Image by: puuikibeach
By Jessie Marc
As a small business owner, I know how fast basic expenses can add up. When you’re just getting started, there probably isn’t a ton of cash to work with, and the sooner you can get the word out about your company, the sooner you can start raking in the cash. Remember that the less you spend, the more you’ll have to invest in other aspects of the business.
Create Your Own Printed Products
The most expensive thing you really need to buy for now is a decent printer to handle your letterhead and business cards. You can use sites like Avery and Brother Creative Center to create your own professional looking business graphics. Until you’ve got enough business to warrant hiring a print shop, get blank letterhead and business cards at your local office supply.
Social Media is a Gold Mine
If you haven’t gotten into Pinterest yet, NOW is the time to get over there and sign up. While at first glance, it might not look like a promotional tool, you can actually pin content from your blog or site so that when anyone clicks on the image, they’ll go straight to your site. They recently released business accounts with profile settings more suited to promoting your company.
Twitter is essentially a prerequisite – use unique hash tags and run contests for your followers (ALWAYS require a retweet to enter!) It takes some time and effort to get your audience to engage, but it pays off in the long run.
Craigslist Isn’t Just for Furniture and Cars
I worked at a marketing agency that created some sharp looking Craigslist ads to promote their work in the services section. I was pretty skeptical at first, but it actually brought in about 60% of their business. It’s free and only takes a few seconds to post.
Go here to get a free hit counter code that you can paste in the bottom of your ad to track how many people have viewed your ad. Experiment with different categories until you figure out which one gets your ad the most traffic.
Ad Words Work Great
Google AdWords has seemed borderline obsolete to me for a while now, so I was surprised when one of my clients told me that over 85% of their online sales (around $12,000 per month) came directly from AdWords. Since then, I’ve tinkered with it and found that it’s a lot more user friendly than it used to be, and for a few cents per hit, I’ve gotten more traffic than I’ve had in a few years.
Talk to the Press
Send out press releases to local and industry publications whenever anything of interest happens in your business. HARO is a great free resource as well – they send out a daily email full of requests from reporters looking for someone to interview. You can get great publicity – I was able to land interviews with Forbes and Inc. in the same week.