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Best Ways to Market Your New Business With Little to No Budget

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Guest Contributor

If there's one thing new business owners usually don't have in spades, it's cash. And yet, you have to spend money to make money, especially where marketing is concerned. After all, if nobody knows that you exist you're probably not going to realize much success. But if you think you have to spend a lot to launch an effective marketing campaign these days you're dead wrong. The internet has opened so many doors to advertising and building your brand that didn't exist a few years back, and most of them are far less expensive than real-world marketing (TV, radio, print, and so on). Some are even free. So if you're looking for ways to save money as you spread your name and develop your brand, here are a few good ways to market your business for less.

  1. Ad sharing and online directories. Your first step in infiltrating the online marketing arena is to get yourself listed. You can find all kinds of online directories that are free, but you need to scope these out before you add your business; if they feature shady sites that sell pornography or gambling accounts, for example, you should probably shy away. You may have to go for paid directories as a result, but most are very reasonably priced and they won't associate your legitimate business with seedier sites. As for ad sharing, you must again weigh the risks of free sites. There are plenty to choose from, but seek out services that guarantee ad swaps related to your field.

  2. Forums. You may not find much merit in hobnobbing with colleagues online; after all, these people are your competition. But just like you might network in the real world to increase your business opportunities, you should take advantage of this free service online to meet others in your industry and nurture relationships that could lead to endorsements or even partnerships down the road.

  3. Comments and guest posts. Getting your name "out there" generally includes getting links back to your site (which also work to boost your page rank with search engines like Google and Bing). So look for blogs associated with or adjacent to your industry to offer useful commentary or even guest write articles in a bid to gain link-backs and readership. You could even start your own on-site blog to encourage new and repeat traffic.

  4. Social networking. Totally free and totally amazing. You wouldn't believe what you can accomplish by setting up profiles with social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, and Pinterest, just to name a few of the most popular sites (or those that are rapidly gaining popularity). The caveat, of course, is that you have to find ways to make them work for you and then you have to monitor and update frequently. The tradeoff is always time or money, so if you can't afford pricy SEO specialists you'll have to spend your time on other efforts.

  5. Wow your customers. When you do start to see an uptick in visitors to your website or even your brick-and-mortar locations, you want to encourage them to become brand ambassadors, and this is only partially accomplished by selling them superior products or services. You also need to provide them with the personalized attention and care that you might expect to receive from business establishments you patronize. There's no denying that internet marketing is an amazing tool in your business arsenal, but there is no better call to action for consumers than a trusted recommendation from a family member or friend, and the only way to secure that kind of advertising is by wowing every customer that comes in the door.

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