DIY marketing tips for your small business

Marketing your small business doesn't have to break the bank. Check out these budget-friendly tips you can do yourself.

As a small business owner, how do you get more customers in the door without breaking the bank on a massive marketing plan? While hiring a proper marketing organization to boost your brand is a surefire way to help, many small businesses simply don't have the budget for an all-out advertising blitz. But there are many easy marketing tricks you can do yourself that will help you get the word out on a low budget.


Research gets results

Hours and hours of research is the first thing any marketing organization worth its salt will do for a new client. However, you don't need a team of pollsters on staff to find out the basics of why your customers chose (or didn't choose) your small business. You just need to ask your current customers a few simple questions: How did you learn about our company? Are you satisfied with our services? Is there anything we could do differently?

Include questions like these in every day-to-day conversation with your customers. Write down their answers. Review all of their suggestions and start tailoring your services and future interactions to mesh with what your current (and future) customers really want.


Website: no longer optional

If your company doesn't have a website, don't expect the phone to ring much. The Internet is the new phone directory. People rarely dig up that big, yellow book of numbers anymore. Even the simplest website can generate more awareness than a nonexistent one.

If you're new to the website game, take heed in the old adage that “you get what you pay for.” Splashy, cutting-edge, highly-functional websites can cost thousands of dollars. Knowing that cost could be a barrier, we offer a business application called Verizon Websites to give entrepreneurs a powerful (yet affordable) website building solution.


DIY social advertising

Now that you have a website, it's time to drive potential customers there. While radio ads, billboards, and full-page spreads will quickly evaporate a limited marketing budget, advertising on social media can be very cost-effective and hyper-targeted — and you can do it yourself.

Creating and promoting an ad on Facebook can be fairly inexpensive (you can set a daily budget and specific timelines), and you can really focus on your target audience with very specific demographic, geographic, and keyword parameters. Want to go a bit bigger? Try Google AdWords or Yahoo Ad Manager, both of which are also self-serve ad programs.

Each platform usually has some kind of ad manager and/or guidelines that will help you do all that advertising yourself.


Put yourself on the map (literally)

If your small business has a physical address, getting your business to show up on the map can be very important for your marketing efforts.

It's relatively easy (and usually free) to register the basics about your business with the most popular map sites (and apps) on the Internet. Start with Google Maps, Apple Maps Connect, Bing, and Yahoo Local. If you're looking to create a more robust web listing, try out the business application Localworks. The app makes it easier for you to do-it-yourself all in one place, rather than juggling multiple websites.

Keep in mind: if "the office" is also your home, use your best judgment on whether map listing is a good or bad decision. Those are just four DIY marketing initiatives that you can take advantage of today, and they're a solid start to any new marketing plan.

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