How to market on a small budget
No matter what size or age your business is, marketing is an important way to find new clients.
When I sat down to reflect on my own brand at the start of the year I realised that I had actually been doing little paid marketing since relocating my business to Albury Wodonga. My goal for this year was to attract more design and photography clients in the Albury Wodonga area and consolidate my little brand as a local business.
To do this, I have been looking at a variety of marketing strategies, many which are very budget-friendly thanks to the wonderful thing we call the internet! Some of these ideas I have been working at and maintaining for a number of years (hello Facebook page!) while others I have only just implemented but have seen a good response on my investment (usually of time, sometimes of money).
Below are some of my top tips for marketing a small business on a budget.
Make a Facebook Page
My number one budget-friendly marketing tip for any Australian business is, of course, make a Facebook Page!
Although organic reach has declined on Facebook, there are still a multitude of reasons to create a business page on Facebook. For a new business, a Facebook page helps you get your business online quickly and showing up on Google. Facebook pages usually rank well on Google, particularly when you start generating interest on it and for those that have unique business names.
You can also leverage your own contacts on Facebook to help get your posts in front of new people (and potential customers). Don’t be afraid to ask those you know to help you share your page (and/or posts) and get the word out about your business. This works even better if you can ask friends or family that have links to your business in some way to market you. For example, if you are a newborn photographer in Albury Wodonga you could ask mums-to-be or new mums to share your page or posts as your work would be relevant to their life right now.
Facebook groups are another way to help spread the news about your page and get extra likes from potential clients. Local groups are a great thing to get involved in - just take note of the rules of the group and try not to post too often!
Create a Blog
This is a marketing strategy I have recently returned to after a bit of a hiatus after moving to Albury Wodonga back in 2017.
What I have learnt so far is that blogging is so good for your SEO and helping you rank better on Google for the services you offer in the location you offer them in!
If you have been following my brand since the start of this year, you will be aware that I rebranded as Chlo & Co Creatives around April. After a lot of rejigging and visits on my website ‘MadCat Creations’ had finally made it to page one when people googled ‘Albury Wodonga Wedding Photographer’ or ‘Albury Wodonga Wedding Photography’. This took me about 2 years to achieve. I was not blogging during this time and only updated my website occasionally. When I rebranded, ‘Chlo & Co Creatives’ sat on page 5 or 6 for this search (which was pretty sad for me after finally getting my site up the rankings). With blogging, I have been able to move my ranking for Chlo & Co Creatives up to page 2 for this search in only 4 short months! This is because blogging drives visitors to my site (something Google likes) and helps me get the correct keywords on my website.
Other than ranking well on Google, your blog also helps give your visitors insight into your services and your expertise. By reading your blog, you are helping show potential customers your knowledge and show-off your amazing work! This can help you create trust with readers and win you jobs.
Create a Google My Business Account
Want another free marketing tactic? Sign up to a Google Business Account.
You know when you search a local service, for example ‘Albury Wodonga Wedding Photographer’, and a list of names come up with businesses and locations?
If you’re unsure if this go google it now - I’ll wait.
Well this list has been complied by Google from those businesses that have signed up for a business account. I’m actually unsure how it decides to rank these businesses, it appears the three to five that appear under the map on the Google front page are the businesses with the most reviews, however once you click on more businesses it doesn’t appear to follow this rule so I wonder if it is more to do with who signed up first? Either way, it is an excellent little marketing tool to help get more eyes on your business, particularly if you offer local services!
Start an email list
Another goal I made at the start of the year was to start to build my own email list. I finally ticked this off my ‘to-do’ list a month ago and I am slowly compiling a list of emails from people who are interested in wedding photos. This is a targeted group who I know will be interested in hearing from me and potentially buying from me - which is really valuable! It is also a list and marketing method that I own and control, unlike social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
If you are on a budget you can create an email list and send emails for free through many different online websites (e.g. Mailchimp, Sender etc).
Building your actual email list however can call for some money investment to help you find new people to add to your possible customer list. I have been using Facebook and have found this has drawn in a good range of locations and email addresses for me. I have also been using simple Facebook posts, a download incentive (which only cost me time) and a competition.
After Instagram changed its app again (goodbye likes), it has really highlighted to me that it is so important that we have our own marketing methods that we own and control, so I really encourage you to start creating your own email list/s!
Network - Connect with other businesses and collaborate!
Networking can be a funny word and mean different things for different businesses. I often imagine it as a lot of people in suits standing around in a room chatting to people over canapés but in reality, it is a lot less stuffy than that!
One way to leverage it though and make it work as a marketing tool for your small business is to collaborate with other businesses for things like promotional photos, shout-outs and competitions. By working together you can increase your exposure by tagging each other on social media platforms and recommending each other’s businesses.
I definitely find this is a successful tool to help work my way around the low organic reach on Facebook or Instagram.
Run a competition
The cost of this marketing tool is totally up to you. Running a competition on social media is a great way to help up your exposure and find potential customers.
The best way to do this is keep your competition simple but ensure you are collecting useful information through your competition. For example you can ask for an answer to question that will help give you some market research or ask for their email in return for entry to the competition. There are a bunch of different rules for Facebook competitions so make sure you give this a Google before running one (or jump over to this post for more insight into Facebook comps).
Doing something interesting in your business? Consider sending in your event to your local newspaper or radio station. Traditional media outlets are always on the look out for interesting news stories so your scoop could be exactly what they are after! It’s also excellent exposure for your business!
I have recently had my first art exhibition (see my post about it here) and completed some artworks that have received media coverage. In response to this I have been contacted by new potential clients who have found me through this information.
Lastly, reviews can be an excellent way to market your business! Potential customers love to hear what experience others have had with your business and their reviews can give these possible clients insight into your business in a way that your website can’t.
These reviews can be posted on your Facebook page, Google Business page or to your website. You can then market them through your social media platforms.