Like gasoline for a vehicle, marketing is fuel for your business. Unfortunately, the price at the pump is more than some small businesses can afford.
"If you want your business to grow, then you're going to have to set aside both time and money to marketing," contributor John Rampton writes in a recent article for Entrepreneur.com. "That's not an issue when you're an enterprise-level business that has the resources to spend on marketing … But what if you have a tight budget and limited time to devote to marketing your startup? Does that mean you just need to wait until you have more money flowing into your business?"
The answer, according to Rampton, is a resounding no. To prove it, he presents in his article 30 creative ideas for marketing a small business on a budget.
One idea, for example, is marketing your business by doing volunteer work. "See what's going on your community," Rampton says. "Can you sponsor a 5K charity walk or little league [baseball team]? Is there a charity or nonprofit where you could volunteer? Could you organize a block party with other local businesses? Can you print out bookmarks and leave them at your local library?"
Another idea is speaking at an event, or hosting an event of your own. "Industry conferences, volunteer organizations, local business groups, community colleges and libraries are usually in need of speakers. As a result, you'll get some name recognition, contacts and publicity," Rampton says. "If there aren't any upcoming speaking opportunities, create your own. Just plan an event or host a class at your local library, college or coworking space. Then, print out flyers and place them on community bulletin boards, like the library or coffee shop."
Even responding to online queries can yield results. Rampton advises answering questions on platforms such as Quora and joining entitles like HARO, a database of expert sources for stories. Of course, you should be active on online forums that are relevant to your industry. "Not only is this a simple and cheap way to prove that you're an authority figure," Rampton says, "it can get you noticed by an entirely new audience [that] may have never heard of you or your business."
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