How to Do Big Time Marketing on a Small to No Budget

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Whatever your work-at-home and/or freelance business be, you should always be marketing it to the public at large. Unfortunately, advertising is expensive; a print ad in even a small town paper costs $200. Google AdWords and pay-per-click (PPC) ads can get expensive, especially if you aren’t that good at SEO.

Social media marketing is another option, but it takes some skill to implement successfully. And there is always the worry that it may just be a waste of time.

Luckily, there are many different ways to advertise your business without breaking the bank or spending a lot of time ramping up. Here are at least 10 ways to quickly and easily market your work-at-home and/or freelance business:

1. Join local clubs and organizations.

Almost every city/town/village has several business clubs and organizations that are valuable reservoirs of potential clients. Even if you are only dealing with like-minded colleagues, these colleagues can refer your services to their own clients. Furthermore, clubs and organizations offer you the opportunity to network with and learn from others.

2. Work on your elevator speech.

You are always marketing yourself, whether you know it or not. This is why you should develop a so-called “elevator speech,” which is a quick (~2 minute) oral descriptor of your goods and/or services. Practice giving this speech to yourself without pausing or sounding like you are reading from a script. Then, whenever you meet someone new who asks what you do for a living, give that person your elevator speech.

3. Ask for referrals.

Do you have current customers who have done business with you and are happy with your products and/or services? As them to refer you to others in exchange for a discount on a future business transaction. You should also advertise business referral discounting on your business cards, flyers, website, etc.

4. Create a website.

It might sound expensive to start a website, but website URLs are just a few bucks nowadays. Some hosting plans run as low as $1/month and even include a free domain. A website can be mobile device-enabled without adding to its cost through free mobilization services like Duda or Bootstrap.

5. Give talks and speeches.

Clubs and organizations are always looking for monthly speakers and presenters. If you have a home-based and/or freelance business, you are already an expert in several applicable fields such as outsourcing, time management, content creation, etc. If you don’t think you are an expert just yet, read this article to become one.

6. Generate some news.

Reporters and writers are always in need of sources to quote and interview. You can make yourself available for these newsworthy opportunities by signing up with sites like HARO, ProfNet, SourceBottle and PitchRate. Once you’re a part of these sites, you’ll have periodic opportunities to get quoted, which will build your notoriety and define you as an expert in your field.

7. Provide free samples.

If you offer an in-depth and/or pricey good/service, you may catch more long-term clients by offering a free sample or trial of that good/service. Overall, people are much more willing to try something out if it’s free, and they are also less likely to change to a different vendor once they are working with you.

8. Sponsor or help with an event.

Community events like running races, charity balls, fundraisers, etc. are an excellent and affordable opportunity for you to market your business. You can do this by donating an item to a raffle, for example, or you can make a small cash donation to purchase snacks or other needed items. Sponsored are typically acknowledged through thank you speeches, ads, press releases, or even full newspaper articles or radio announcements.

You can also “inject” yourself into community events like summer festivals, tastes and anniversary celebrations by helping with some aspect of the event. Typically, not only do you gain a mention through such piggybacking, you often get the opportunity to distribute flyers or business cards, or invite people to visit your shop, etc.

9. Do promotional trade-offs.

Ask your colleagues if they would consider promoting your goods/services on their blog or business website in exchange for you doing the same. By doing such trade-offs, your mutual businesses are exposed to new audiences and opportunities. Coupled with a free trial or discount offer, such promotion trade-offs can go help both you and your colleagues gain new clients and business offers.

10. Publish small.

The cost of advertising in high-end newspapers and magazines can be insanely high. However, many smaller newspapers and other publications are hurting for content and would be more than happy to publish your work- just as long as it provides value and isn’t gimmicky. At the bottom of your article or content piece, however, you can include a small author bio that mentions you and your business.

11. Create and publish instructional videos

If you have generated instructional videos for your business to train your employees or contractors, such material can be easily repurposed into marketing collateral for clients. Freelancers on sites like Fiverr will quickly and cheaply redo your videos so that they can be published on YouTube or your own website. With the popularity of videos growing, you are sure to get more than a few views and resulting interest in your business.

The Bottom Line

There are many great marketing tactics that you can use without dropping a ton of cash. Furthermore, many of these marketing tactics help you gain notoriety and respect in your community.

If you have tried these or other tactics to market your business, please describe your experience(s) in the comments below.

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