No matter how large or small your business is, you’re going to need to market it if you want to ensure a steady stream of customers. But if you are just starting out, engaging a marketing agency could pose an extremely high cost for your business.
In this case, it might make sense to avoid shelling out on a marketing agency’s services, and do your marketing in-house instead. With this option, there might even be cost savings that you can use to develop even better products or services.
So without further ado, here are 4 ways you can market your business on your terms without hiring a marketing agency:
1. Tap on free and affordable online marketing tools
There are countless online tools available for carrying out a wide range of marketing tasks. Many of them are affordably priced, while others can even be used for free.
What’s more, it’s entirely possible that any marketing agency you hire will use these same tools to market your business for you. So why not cut out the middleman, and do it yourself if you can?
Here are some tools that you can use for various aspects of your marketing efforts:
Mailchimp is a popular option among businesses who want to manage not only their email marketing, but also their landing pages and social media ads in one place.
Other email marketing tools include ActiveCampaign, Sendinblue and ConvertKit.
Social media marketing
When it comes to posting on social media, chances are that you’re going to need eye-catching graphics. And in this regard, one free online graphic design tool to use is PosterMyWall, which allows users to design stunning graphics using a drag-and-drop editor.
Then, take advantage of tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer to schedule your social media posts in advance and track their performance.
Analytics and audience analysis
Want to know how many visits your website is getting? Use the free Google Analytics tool to keep track. It’s a powerful tool that helps you monitor not only your website traffic, but also the demographics of your visitors, which pages are getting the most love and more.
As for conducting audience intelligence to learn where your potential customers are spending their time (so you can market yourself there), check out SparkToro.
2. Harness the power of social media
Thanks to social media, any business can launch their online marketing efforts—even if they don’t have a website, or want to hire a marketing agency to manage their marketing for them.
When it comes to choosing which social media platforms to be on, you probably can’t go wrong with the current heavyweights, namely Facebook and Instagram. But consider being on some newer platforms that are growing in popularity too. They provide a good opportunity to build a loyal following before all the “big boys” move in.
One of these platforms is TikTok, where users post short video clips of themselves doing practically anything. This TikTok account by The Bailey Bakery, for example, posts drool-worthy videos of cookies being iced:
Even newer (and hotter) is Clubhouse, an audio-based platform where users can start “rooms” to chat about anything under the sun.
To get ideas on leveraging Clubhouse for your skincare business, join The Skinthusiast, a room for discussing all things related to skincare started by skincare business Mask Moments. The room has 38,300 followers and counting! Find a room that best fits your market niche and join it.
3. Set up your Google Maps listing
This helps put your business on Google Maps—and is an especially important step if your small business has a physical presence, such as having a brick-and-mortar store. After all, if customers don’t know how to get to your store, then you can be sure that they won’t be visiting it.
Your Google Maps listing should also contain as much information as possible that customers might find helpful. For example, take a look at the Google Maps listing for donut store Billy’s Donuts.
The listing contains vital info for potential customers planning to drop by the store, such as:
- The store address
- Opening hours
- The store’s phone number (for customers to call if they have questions)
- A link to the store’s menu (to help customers decide what to get in advance)
- Customer reviews
Setting up a Google Maps listing is simple, and you definitely don’t need a marketing agency for this. First, go to the Google My Business page and sign in with your business’ Google Account (not your personal account!)
You can then add your business by filling out your business’ address, business category, phone number and website URL, among other information.
4. Offer a referral program
To market yourself via word of mouth, consider setting up a program to reward customers who recommend your products or services to others. This way, customers will be incentivized to spread the word about your business, which may then lead to more sales for you. Everyone wins!
For instance, wine business Wiens Family Cellars has a referral program that gives its wine club members a $25 credit towards their next wine purchase for every new member referred. This credit can be redeemed on the spot if the referral occurred during a tasting session too, making it easy for members to rack up and redeem their referral rewards.
Take the reins of marketing on your own terms
As a small business, your resources might be especially limited. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that you have to skip on marketing your business, just because you might not want to hire a marketing agency or have the budget to afford one.
There are various strategies that small businesses can adopt for DIY-ing their marketing, and many of these are free or extremely affordable to start out with. Use these to grow your business and revenue! And don’t worry if you feel a sense of FOMO: you can always engage a marketing agency if this makes financial sense for your business later on. Good luck!