4 Inexpensive Marketing Tools for Small Businesses That Won't Break the Bank: Part One

Psst: part two of this blog series is available to read here.

Digital marketing can be intimidating, expensive, time consuming, and plain exhausting. But it can also grow your business dramatically over a short amount of time.

So how do you reap the benefits of digital marketing without giving away your soul?

Gone are the days where you need to hire a professional marketer to create an online footprint. Yes, professionals will help you in the long run and I still stand by hiring someone to help you if you are able to, but in the meantime, utilize these tools to get going.

First things first:

Know your audience.


You really, truly, can’t start marketing yourself if you have no idea who you want to reach.

Think about your business or offering. What type of person will benefit most from your business? Are they male or female? Are they 22, or are they 55? Do they like sports, the outdoors, video games, food, or shopping? What is their income and how do they live their life? Who and what are their priorities?

It sounds like a lot of questions, but the more you dig into it, the more focused your marketing can be and the less time you will waste.

Let’s take yoga teaching in an upscale metropolitan area as an example. Due to the location of your studio, your target audience is likely in their upper 20’s - lower 40’s, has an income of at least $70k, and since they come to your studio, they are interested in fitness. You can extend this to say they are likely interested in food, meditation, and a healthy life. They are both male and female, but perhaps they are mostly female.

Then you can hone in and create a “persona” for your target audience: let’s call her Amanda. Amanda is 33 years old, is an HR Specialist, makes $75k/year, loves yoga, running, and vacationing with her girlfriends. She is recently married and just moved into a new condo with her husband. Etc, etc. You get the picture.

Why does this matter?

If you don’t recognize your ideal client, you will be marketing too widely. Casting your net too big. And not really resonating with anyone in particular.

Now that we’ve declared our target audience, let’s get to messaging.

Messaging to Your Persona

Let’s continue with Amanda. Is she going to be interested in chair yoga? How about yin for injuries? Probably not, given her life at the moment. Instead she may be interested in healthy quick recipes, or yoga for people who work in an office.

Always consider your audience when crafting blogs, social media posts, and more as you want to truly reach them and resonate.

If you’re stuck, remember this: what problem in my audience’s life can I solve today? How can I provide value?

Once you’ve got your ideal persona and messaging nailed down, let’s get marketing!

4 easy ways to market your small business (without spending a ton of money)

4 cheap marketing tools

4 Inexpensive Marketing Tools for Small Businesses That Won’t Break the Bank

1 Find a host for your website - $ - $$

If you haven’t made a website for your small business yet, the time is now. Seriously. The #1 way to grow as a solo entrepreneur or a small business is to create your online footprint.

If you are on a budget, I highly recommend checking out Wordpress. Wordpress has hundreds of easy-to-use themes (often free) that are simple to customize and build out pages. Explore endless plugin options to add elements to your site, such as forms, pop ups, image carousels, and more.

If you are willing to spend just a little more each month, my top recommendation for all of my clients is Squarespace. Squarespace offers many, many beautiful themes that are impossible to mess up and easy to customize. You’re guaranteed a gorgeous, mobile-friendly, professional looking website.

Finally, if you are setting up a store front and need a shopping capability, Shopify is the way to go. Create products, tag them for easy sorting, and go from there. You’ll have the ability to create discounts when you want, allow for customer reviews, and more. Shopify works similar to Wordpress in that you can install Apps (like Wordpress’ Plugins) to add features to your site, such as Recommended Products at the bottom of a product page.

Honorable mention: Wix.

marketing tools for small businesses

2. Secure your personalized URL - $

Although many website hosts offer free domain names, they usually contain the host name in the URL which makes it really hard to benefit from any Search Engine Optimization efforts (think www.yogawithkim.wordpress.com instead of www.yogawithkim.com).

If you opt to use Squarespace for your website, you have the option to go through their domain services to purchase your own custom URL starting around $20/year. Shopify offers a domain service for $14/year. Wordpress offers Bluehost as their recommended domain host starting at $2.95/year.

Otherwise, I recommend GoDaddy. It’s been around for a long time and will get the job done! Search for the domain you want and GoDaddy will show similar URLs and how much they cost.

After purchase, follow instructions from your website host (Wordpress, Squarespace, Shopify) to connect your website to your domain name. Viola! You’re a professional.

Tip: There are now a multitude of websites that offer hosting features. If you’re not keen on GoDaddy, try Bluehost, Hostinger, or NameCheap. More here.


3. Analyze your website traffic - free

The easiest and smartest way to know if your website is being discovered and what people are doing on your website is to connect to Google Analytics.

All you need is a gmail account. Then, follow instructions from your website host to connect your (free!) Google Analytics account to your website.

Google will start tracking user activity. You’ll be able to see:

  • Which pages are most popular

  • How long users stay on each page and on your site

  • Where users are coming from (social media, google search, etc)

  • Which pages users are quickly bouncing from (leaving immediately)

  • And so much more!

small business marketing tips

Google Analytics is one of those tools where you can receive tremendous benefit regardless if you skim the surface or dive deep into the tool.


4. Social media business accounts - free - $

If there’s anything you do today, do this: change your existing social media accounts to the business setting or create new business accounts.

Pick 2-3 social platforms to focus on. Think about your target audience… are they on Instagram? Do they prefer LinkedIn? Or Twitter?


Decide where you audience spends most of their time online and focus there. Then, switch to business accounts.

Using business accounts such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook gives you insight into which posts are most popular and which got the most exposure. You can use that information as you create new posts.

inexpensive marketing tools small business

For example, if your post about building a playlist for your fitness class got 100 likes but your post about pumpkin pie recipes got 400 likes, it’s a good indicator you should focus more on recipes -- that is what your audience responds to.


inexpensivemarketingtool

Extra Credit: scheduling!

Once you get these four elements set up for your business, start to create a really steady schedule with your marketing efforts. Decide how much you can give and go with that.

Perhaps you blog once a week, or maybe it’s once a month. Maybe you try to post to social media 3 times a week. If so, do it consistently so your audience knows what to expect.


This is part one of a blog series on inexpensive marketing tools. Read part two next!

Most importantly, have so much fun! This is your passion - let it shine through all of your messaging and imagery.

Let me know what else might be helpful to know when starting your small business marketing efforts.

Love + light,

Kimberly

P.S. keep an eye out for a special free download on easy tips and tools to increase your marketing effort!