It’s the greatest irony in marketing: you know that buying ads usually brings in business. It usually brings in more revenue than it cost you to run the ad. But that doesn’t change one simple fact: You don’t have $1000 to spare.
Many a small business owner has done some research on the cost of newspaper ads, or billboards, or 1/4-page Yellow Pages ads, and blanched. It’s a scary prospect. Especially when you consider that an ad run for one week isn’t going to have much effect — you need AT LEAST a month before you’ll start seeing any benefit out of it. It might make you money but…
Well, for one thing, it might not. And if it doesn’t, you’re totally screwed, because the cost of the ad is equal to your entire life savings (after what it took to start the business in the first place).
Have you given up on marketing your business because you think you can’t afford it? Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy:
The best things in life are free
The thing is, everyone thinks of ads. And if you have a million-dollar ad budget, it can get results. But it’s really not the best marketing tactic, and it’s certainly not a good plan for small businesses. (For one thing, many customers assume that if you’re big enough to afford ads, you’re big enough to have horrible customer service).
Many of the top-tier, universally-recognized marketing experts (among them: Christopher Penn, Mitch Joel, Seth Godin, Scott Stratten) have been screaming for years that buying advertising is largely a waste of money, and that it’s becoming more so with every passing month. Most of them recommend getting out of that strategy while there’s still time.
Advertising is not a good way to market your business.
But if you don’t advertise, what do you do?
Publish a newsletter. Start a blog. Connect with your customers on Facebook or Twitter. Create an awesome website. Learn to write so that Google will send people to you. Write a book. Take up public speaking.
The best news? All of that can be done for less than $20. All it takes is a willingness to learn, and the time to do it right.
So to get around the no-money obstacle, no action is really required at all. All you need to do is shift your mindset, and realize that, by happy coincidence, the most effective marketing methods are also the cheapest.
Would you like to know more about which marketing methods are most effective for small businesses? My book, Bare Minimum Marketing, was written just for you. Learn more at the Indiegogo Bare Minimum Marketing Page.