Marketing is everything. (Cliché, I know. But true!) If you’re a new business owner or entrepreneur, though, that statement can be daunting. You know you need to market your business, but how?
At this point, you’ve jumped into your new career headfirst. And whether you’ve spent money to fund your initial goals, materials, ideas etc.—chances are—you’re probably in the hole (or close to) financially.
Launching a business is hard: physically, emotionally, and on your wallet. There are decisions about money that you have to make. There are behind-the-scenes costs associated with starting up. And, of course, there is the big question to ask yourself:
Who will even care, or know about what I’m trying to do?
The answer to that question really depends on your marketing strategy.
I know how you feel right now—overwhelmed, stressed, and probably anxious about your financial health. (As any new business owner should be!) But when it comes to getting your feet off the ground, gathering a customer base, and growing your entity, it all starts with how you market.
Here are some easy ways to market your business, even if you’re extremely low on funds.
Step One: Set a strategy.
Okay, first thing’s first: you have to have a plan. For those of us Type-A personalities, this is easy. But for someone who isn’t the best at forward-thinking (a large percentage of people, so don’t beat yourself up!) this can be a challenge.
Start by thinking about what, exactly, you want your customers to know about your business. Think about the person you’d see purchasing your goods or services. What type of person is this? How old is he/she? What is he/she into? As you think of your ‘ideal’ customer, you can start to set a strategy for how you will reach him/her.
Also think about what you want your potential customers/clients to engage with. This goes beyond your website, but to your social media, too. When someone scrolls through your Instagram feed do you want them to see certain images? Products? Concepts? Create a goal-focused strategy and start from there.
Step Two: Build a subscriber base (organically!)
When you have people who use your goods/services, engage with your content, or share your posts, they do the marketing for you! If you’re looking to build your customer or subscriber base, start by creating (if/when applicable) a newsletter or email subscription.
Email marketing is a great way to bring in people who may have engaged with your content on a variety of spaces. By creating call-to-action buttons on posts, links on social media, etc., you can funnel people into one place where you can then share all your best products/services with them weekly, monthly, or as often as you’d like.
Some great options for this are: Mailchimp or Mailerlite (both offer ‘Forever Free’ plans). You can also use a more ‘writer-friendly’ service like Tiny Letter to focus less on the design aspect and more on the writing (if that’s your style).
Step Three: Use your customer base to your advantage.
Want to know the easiest way to get critical, honest feedback? Poll your customer/subscriber base. Seriously, this is one of the easiest and most foolproof strategies out there! Plus it costs next to nothing to do.
Start by using a service like Survey Monkey or Typeform for example. Survey Monkey is a great way to send unlimited 10-question or fewer surveys under their free ‘basic’ plan. Typeform is essentially the same concept, but with more minimalistic design (only up to 100 responses per month, though).
Step Four: Focus on social media.
There are countless social media hacks out there, but there are a few I love. First, think about automation. When you schedule out posts, you give yourself more free time to pursue other interests or marketing options. You can use a service like Buffer for this.
You can also create strong campaign assets for your brand (think matching colors, logos, designs, etc.) through sites like Canva, where you can design and re-create based on where you’re sharing content. Or, you can use royalty-free images from free sites like Unsplash. If you’re stuck on how to market your business, this is a natural (and relatively simple) way.
PS: You can also use sites like Google Analytics to track your social media sharing to see what types/times work best and what content your audience is truly resonating with.
Step 5: Optimize for SEO (on everything).
SEO isn’t just for writers. In fact, if you’ve just launched a business, having your written content follow strong guidelines in this area will be invaluable to your growth. Stuck? Start by researching what SEO is and how to implement it. (If you're not a writer, you can also consider hiring someone—ahem, like me!—to help you with this type of content writing!)
When you focus on optimization, you are giving your sites and pages the best opportunity to be seen, searched, and returned to again and again.
Marisa Donnelly is a Midwest-born, West Coast-based writer, poet, essayist, editor, and founder of an independent writing coaching/editing services company, Be A Light LLC.
She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway, and has published thousands of articles culminating over 21.2+ million page views for Huffington Post, Bustle, Thought Catalog, and Briar Cliff Review, among many others.