If you’ve started a new business, you can already count yourself an entrepreneur.
It can be an exciting journey to begin your own business, but it’s also full of challenges.
You have to start immediately differentiating yourself from your competition, and also building a brand in what’s likely a crowded marketplace.
The best thing you can do is to start marketing your business, whether that’s online or otherwise.
Marketing doesn’t just allow you to gain a competitive edge, but it also lets you connect with your potential customers, control your image and branding, and position yourself as an authority in your niche.
Once you’re able to make that marketing connection with leads, you’re putting yourself on the path to not just an increase in sales, but overall profitability.
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Marketing is the foundation of any healthy new business, but there’s one problem.
New businesses, and even established small businesses probably don’t have a massive marketing budget with which to operate.
So what’s the solution to ensure you have great marketing without breaking the bank?
Here are seven ways you can get creative and market effectively, even on a shoestring budget:
While your marketing may be a way to edge out the competition, it doesn’t mean you can’t leverage some other businesses as part of your strategy.
Collaboration can happen in-person, but you can also do some creative collaborative marketing online.
Get together with other businesses that you think could work well in terms of the audience you’re targeting.
If you’re doing an in-person collaboration, gather with local businesses that aren’t necessarily in your industry, but may share an audience with you and host mixers or other events where participants could be introduced to all of you at one time.
You can combine resources as well as clients and expand one another’s reach.
If you’re considering online collaboration, you could think about holding social media chat events with several business representatives, or even doing something as simple as writing guest posts for other companies, and posting their guest blogs on your site in return
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to introduce your new business.
Services like MailChimp are not only budget-friendly but also offer you data analyzing tools that can help you see what’s working and what isn’t.
This kind of data collection is useful for honing your other marketing techniques outside of email as well.
You can look at things like open and opt-in rates to see what resonates and what doesn’t.
3. Create Your Own Visuals
In the past, creating a commercial or marketing video meant you had to spend significant amounts of money on production and then even more to have the final product air on television for commercials.
Now, with the growth of video marketing tools you can not only produce a high-quality video with very little technical expertise, but you can also share it across social media sites, your website and on YouTube.
Additionally, rather than embarking on expensive photo shoots to highlight your business, take pictures on your smartphone, upload them to Instagram and edit them using either the tools available through the platform, or with the many photo editing apps that give you professional-quality photos for little to no money.
4. Join Online Groups
There are a slew of online group platforms including Google+, Quora, Reddit and various LinkedIn groups that let you build your business, amplify your presence in your industry and become more authoritative.
Joining these forums and conversational groups are not only great for marketing a new business, but they can also be valuable in terms of connecting with other people in your industry, learning more about trends before they hit the market, and aligning yourself with influencers.
5. Develop Instructional Guides
Content is essential to marketing, whether you’re building an online business or a brick-and-mortar concept.
Even if you only want to reach a locally targeted audience, you still need to have great content at the heart of your marketing strategy.
When you’re first starting to market a new business, really try to focus on developing informative guide-like content.
You can create not only how-to posts but also things like instructional videos, whitepapers, and other tutorials.
You can branch out into different areas of content later as you’ve established a marketing foundation, but in the beginning, these are the best places to start.
6. Do Keyword Research
There is very little differentiation in today’s world between digital and traditional marketing, and it’s all about crossover.
Almost every consumer uses the Internet and mobile devices to learn more about businesses, which puts keywords and on-page SEO at the heart of marketing.
You can conduct your own keyword research, it’s inexpensive, and once you do that, it provides the basis for almost everything else you’re going to do with your marketing approach.
You can begin your keyword research with your own brainstorming about what your customers are looking for in your industry, then use free and inexpensive research tools to narrow that list down, or tailor it more appropriately.
Competitor research is also an excellent way to uncover the right keywords. When you have well-researched keywords at your disposal, you can then create content and marketing materials with these in mind.
You’re going to save not only money by investing some initial time in research, but you’re also going to save yourself time in the long-run.
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7. Encourage Your Customers to Market for You
As a new business, your customers can be your best source of marketing. Free marketing. Create customer loyalty programs and other incentives to have customers continue shopping with you.
Get them involved on social media by urging them to write reviews on sites like Yelp, and when they leave your business, ask them to spread the word.
Today’s consumers are inherently skeptical, and one of the best ways to reach them is through authentic online reviews and word of mouth.
Building a Long-Term Marketing Strategy
Regardless of how small your marketing budget may be when you launch a new business, the tips above are a great way to get started.
Online channels and social media have provided exciting and effective ways to market businesses economically, and once you start with these initial steps, you’ll have a solid foundation to continue growing and expanding your marketing as your business does the same.