6 ways to promote your business for under $100 per month
Lately I have been speaking with many of our customers, and the general consensus is that times are tough. Coming from a small business entrepreneurial background I can feel their pain. They are seeing money going out in every direction and customers just are not buying as they were a year ago.
So what is a business owner to do? They have to start cutting the fat, and usually the first thing that they look to cut is the advertising budget, not realizing that the customers that are trickling in might just be due to the advertising and that those customers may even disappear if the advertising budget is cut.
What I propose to our clients is to ride out the tough times and instead of canceling or cutting their advertising budget in full, try instead to streamline and optimize their campaign and look for free or low budget campaigns. Here are few suggestions on what and how to get started. Most of these are online, but do not require extensive computer or internet knowledge.
- Free local listings on major search engines and directories. This has been talked about extensively in many blogs and forums. Here are some popular sites you might want to start with.
- Email Newsletter marketing is another free or inexpensive way to get in touch with those clients that have not come in to your store lately. Companies such as Constant Contact give you a 60 day free trial, and you can send up to 2500 emails at once for $30 per month. You can send as many times as you wish. Although keep in mind that you do not want to overdue it. Constant Contact provides many templates to use and is on a very user friendly format. We use them at CityWaboo to send out our weekly and monthly newsletters.
- Social networks have become very popular in the last few years. Make sure that you have a profile on them and are actively updating it. I’ve begun using the 2 hours I spent at night watching TV, to instead get onto to the social networks and add information to my business and personal profiles. Right now, the name of the game is optimization, and most of the social network sites populate your information on the major search engines.
- Local city guides have streamlined their operations in the last couple of years, and although most charge a small fee for enhanced listings, it is well worth it for all of the features your business receives. When we first started CityWaboo.com one of our first conversations was; what can we give our advertisers for $39.95 per month that would make a positive influence in their bottom line? Well we packed in a lot. By far, I think the features advertisers get on CityWaboo are unmatched by many companies. http://citywaboo.com
- In the same token as the National City Guides, there are local directories that cater to specific cities or specialties. For the past 4 years we have been operating a local directory called http://www.burbankglendale.com with great success for local businesses in the Burbank and Glendale community. Most of the time the investment is less then $30 per month and gets your business in your immediate community. These types of websites are community based so to find them look in your local community newspapers and chamber of commerce directories.
- Pay per click or pay per lead models of major search engines is yet another way to get your business or website on search engines. Although many general keywords are expensive to be in the top results, most specific keywords are relatively inexpensive and can start for as little as .10cents. Make sure you specify your daily budget and make use of all the free tracking and researching tools that are provided. For Google.com visit http://www.google.com/adwords section. For Yahoo Search Marketing http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/
The key is to remember that whatever you do, make sure that you track and analyze your results. It is imperative that you find out where every customer in your store or on your website is coming from. And remember economic times will eventually get better, if you remember to be frugal and result oriented now, imagine what you will be able to do when the times are better. Invest your advertising dollars wisely, track and record your results, and thoroughly analyze the results thoroughly and you’ll be on the track to increasing your visibility, traffic, and success!