As a business owner, marketing should be one of your top priorities. If people don’t know about the services or products you offer, they can’t become customers, and your business will not experience optimal growth. If you aren’t spending time on marketing, you can’t control the message sent out to the public about who you are and what you do. Marketing can be intimidating because there is often a large cost associated with it, but there are plenty of free marketing opportunities that you may not be fully utilizing.
One of the first places you should be spending time with free marketing opportunities is on social media websites. If you don’t already have a Facebook and Twitter account for your business….well, you’re missing out on a big, cheap chance to build your brand.
The genius of using social media to spread the word about your business is your brand will naturally spread through networks of people who are interested in what you do. The more time you spend networking using social, the more active engagement you’ll have with people who can buy your product or act as brand ambassadors on the web.
Did you know email marketing can be totally free? Forget paying for a monthly email blast service: collecting email addresses from people who already frequent your business should be as simple as setting out a binder on the counter and asking customers to leave their contact information if they are interested in receiving updates and special offers.
Once you’ve built a list of clients and potential clients (don’t forget your social “fans” and “friends!”) you can send out emails about new products and services you offer or special discounts for those on your mailing list. Sending out email blasts shouldn’t cost you anything except for the time it takes you to put together the message. Email blasts have the potential to get you new customers, and keep your current customers interested as long as you make sure you’re offering something interesting and unique.
Partnering up with other businesses can also be a valuable tool when it comes to marketing. If an established and trusted business is willing to help get the word out about your company you’ve bypassed all the work of tapping into a network. Word of mouth recommendations are statistically seen as more trustworthy than paid advertisements. Think about businesses that are not direct competitors but may sell products or offer services to the kind of client you are looking for. These would be the best partners to seek out and establish a connection with.
The last free marketing opportunity that business owners often overlook local volunteering work. A little goodwill within your community can go a long way. Charity organizations often have access to large networks of people and hold fundraising or advocacy events frequently. Getting involved in the community may not only be good for your business, but good for your soul, too.
There are plenty of low-cost or free strategies you can use to help your business grow and flourish. Don’t sell yourself or your business short by not taking advantage of the free marketing opportunities out there waiting for you to come along and grab them.
[author]Ryan is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.[/author]