Five ways to market your company for (almost) free
PUBLISHED: 10:54 11 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:54 11 November 2014
Anna Savitsky, copywriter at Easy Accountancy, gives a five step guide to making the most of free and low-cost digital technology to promote your company
A predicament that many small business owners find themselves in, especially when starting out, is the need to communicate their services to potential clients without a huge marketing budget. With the rise of social media, smartphones, emails and celebrity bloggers the world is becoming increasingly digital and consequently there are more ways than ever to get your name heard for little or no cost.
1. Be the one to create your website
Websites are a key marketing platform. With no website you have nowhere to direct clients to and you are limited as the first place potential customers will look is online. When it comes to websites the sky is the limit in terms of how much you could spend, but if your budget is more Fiat than Ferrari why don’t you consider creating a website yourself?
Template websites such as wix.com give you the option of designing your site at a fraction of the cost of hiring a professional. There will usually be a small license fee of around £30, but this cost will normally include your domain name.
Once you have set up your website some key content to include is a dedicated ‘about me’ section, which could consist of details on your background, experience in the industry and your motivation for starting the business. A portfolio of recent work is another important area on your website, as it will provide potential clients with an idea of what they can expect from your services.
2. Get blogging and vlogging
Blogs provide a great platform to interact with your customers, and as YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine, vlogging is becoming an increasingly effective marketing option. Giving your business a human face will encourage your clients to invest in you, not just your company.
Topics to blog/vlog about could be current news or trends in your industry, recent projects that you are working on and advice and how to information. For example, if you are a photographer a blog which provides tips on how to take the perfect photo could be beneficial to your readers and in turn encourage them to communicate with you.
3. Run a referral programme
Offering discounts to those who recommend your services to others, through a referral scheme could increase your client base. If you are worried that this approach could have a detrimental effect on your profits then include terms and conditions, which stipulate the discount amount to ensure you are getting a good return on your investment.
4. Create a profile on free directory websites
Online directories, such as yell.com may allow you to list a profile detailing your services and contact information on their website for free. Customers can then search for you on the directory site and you may also be picked up by search engines.
5. Social media
Over recent years social media has become a key tool in the world of marketing, helping small businesses further their reach to customers. Social media marketing primarily involves sharing content, reposting and communicating with other users.
The best social channel to use is dependent on the nature of your business, for example if you are a freelance hairdresser a visual platform such as Instagram or Pinterest where you can upload pictures of your recent work, hairstyle trends and new products could be a great way to engage with your audience and showcase all your hard work.
Depending on your number of followers, tweeting or posting whenever a new blog or vlog post goes live could help drive traffic to your website.