5 ways to market if you don't have a lot of money

This is a guest post from Drew McLellan, CEO and Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

no budgetNo matter where I speak, who the audience is, or even the topic I am supposed to address, this same question comes up:

How do you market your business if you don’t have a lot of money?

Well, the short answer to that is you’d better find some resources for marketing or you are in a lot of trouble. But, that doesn’t mean they all have to cost an arm and a leg.

In the meantime, while you’re scraping together the money to spend on marketing — try this budget friendly tactics:

1. Hang out where your potential customers hang out and be helpful.

Do your clients read certain blogs? Then be there and share your expertise. Do they all run in local marathons? Be there, handing out clean, dry socks with your logo on them. Do they go to industry trade shows? Be there and host a free Q&A about their biggest problems. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go out and find their watering hole.

2. Know your perfect customer and only take work from them.

This requires incredible discipline but pays big dividends. Rather than taking clients for cash flow, ONLY take on those clients that you can delight. And who delight you by paying you a fair price.

3. Create a referral network by delivering the first referral.

When you help someone, it is human nature that they want to return the favor. Why not set the example by making an incredible connection. Now of course to do that, you need to know who their perfect customer is. Which means you get to have a very meaningful conversation that’s all about them. See how the human nature thing is going to work?

4. Use handwritten thank you notes to show your appreciation.

In today’s high tech world, a personal gesture like a handwritten note means a great deal. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy. Just from the heart. And if you can’t thank a client from the heart, you should fire them before they fire you.

5. Let them have a taste.

Sampling is one of the most effective marketing tactics around. There is no substitute for actually experiencing your product or service. This is your greatest opportunity to earn their trust and their business. So do it right.

I can hear your collective gasp. Give away what you sell? Sampling is a golden oldie in terms of marketing tactics. The biggest buying obstacle any business has is the uncertainty of that first time.

Why not leapfrog over that worry by just giving them a taste? Walk through any grocery store or big box store on a Saturday and watch the marketing tactic at work. This works just as well for service-based businesses even though they don’t have a physical “thing” to offer.

The bottom line on how to market without spending a lot of money…

Know who you can help the most and be relentless in your efforts on their behalf. Be generous and be grateful.

I know, I didn’t even mention social media or direct mail or cold calling. Trust me. If you try these five ways to market if you don’t have a lot of money — the rest will fall into place.

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About Drew McLellan

Wall Street Journal calls Drew McLellan’s blog, DrewsMarketingMinute.com, "one of the ten blogs every entrepreneur should read." His passion is helping clients discover their story so they can create authentic love affairs with their customers. He's also an author, national speaker, and has owned his own marketing agency in the Midwest since 1995.

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Comments

  1. Edwin

    Great tips. Best sampling for service organizations is to either offer some type of free eBook or an online Skpye consultation/analysis/

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