Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Super Simple Small Business Marketing Ideas!

Working on a small budget? That's cool, me too! Here's 5 super simple marketing ideas for your small business that are sure to help and won't cost you much.

1. Use Reddit, a bare-bones social network known as the “front page of the internet,” and a very powerful tool to help get your message out there and your business noticed. Reddit's audience is very tech-savvy and responds well to good, quality posts with catchy titles. The best thing about Reddit is that it is free to use, so it fits everyone's budget! Check out this great guide from Reddit on how to promote your business through their social platform.

2. Linkedin, a great tool for networking, job hunting, to promote your content, and share ideas. I use the free version and have gained many good contacts over the years using this platform. I post about business and marketing topics along with news about my business including links, images and when possible, videos. Work on growing your connections and completely fill out your profile to get the most "eyes" on your shared content and business. I currently get about 10% of my business referrals from Linkedin. Check out this free "Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn" for a little more help.

3. Publish great content on all your social media platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, users are all hungry for your content, so post and share it! Just writing about your day is fine, but to get noticed, you'll need to include rich posts about your business, articles you recommend others read (include the link), pics and videos from you and/or your staff. Anything funny or even your favorite quote does well and usually results in RT's (Retweets) and Likes. And a weekly Friday (#FF) shoutout on say Twitter, can really boost your message and follower count! If you can't think of anything to post, then ask your staff, spouse, friends or find something interesting online. And be sure to publish often, not every minute, but at least a few times throughout the day. I use HootSuite to help manage my posts. I can sit down, and in one day, can schedule posts to go out on all my platforms on various days and times. To me it's easier when I'm "in the moment" of thinking of stuff to say rather than on the spot with writer's block. Don't make it all about you, share stuff you'd want to read and learn about, it'll help bring in new folks that you can later tell about your business or product.

4. Boost your posts on Facebook! I know it cost a little, but you can actually make $1 go along way if you set-up a good target market for your boost. Click here for instructions. A dollar over a day can get hundreds, if not thousands of people to see your post and if you include a link, many will click on it too! Boosting a post is a great way to get traffic to your website, new leads for your business and positive activity on your Facebook page that includes Likes, Shares, and even new followers. Plus, be sure to check out your Facebook Insights after the boost has finished, to see where all everyone that read your post are located. It will help you learn where to focus your next boost, ad and/or marketing efforts!

5. Create an instructional video and post it on YouTube and Vimeo. Video content is extremely valuable, and while it can cost big bucks to shoot a professional video, I find using a good smart phone or tablet works just fine. Check out this video tutorial on Wistia on how to shoot expert-looking footage on your iPhone. If you don't feel comfortable being in front of the camera, then either create a slideshow or hire someone on Fiverr to create a good, cheap video for you. Be sure to share your new video on your social sites and on your website too!

Need more ideas? Be sure to subscribe to my blog (Cheap Business Marketing For All) for more help from future or past posts. And if you need social media help, go to AustinMediaSlingers.com and fill out an inquiry about services. Be sure to mention  with your inquiry that you found 'Austin Media Slingers' on the 'Cheap Business Marketing For All' blog and you'll save 10% off any service!



Monday, June 29, 2015

For my friend Sarah Pierce, here's her PledgeMusic campaign video for her new Barbed Wire album



I'm working on a post about crowdfunding, but wanted to share my friend Sarah Pierce's new PledgeMusic campaign that starts today. She's raising funds to help in the production, printing, distribution and promotion of her new album Barbed Wire. I've been involved every step of the way including sitting in on her vocal tracks to working on Sarah's promo plan. I'll cover more next week, but today, please go check out Sarah's PledgeMusic video and then click the link to her campaign. Any help is great appreciated and there's lots of really cool donation gifts too!

From Sarah Pierce:

I am beginning to record my 9th CD, Barbed Wire. I am so excited about this collection of songs. They have each been a long time coming. Along with my wonderful band (Merel Bregante, Mike Dorrien, Carl LoSchiavo, and Doug Hudson, I have friends that have been part of my music along the way joining us…John McEuen(NGDB), Cindy Cashdollar, Cody and Willy Braun, Riley Osborne, David Pearlman, Maurizio Fassino…the list goes on. Willy and I wrote a duet on this CD and will sing it together!

It has been a long road and I would not change a thing. I have the most wonderful fans in the world, from Austin,Texas to Broni, Italy, and I am honored by that on a daily basis. Barbed Wire is going to take us a little further on our wondrous adventure together. I thank all of you for being a part of it!

Love,

Sarah

www.pledgemusic.com/projects/sarahpierce

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cloth the Homeless and Educated Masses!

So I've been kicking around this idea for some time now and if done right, it can have more than just a great impact on your business. This one's going to cost you a little, but it's still cheaper that some.

