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5 Cost-Effective Marketing Tools for Your Small Business

Marketing makes the world aware of your business’ products or services, which means no small business can thrive and come alive without some marketing spend. But if you’re a small business owner, chances are your budget is small, too. However, that doesn’t mean your marketing options are lousy or limited.

Technology has placed a swath of inexpensive and even free marketing tools in the hands of resource-strapped small businesses. Not to mention, there are a few tried-and-true techniques held over from the pre-internet age that still are effective in getting your message out.

The following are some suggestions on how you can promote your company without spending a ton.

5 Cost-Effective Marketing Tools

1. Social Media: Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Instagram, all provide free outlets where you can post about your products and services, allowing you to pick up followers that you can engage to drive sales – and even effectively turn into marketers for you as they share your social content.

And as your budget grows, so does the potential reach and efficacy of these social networks. You can test and place ads, target your campaigns to reach specific demographics and learn over time what works best for you … and what doesn’t. For instance, Facebook’s Audience Insights can help you understand your audience, while its Ads Manager helps you create ads, track performance and manage your budget.

Just understand that every social network has its own personality and targets different audiences. For instance, Snapchat is visually focused and can be much more dressed-down, while LinkedIn is tailored for a more professional crowd.

2. Blogging: Once you’ve built a website, all blogging really needs to cost you (if you do it yourself) is time. Blogging gives readers a portal into your business, allowing you to showcase not just your offerings, but also your expertise. It’s important to remember, though, that your blogs should provide real value to readers. Internet consumers are increasingly more savvy, and have little need for gussied-up advertisements posing as blogs. Instead, use your blog to communicate and serve up information that people who would want your product can use … and use that as a gateway to selling your product.

3. Press releases: These are an oldie, but a goodie. Press releases, as the name implies, are a way to get the press on your side by providing them with a quick bit of newsworthy information that the media can use as part of a story … or as the story itself. When done right, they effectively generate free publicity. But like a blog, sending out a press release that says, “buy our new product” isn’t the path to press release victory. Instead, use press releases to announce more newsworthy events such as winning awards, or to provide an opinion or information on a current news topic.

4. Partnerships: Another old-fashioned tactic is to establish partnerships with complementary businesses that play to similar audiences, with the hope that pooled resources can increase your exposure. For instance, a high-end chocolatier might consider packaging deals with a local florist for Valentine’s Day, or you could put together a giveaway contest that includes prizes from other businesses, which provides exposure to everyone involved.

5. Advertise With Google: Google Adwords allows you to take a set budget and put it to work on a “cost per click” ad campaign that only charges you when someone clicks on your ad. You can serve up display ads, search ads or even video ads, and use tools such as Customer Search and Keyword Planner to figure out where your audience is, and the best way to put your ad in front of those people. It’s a much more strategically and financially sound way to advertise than, say, putting up a billboard and hoping your key demographic happens to check it out … and thanks to Google’s tools, you’ll have troves of data confirming your money is being spent the right way.

Looking for more ways to save money? McManamon & Co. offers business consulting services that span the spectrum, from strategic planning to even fostering corporate banking relationships. Call us at 440.892.9088 or contact us online so we can help you build a plan that will elevate your small business brand and boost your business.

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