7 Proven and Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Bootstrapped Businessby@aayushgupta
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7 Proven and Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Bootstrapped Business

by UplersMarch 15th, 2021
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50% of small businesses in the US are home-based, and 82% of them fail because of cash flow problems. This article will list out 7 proven and creative ways to promote your small business in 2021, even with no marketing budget. Google My Business is among the most effective free marketing strategies, especially if you are a local business. Host events, webinars and create content can be a great way to showcase your expertise. Attend industry networking events, exhibit at local trade shows, and participate in community events.

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Did you know that around 50% of small businesses in the US
are home-based? And about 82% of them fail because of cash flow problems?

If you are reading this article, then you may be one of them. We understand how hard it is for business owners like you to promote their businesses, especially when you start out. Often, the marketing budget is non-existent or tight.

In such scenarios, the owners have to get creative in their ways to promote their businesses. But that requires a great deal of time as well. This article will list out 7 proven and creative ways to promote your small business in 2021, even with no marketing budget.

7 Cost-effective Ways to Promote Your Business

1.  Google My Business

Building Google Listing using Google My Business is among the most effective free marketing strategies, especially if you are a local business. Your business gets visibility on the local section of Google Search, Google Maps, and the knowledge panel of branded searches that appears on the right side. Not only that, but Google My Business also boosts your organic rankings.

(Source: Reshift Media)

Using your Google My Business Account, you can optimize your Google listing to rank higher for the Google Maps search results.

Note: You can optimize your listing only if you have verified ownership of the same.

Here are some tips and tricks to rank higher in the Google My Business listing:

  • Add relevant posts: Navigate to the post section in your Google My Business app and add posts relevant to your business or industry. You can also
    publish links of content along with images. Adding content increases your
    business' authority, and it becomes a good way to showcase your expertise.
  • Add a detailed description: Write an in-depth
    description of your business. Make the description engaging and conversational.
    Try to add targeted keywords in your description for which you want to better
    your rankings.
  • Keywords in the name: Add the primary
    keyword in your name—for example, XYZ Agency - Best Digital and Creative Agency
    in New Delhi. Use Google Keyword Planner Tool for keyword research and planning.

2.  Host events, webinars and create content

Create as much content as you can. In the form of blogs, videos, webinars, etc. Creating and publishing content can be a great way to showcase your expertise, building credibility and reputation. When done with the right intent, Content Marketing can boost your rankings and give your business proper and increased visibility among the right audience. content can drive organic traffic to your website, generate quality leads, and strengthen your overall SEO.

Tips to write great content:

  • Use simple language or language that your audience understands.
  • Do your research - creating in-depth and value-adding content is the way to go.
  • Educate instead of selling
  • Add actionable items like links to other content,
    free downloadables, etc.

Types of videos you can produce:

If your product is technical or requires multiple steps, videos are a great way to connect with your audience. If not, then videos make a great medium to promote your business and build your brand credibility. You can create:

  • Instructional videos
  • DIYs
  •  How-tos
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Interviews with industry experts, your
    employees, etc.

Another great way to build your credibility: hosting classes, events, and webinars relevant to your target audience. For example, if you are running a small local gym, then host online classes to educate them about Yoga, Nutrition, Weight loss techniques, etc. Usually, hosting events and classes can be expensive undertakings, but with everything going virtual, you can now host them on Zoom or other webinar platforms

3.  Attend industry networking events, exhibit at local trade shows, and participate in community events

Industry events and conferences make a great way for like-minded business people to network and market. You can develop B2B relationships to help you get bulk orders or turn into strategic partnerships to expand in new territories and markets. Such events also have exclusive seminars to help sharpen your business and marketing skills.

Does your city or town host weekly farmers' markets, annual exhibitions or
celebrations, or other community events? Then, by all means, participate. If
possible, set up your booth or table to promote your local audience's products and services. Such affairs are inexpensive and offer great opportunities to build a brand locally.