Get some t-shirts printed that feature your company logo and website. I'd go with bright colored shirts, short-sleeve if it's warm out and long sleeve if it isn't.

Now the fun part, "Distribution". You need to do this part carefully as not to seem like you're just a company pushing your brand, but yet a "business that cares about it's community". I'd make up some bags and put together a t-shirt, a bottle of water, an oat bar, etc. Once you have all your t-shirts in a "kit", pack them up and start handing them out, one by one to the folks you see panhandling on the street corners, living under bridges, etc. Chances are pretty high, especially in cold or really hot weather, that they'll add your t-shirt to their wardrobe and wear your shirt for everyone to see. What's better than a billboard? A moving billboard! You're giving instead of buying ad space!

Of course you could just hand out t-shirts to whomever your local audience might be...for instance, most starving college students will do anything for a free t-shirt even if it means jotting their name and email down to get one. Get a crowd going and the frenzy will ensue! With this method, you'll get a good mailing list with a certain demographic, kinda like killing two birds with one stone and still winning the prize!

You can always run a drawing on your website or social media page. Say you'll draw a winner daily or weekly. Winner get's some "company swag" aka a t-shirt. Or take it a step further by creating a store on your site, and the winner get's "store credit" to buy items in your store like a t-shirt.

However you decide to distribute your printed tees, the end goal is to have a living, breathing moving billboard that can be viewed by many and won't cost you a ton in the end.

Here's a couple of places I've used to print t-shirts in the past for several of my businesses and one from whom my family has worked with on various college frat/sorority projects:

Custom Inkhttp://www.customink.com
Dad's Specialty Printinghttp://www.dadsspecialtyprinting.com
Rush Order Teeshttps://www.rushordertees.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Low-Cost Marketing Idea: Create a Video

Want your business to stand out from the rest? Then you should create a video about your business or a "how-to" make/do something. Video content is very valuable these days, and while it might cost a bunch to get a professional video produced, there's nothing wrong with creating one yourself or hiring a someone from Fiverr to do it for you.

I paid someone $5 on Fiverr to create a video for me. It was simple, but fun and I used it on my website and in a newsletter I sent out to help get the word out about my web design/social media management business, AustinMediaSlingers.com There's a whole slew of folks offering video creation services that start at $5 and with extras like different video formats or longer video lengths, can go on up to the hundred dollar range. Fiverr is especially worth checking out during the holidays for a quick, cheap "Season's Greetings" message to your clients or possible customers!

If you want to do it yourself, you might try Videolicious. It's an easy online video creation service. They supply a bunch of add-ons and can even help promote your video. And Animoto offers the ability to create professional quality videos with your photos and video clips within minutes using one of their many templates. In my photography business, I used to use Animoto to create unique videos to show my work to clients. More than once, one of these videos was the reason I landed a new account!

You can also create a video easily by using programs found on your computer like iMovie on Mac or Movie Maker on Windows PCs. There's also a bunch of great apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows mobile devices. I enjoy using Pinnacle Studio on my iPad; it's a bit more difficult to use than iMovie, but it has been around since the 90's on desktops and offers better clip transitions and some cool picture-in-picture effects.

If you need a little help, I read Entrepreneur magazine and there's an article from back in May that's titled "The Idiot's Guide to Making a Video for Your Business". It's a great read and is full of useful ideas. Here's the link so you can read it as well: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233181 The video will help you produce a presentation you're proud to show the world. You can also do a general search on YouTube for how to create a business video or how to use the video editor you have on your computer. I also found a book on Amazon Kindle titled "Make YouTube Work For Your Business: The complete guide to marketing your business, generating leads, finding new customers and building your brand on... Social Media Work For Your Business Book 6) by Alex Stearn. It's caulk full of great ideas including how to create a business video.

Create your video, edit it to your liking, then upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, or even Facebook. And if you chose YouTube or Vimeo, you can also share it on your Twitter or Tumblr page or place it on your website. The more places the better! Be sure to add proper keywords in your video title to let the viewer know exactly what you're about to show them. You can also share it in a post on Twitter. And check out CoPromote; they offer a free membership version that allows you to boost one of your posts/videos at a time in exchange for posting other's tweets, Facebook posts, tumblr posts, etc. I've found it to be very helpful in boosting my client's videos and Twitter messages.

It is really that easy and can cost you nothing out of pocket to just a few dollars to produce a video that will not only help draw attention to your website or social media platform, but also to your business! So what are you waiting for... go create one right now!

Above is the video I paid $5 for on Fiverr.com

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

10 Cheap Ways to Market Your Business This Year

So here are 10 cheap ways to market your business this year.
by Brad Leese, May 07, 2014 Austin Media Slingers. It's "Slinger Tactic!"

