Market your business without money
One of the biggest challenges I faced when starting my business and I still face today is, how to market your business with without money or a limited budget? For your business to work, you need clients and marketing brings you clients, but how do you market your business without a budget? This is one of the most difficult things for small business owners and entrepreneurs especially when you are self-employed. Here are some of the tactics you can use to get your first few clients and market your services with zero budget or limited budget.
Friends and family
I know most entrepreneurs don’t like hearing this but this is the most effective and best way to start marketing your business through word-of-mouth. However don’t be that nuisance friend who is always trying to hustle your friends or family, that will soon damage your relationships. A better way to do it would be to give free samples away to friends/family so they can market your business. For example, if you selling branded t-shirts, you can give away free t-shirts to friends so that when people see your friends wearing your brand then they will start enquiring about your business. The key here is to make sure you get free word of mouth.
Build your professional network
I cannot overemphasize this enough, this what you should be doing even if you are running a million dollar company. Almost all my major financial breakthroughs came through relationships I had forged whether online or offline. Here is the principle and I hope you copy and paste this somewhere where you will see it every day “ People do business with people they know, like and trust”. The idea here is to build relationships with potential clients before you even need their business. Start by attending events related to your business, introduce yourself to potential clients and don’t ask for their business, connect with like-minded people on social networks like Linkedin, and also hanging around where your clients usually hang around.
List on local directories
It is amazing how people overlook this simple but effective tool. When people are looking for a business where do they go? They go to directories which is now mostly based on the internet. Sign-up your business to directories such yellow pages, TripAdvisor, Gumtree etc to get your business listed. Also, if you are looking to get government work, make sure you register on the Supplier Central Database.
Social Media and Email Marketing
This is the 8th wonder of the internet! There has never been a better time in history to market your services to so many people with no budget. Social media allows you to build a following of potential clients and to engage them to find out what they really want. Email marketing allows you to send your promotions to potential clients without having to pay for advertising. First of all, you need to grow your mailing list, add everyone in your mailbox that you have ever contacted and started sending informative information about your business (not spasm). Here is the thing, not everyone has a social media account but almost everyone has an email account that is why email marketing is so effective.
Blogging is one of the best ways I would recommend to market your services or products online if done right. A blog will drive organic traffic to your website, which will lead to more potential clients. It is one of the most effective ways to educate your customers about your products and services.
In retrospect, I realize that marketing your business yourself in the early stages without no capital plays a vital role in understanding your market and your customer’s needs. When you are still small you can play around with a few marketing channels to see what works and what doesn’t so that when your business grows you will be able to allocate resources on channels that actually bring customers to your business.