Are you thinking of starting your own business? Maybe turning your hobby into something that can bring in more substantial income? Whatever your dreams are, don’t be discouraged by being a startup company. You will need a few things to get your feet off the ground, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money before you even make a dime.
I’m sharing five low-cost ways to market your small business. These tips apply to everyone from high school students wanting to earn extra money for college to those who are looking for a significant switch in their careers. When you decide to pursue the goal of running a small business, it’s always best to be prepared.
1. Construct a Value-Add
First, outline all the details of what you’re selling and why your product or service would benefit others. Create a clear and concise way to communicate this message to your audience. Many people like to refer to this as an “elevator pitch.” You don’t necessarily have to have a spiel ready to go, but when someone asks what your business is about, you don’t want to be fumbling over your words. Your confidence (or lack thereof) will be memorable. Make sure your first impression is a positive one.
2. Come up with a Strategy
Second, think about how you want to promote your business. Social media and small business go hand-in-hand as you can build up a following online for free without having to spend major bucks on print or TV advertising right away. If you are an at-home business, consider making a yard sign or a magnet for your car to promote your company, making it visible to everyone that passes by. Take advantage of discount codes for eSigns.com to create inexpensive, personalized signs that are relevant to your business.
3. Make an Online Presence
Third, set up a website. Hosting sites often offer free website creation with the purchase of your domain, which typically is less than twenty bucks. The tutorials for creating your own website take some time, but can be done even if you are not well-versed in the ways of web design. You just want an online presence for people who are looking for more information about your business. Once you have accrued a profit, you can think about spending money on a professionally-created website.
Fourth, network as much as possible. Research Meetup.com and your local papers for monthly networking events. Many of these meetings are free, so take advantage of meeting other people in your industry that may have referrals for you or have tips and tricks to pass along about being self-employed. When you are a small business, it’s good to have people know who you are, or at least have heard of you. Don’t be shy to let people know what you have to offer. Chances are they may have been looking (or know someone who is) for a business just like yours to help them out.
5. Keep in Touch
Fifth, create email newsletters. By using services such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp newsletters, you can send out weekly or monthly newsletters to subscribers. This gives people regular reminders of what your business is doing and what exciting things are in store. You can use these newsletters to promote contests, giveaways, or announce special events. You can’t just rely on telling one person about your business one time and expect any action to take place. Remind people who you are and why your business will help them. Be creative in the information you give to people and make it worthwhile to read.
Honestly, starting your own small business is a lot of trial and error. But it helps to get ahead of the game by having a thought out plan of attack. Track your progress from week to week and mark down what’s worked and what hasn’t. There are so many more ways to market your small business in low-cost ways. What has worked for you?