How to market your business online with a small budget

18 July 2016

While large corporations set aside millions to market their businesses, small businesses may not have the luxury of a bottomless budget when it comes to promoting their products and services.

If this is the case for your company, here we offer practical tips on how to market your business online with a small budget.

Planning and research

market research 

Marketing should be a long-term and carefully considered strategy, that’s why it’s important to plan your approach and implement realistic goals and objectives to make sure your strategy pays off in the short and long term.

Start by researching the existing market online and find out as much as you can about your competitors. How do they promote their products, and what can you do to differentiate your brand from theirs? Then, aim to find out where your customers are active online and what interests them.

Next, set achievable milestones that offer tangible proof of your marketing progress. From gaining 50 followers on your business’ new Instagram account to breaking a threshold in a day’s takings; you should set a number of goals to measure the success of each of your marketing exercises. By doing so, you’ll improve your promotional activities, and avoid overspending on underperforming strategies.

Affordable marketing activities

Big corporations may put thousands into individual marketing campaigns, but self-promotion needn’t be expensive or complex. Here are some of the cheapest and most effective marketing activities for small businesses.

market your business 

Get savvy at social media

Social media isn’t just cheap, it’s powerful. By creating pages for your business on all of the major social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) you can connect with customers for free. And once you’ve established a following, you’re well placed to promote your business by positioning yourself as an expert. Share articles, write informative blog posts and actively engage with your followers to give your business real clout in the social stratosphere. The trick is to get people interested in your business so they keep coming back for more.

Host a competition

There are no two-ways about it - people love competitions. Even if you’re only offering a small prize, online contests attract attention and will win your brand more followers. They’re also a great way to get people to provide their email address and contact details, which you can use as part of a future direct marketing campaign. Spend as much or as little as you want on a prize, and make sure it relates to your business. The potential leads gained from hosting a competition will more than make up for the capital you invest in the giveaway.

Set up a referral programme

Word of mouth remains one of the most powerful marketing tools, and a referral scheme is a great way to trigger this. By offering discounts and rewards to your customers when they refer your business to friends and family, you’ll see your potential customer base swell.

Apply for respected industry awards

No matter what your industry, there are awards that your business could potentially win. Come first in an industry awards scheme, and you’ll receive a badge that you can place on your site in recognition of your achievement. This is a great way to boost the credibility of your business, and could mean the difference between customers choosing you or your competition. Many business awards schemes are free to enter, so you’ve got nothing to lose even if you don’t win.

sme marketing ideas 

Start local

If your business caters to the local community, that’s where you should start your marketing efforts. Local marketing allows you to focus on customers who will benefit from your products and services, so you’re more likely to win their custom. Attend a conference, donate a prize to a regional contest, or give away freebies at a charity event; there are dozens of ways to take advantage of your local customer base, and all on a shoestring budget.

Publish reviews and testimonials

If you receive largely positive feedback from your customers and clients, be sure to publish these reviews for others to see. Today, many people base their online purchases on reviews and testimonials from existing customers, so positive feedback posted on your site, blog or social media channels will go a long way in attracting new and repeat custom.

Host a survey

Hosting a survey might sound like a complicated and costly process, but it’s simpler and cheaper than you may think. There are now lots of inexpensive (if not free) survey sites in operation which allow you to capture data from a specific customer base, the results of which can be used to create content, improve your services or identify a completely new marketing strategy that better targets the needs of your customers.  

At Gazprom Energy we pride ourselves on our simple approach to business energy and being easy to work with. That means you can concentrate on other areas of your business without worrying about your gas or power supply. To find out more about what we can offer your small business, visit our homepage or call us on 0845 230 0011.

 

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. 


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