to run your SEO and content marketing right away, there are several free tools that are available that you can use in the interim.
With the right distribution strategy and tools, you can promote your content and get more traffic back to your site.
#6. Run ads on social media
Depending on the type of your audience, you should consider running ads on social media. This is a good way of getting in front of your audience. This is why even during a pandemic, digital ad spending did not cease.
For all things aesthetic, Instagram is the best place to run ads and sponsored stories and posts.
If you have a B2B or business-to-business model, consider running ads on LinkedIn.
Above all, do not ignore Facebook. Although it seems outdated, Facebook still has a reach in the billions. According to Statista, 2.7 billion users log into Facebook monthly.
#7. Acquire customer reviews and testimonials
According to Qualitrics, reviews read online influence at least 93% of buying decisions. This suggests having good customer reviews and testimonials is important to ensure you get more customers and that happy customers promote your product or service through word of mouth.
First, you must endeavor to provide a stellar customer experience. Once you do that, incentivize customers that fill out your reviews. Take the best reviews and add them to your website, social media, PDFs, and blog posts.
If you are in a competitive space, you can also build out a profile on an online review site and direct your users to leave reviews on that website.
All in all
You can find several other ways to promote your business by being active on social media and implementing micro-moment marketing if you are a B2C business. For B2B, it is important to invest in organic growth, which is less expensive but takes time to show results. In both cases, consistency is key.