Get free business cards from Vista Print and leave them everywhere and with everyone. Offer a discount or coupon and make sure to include all your contact info like your website, email address, phone number, name, business name, type of business, maybe an easily remembered slogan and if you have one, a logo. Vista Print offers free business cards where shipping is the only thing you have to fork over. Yes, it says Vista Print on the back, but if it really bothers you, pay a little extra and put something else back there like a calendar or just list your website address again. Also be sure to check out the other free products they offer and their business community page located here: http://ownernation.us

Head over to MailChimp, sign up for a free account, create an email collector (contact form) and then place the widget within your website to collect your interested visitors info. Once you have one or more signed up, head back into MailChimp, create a free email campaign and send out a newsletter about your business' promos, updates, news, etc. It's free for those with up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send out up to 12,000 emails free per month. See this one bit of advice that just saved you at least $10 or more per month with other like services.

Pick a charitable event, local art show, or other related/unrelated event and offer one of your products or services as a prize, donation or auction item. This not only gives you some free press, but you get to help someone or a group. It's a sure bet that the winner or recipient of your product or service will remember your business and spread plenty of word-of-mouth advertising about you and your amazing business to everyone they know.

Be king of your own empire...well, not exactly, but you can be a part of a really cool online community full of business owners just like you. Introducing 'Empire Avenue', a tool that helps drive network engagement by building relationships with the most reputable people in the world. It's free to join and use, of course there is a paid version, but you get so many benefits as a free member that I've never felt I needed to become a paying member. If you join and need help getting started, let me, I'm always happy to help. EmpireAvenue.com

Write a blog. I know, everyone always says just "write a blog" and well, you should. Its great advice that everyone should take and something that will not cost you a dime, not even a penny. Find something that you are passionate about like your business and write about it. Maybe you are a photographer, so post pictures from your last job with a little verbiage to describe what's happening in the picture. Or you might be a realtor, a blog is a great place to write about one or more of the properties you are representing with links to each listing. And if you offer something else, no problem, just write anything that lets your readers learn about you, your products or services and any news like sales, promos, coupon codes, etc. Blogger and a host of other services like WordPress offer free as well as paid blogging options.

Do something nice for someone, give them your business card and walk away. This is a suggestion I actually read somewhere and although a good one, their example of buying a drink for someone and then walking away seemed a bit weird. So instead, if you see someone in need, maybe holding a door open while they pull a stroller through or picking up something that they've dropped, then handing them your card and walking away might just work better, plus it's a free idea, which is just better and cheaper.

Post on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram page/wall, a coupon or coupon code to save a little bit off your product(s) or service(s). Even a few dollars off can make a huge impact and create some nice, free traffic to your business and website.

How about offering a free class or mini-seminar to your community or interested customers? You can create posts on your social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. to announce the event. Also printing up a few flyers that you can ask local business' and government agencies to post in their windows or on their bulletin boards works too. Most businesses are more likely to allow posted ads for free events than for paid ones.

A referral program for your existing or past customers is a great way to get lots of word-of-mouth advertising about your biz. You don't have to pay cash for the referral, in my businesses, we offer special coupons, gift bags with fun stuff inside, gift cards to local restaurants and even something free for the most referrals in a year's time. You might even ask another business to go in with you and offer each other's products or services as "thank you" gifts.

A simple "thank you" can go a very, very long way. Buy some cool 'Thank You' cards that reflect your business then hand write a note to say how much a customer's business meant to you. I used to do this for a lumber yard that I worked for by sending a 'thank you' note to the spouse of the contractor for letting their significant other shop with us. Sounds cheesy, but it kept them coming back, oh and offering a free pair of gardening gloves, a coffee mug or a coupon for $10 off their next purchase didn't hurt either.

So there you have it, ten ways to market your business on the cheap. This year holds plenty of potential wins for every business, as long as you can find a way to get the word out about your service or products.  Making it both cheap and cost-effective will help you find the most success and won't break the bank in the process.

http://cheapbusinessmarketing.blogspot.com



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Facebook Marketing Tips That You’ll Want To “Like”

Facebook Marketing Tips That You’ll Want To “Like” (via http://bestfacebookbusinesspages.com)

Few things are as easy to master as Facebook marketing. A long time ago, you had to generate leads by taking your business to the customer, but now, Facebook brings the masses to you! Learn how to capitalize on this highly effective tool for marketing…

Increase Your Profits With These Internet Marketing Tips

Increase Your Profits With These Internet Marketing Tips (via http://businessmarketingaids.com)

Are you trying to get your website out there for everyone to see? We have the best tips out there on marketing your website. Follow our helpful pointers and you will see your Internet business grow to be bigger than you ever thought possible. Read on…