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How to Grow Your Local Business without Spending a Small Fortune

When business and budget is tight, it can be very easy to dismiss the idea of spending money on marketing. However, not all effective marketing has to be expensive; even some of the lowest-cost techniques can gain a huge return on investment.

We’ve put together some of our favourite budget-friendly marketing tactics which are either free or very low cost – read more about them below and give them a try when you’re looking for ways to promote your business without breaking the bank.

Claim your ‘Google My Business’ listing
This is Google’s local business directory and it’s an important tool for helping your business appear in search results when potential customers look for words related to your business. It’s especially useful for local businesses as your result (including your address and contact details) is given priority if people are searching for the right words and are near to you.

Claiming your listing takes minutes, and is completely safe thanks to postal verification. You can use our step-by-step article to claiming your business on Google to help you.

Claim all your other free listings
Make sure you’ve taken advantage of every free online listing service you can. Some key websites are Thomson Local, Yell, Bing and Facebook. It’s free to add your business to these websites, and being present on them can have a positive impact on how high up you appear in search results. If you don’t claim them, there’s a chance that the information a person is looking at is out of date or wrong, which can be frustrating if they want to get in touch with you.

We’ve put together some tips to help you use online listings as effectively as possible – read them here.

Claim your business on social media
You can also claim your business on social media sites by setting up free accounts with your brand name and logo. This makes sure that no-one else will use your business name. Try and keep your name the same across all your social media accounts (and online directories) so it’s easy for potential customers to find you. For example, if you are LT Solicitors you should always display it in this way rather than L.T. Solicitors or L T Solicitors.

LinkedIn’s Company Pages are another useful way to help increase the visibility of your website; for this, you will need a company email address, which you should be able to get free if you already have a website.

Read more about creating a great LinkedIn Company Page here.

Start a blog
A blog is a great way to show your expertise and knowledge in your industry, whether that’s floristry, baking, gardening or something else! You can set up a blog on your business website, use a platform like WordPress which is free and easy to use, or use a social media channel like LinkedIn which allows you to write longer articles. Giving your followers useful and interesting information will help establish you and your business as reputable and trustworthy.

If writing isn’t your thing, you can still share your expertise in a number of different ways:

  • Attend industry groups or events as a speaker or presenter
  • Create short films and share them on YouTube
  • Use your photography skills to create step-by-step guides
  • Start a podcast (a regular audio recording, like a radio show)

Creating and sharing useful information is a simple but cost-effective way to increase trust in your business. For more ideas on building trust in your brand, read our helpful article.

Send press releases to the local press
Local newspapers, radio stations and bloggers are all good ways to market your business for free. Writing press releases is the first step; if your business has an interesting event, special offer or something ‘newsworthy’ then type up a clear, short press release and send it to local media to be featured.

You could also invite journalists and bloggers to attend your special event, which can result in good coverage. Alternatively, you could write an opinion piece about something happening in your area or industry and submit it to the local paper or a local blog. These teams are often very busy so if you can help them with good content they’ll be happy to receive it.

Start using email
Email is an incredibly effective channel for marketing, which can also generate very good return on investment. You can set up a free account with a provider like MailChimp, which is easy to use and has plenty of templates to help you get started.

You can use regular emails and email newsletters to keep in touch with your customers, updating them about new products and services or any discounts you might be running. With email, you can send a customer information straight to their inbox, making it much more likely they’ll see it and pay attention.

We’ve got a range of articles to help you develop your email marketing – take a look at these to start with:

A tight budget shouldn’t hold you back from making a real difference with your marketing efforts. You can do more than you think with limited funds, and once you start taking advantage of the many free or inexpensive resources that are out there, the sky is the limit.

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