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Like most small business owners you are trying hard to stand out from the crowd, make a name for your company and to generate awareness of your brand. If you run a small business and have a specific and significant budget set aside for marketing, then consider yourself one of the lucky one. While this typically is an expensive endeavor, there are a number of ways that you can market your business without spending a lot of money.
BlackEnterprise.com asked the question: What is one tip for marketing my business or product on a bootstrap budget? The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Find a Sphere of Influence. What do you do that’s unique to who you are as a person? Perhaps you’re a soccer coach, or very active in your church community. Maybe you practice martial arts, or recently joined an all-women’s gym. Spheres of influence are an excellent place to start sharing your business. Focus on getting to know the people around you and solving their problems; they’ll be more than willing to support you.
2. Write Valuable Evergreen Content. Content is a great, cost-effective marketing technique. We’re bootstrapped and it’s generated a huge amount of value for us. If you write at the intersection of your product and your target market’s interests, they’ll come for the great tips, perceive you as an authority, will be more likely to sign up and will also share what you’ve written with other people — if both the content and your product are good.
3. Use PURLs. PURL stands for “Personalized URL,” which is simply a means of setting up web addresses that make your potential customers feel like you’re speaking directly to them. It’s much easier to sell someone when you are delivering a personalized, more relevant sales pitch. There are several great tools that allow you to create these PURLs or your IT team could create custom landing pages.
4. Focus on Building Your Email List. Today it’s harder than ever to rank at the top of Google for competitive keywords or show up in social media feeds; you then still need to convert an impression to a user. However, email marketing offers often untapped opportunity to scale quickly. If you are bootstrapping, focus on building up your list through offering guides, webinars, ebooks and other premium content you could charge for.
5. Build a Solid Network. You either have more money than time, or more time than money. When you don’t have money, you must be resourceful with your time. Open up your phone and start texting and dialing. See who your friends know, start going to local events and meet people. You can’t be successful by yourself, so get people to believe in you and your brand from day one. They will be happy to get you off the ground running.
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