When you’re a brand new business owner, one of the first things you need to focus on is getting business in the door.  The challenge is that for start-ups, there’s typically no money available to spend to get your marketing efforts going.  Below are a few tips for small business owners to follow to get their marketing efforts off the ground. Marketing your start-up can be done with planning.

Build your social media profiles

Social media continues to be a powerful tool for all businesses, but especially those who are just getting started.  You can create and build out social media profiles for free, with no expense but time to get started.  There’s so many to choose from:  which one is right for your small business? There are many articles out there offering social media tips for small businesses; take the time to peruse a few articles and pick 3 that you can truly dedicate the time to focus on.  Typically, most start-ups pick Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get their marketing efforts going. If your product is visual, you may want to consider Instagram too.  Be sure you build out your profiles consistently, similar description of your company, consistent branding, and consistent contact information.  Take time out of your day to post consistently to these platforms, not only sharing information about your business but sharing industry information.  Position your company and yourself as subject matter experts in the field. Don’t sell: share information.

Find opportunities to speak

If you’re looking for ways to get your company’s name out there for free, one of the better ways to do this is through public speaking. Understandably, public speaking is intimidating for many people but once you’re done it a few times, you’ll slowly grow more comfortable with the idea.  Why is public speaking so important for small business owners? It gets you in front of people who can either be your next client or can refer you to someone who could be. It helps you showcase your expertise.  It can help build a strong referral system for your business.  It allows you to get real-time feedback from potential clients on your subject matter, allowing you to hone your marketing message.  And it’s free, except for your time.

Get involved at the local level

Many people want to buy from people they know, and they want to support local businesses. Gaining coverage in local papers, trade magazines and websites can greatly increase name recognition and educate people about your business – driving new customer acquisition. Take the time to meet your local press contacts, network at chamber events and other local chapters, and volunteer as a business owner with charities that can use your expertise.  If you have knowledge of construction, share your expertise with a charity that renovates homes.  Is your business related to accounting?  Share your expertise and volunteer your time by helping a charity with their accounting needs.  Or you can share your expertise by joining a board. Getting involved locally will help get your name out there and showcase your business knowledge.

Offer free consultation meetings

It may seem counterintuitive to give away for free what you’re looking to charge for, but everyone loves getting something for free, and sometimes simply offering a 30-minute free consultation is enough to entice someone to engage your services. Get the conversation going by offering a one-time meeting, no strings attached. At least you’ve made face to face contact with one more prospective client.  Even if they don’t engage your services, they’re more likely to refer you to someone who may.

Contribute expert articles to local publications

Contact the editor of a local newspaper or area publication and write an article so they can see your writing style and that you know what you’re talking about, sharing your credentials so they know you’re qualified.

Need more free or inexpensive marketing ideas?

Below are a few more resources for small business marketing ideas:





Patty Hughes
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