Other great ways to connect and contribute to your community:

  • Sponsoring youth groups
  • Distributing free coffee to volunteer groups, local police officers, etc.
  • Organizing food or clothing drives to help less fortunate
  • Sponsoring local trade shows or fairs

4.  Turn your customers into promoters

Having a great product or providing impeccable service will help you achieve half of your marketing goal. And for the other half, reach out to your customers.

Ask them to leave reviews on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Social Media, and other customer review platforms. To make sure your customers leave reviews, send a thank-you message or note once they've done business with you. A small thank you can go a long way. Moreover, your loyal customers would love to help expand your business' reach.

Here are other great ways to turn your customers into promoters and engage with them:

  • Running a business card drawing contest
  • Running social media contents
  • Setting up a customer referral program

Tips for running social media contests:

  • Offer incentives
  • Set your budget and prizes
  • Determine your goals: is it engagement? Is it brand awareness? Do you want to build your email list?
  • Determine contest type: this will be based on your goals
  • Pick your platforms
  • Go through the platform's contest guidelines

5.  Turn your vehicle into a billboard

This is an excellent way to promote your business locally. Use the real estate of your car, truck, or even a two-wheeler. Add your business name, contact information, and address.

Pro tip: If possible, add a unique number or email address as your contact information. This will help you track the effectiveness of this marketing strategy. You can also add a QR code that redirects your customers to a specific landing page.

This form of marketing is known as vehicle branding.

You can also use your close friends, family, and employees' vehicles to market your business.

A Few Tips for Effective Vehicle Branding:

  • Keep it simple. Don't overhaul your vehicle with graphics and information.
  • Use simple fonts for better readability.
  • Use the vehicle's three dimensions wisely.
  • Make sure you are sending the right message. Don't overcomplicate things for them.
  • Don't try to save a few bucks on photography and printing. Make sure the print is of high-quality.
  • And lastly, be creative.

6.  Write and submit guest posts and leave comments on relevant forums

Many publications and websites would love to publish your content.
You can put promotional links to your business within the content and provide value first. This entire process of writing for other platforms and websites is guest blogging. This was an oversimplified version, but it's not as simple.

Here's a quick overview of how you can go about guest blogging:

  • List down blogs/websites relevant to your target
    audience. For example, if you have a SaaS product, you might want to post on
    tech or product blogs.
  • Create a customize pitch
  • Write an impressive post
  • Join guest post communities 
  • Monitor your competitor's moves

Leaving opinionated comments, value-adding, and showing
expertise in a relevant topic can also help build a personal and your business' brand. All you need to do is find relevant forums and websites where your audience might be hanging out.

7.  Social media - to create and promote relevant content

This one is a no-brainer and hence is listed at the end. Social media has democratized content publishing and is a great way to target and engage with your audience. Not only can you get extremely creative with different content formats, but you can also cross-promote your blogs, videos, etc. You can turn your blogs into bite-sized image content to post on Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Some other social media ideas to promote your brand:

  • Host an AMA - once you've built your reputation as an expert in your domain, host an AMA (ask me anything) to engage with your audience and followers.
  • A social media takeover - you'll see influencers collaborating and taking over brands' social media accounts. You can invite influencers or collaborate with relevant brands for a mutually beneficial takeover.
  • Develop bite-sized video clips and how-tos
  • Go live to interact with the audience in real-time
  • Give your customers a platform to speak about their experience with your brand

A list of a few more in-expensive marketing strategies you can explore:

  • Industry partnerships
  • LinkedIn marketing
  • Brand ambassadors
  • Business awards
  • Email marketing
  • Social media tagging and hashtags
  • Creative business cards and magnets

Summing Up

Marketing has never been this accessible and free. You just
need to streamline your brand's messaging strategy, set realistic goals, create necessary resources, and start marketing.

Pro tip: Since all the platforms, resources, etc. are available to your competitors as well, you might have to put in extra efforts to get an edge over your competitors. The key lies in being innovative with your approach.