Good marketing isn't free, but it can be cheap.
In the digital age, with the increasing popularity of social networking sites and online communities, it is easier for small businesses to promote their services without having to spend a lot of money.
It only takes some time and ingenuity to create an Internet presence that can attract customers and keep them interested. We've compiled a list of ways to do this. They might not work for every business, but spending time trying some of them can yield surprising results.
Build a Web site
A well-designed, simple Web site gives customers easily accessible information. It can inform browsers about the services you provide, your location and the hours your business is open.
Without a Web site, you lose potential customers who use the Internet to find businesses like yours. In our fast-paced modern society, no one wants to spend time visiting a business in person without knowing about it beforehand. They want information in advance, at the click of a mouse.
The cost of a simple Web site can be as little as a few hundred dollars. Many young Web designers are looking for projects to build their résumés, and can easily be found on Web sites like Craigslist.
An Internet video costs far less to make than a television commercial. Even better, airtime on the Internet is free. If you make a smart, funny or helpful video promoting your business, and it becomes one of the most-viewed links on a site like YouTube, you are guaranteed to have an audience that far surpasses that of your local newspaper.
Viewers create communities by posting videos on their Facebook pages, e-mailing them to friends and writing about them on their blogs. Creating a YouTube channel is also an effective tool for gathering subscribers and directing them to your Web site.
What can be more cost-effective than having an online community do all the work spreading the news about your business?
In terms of cost, making a video is easy and requires very little money, especially if you do the work yourself. All you need is a little bit of creativity, a good sense of humor and a video camera.