How to market your business when you have no time or money

If there are 2 things many small business owners often fall short on, what are they?

Time, and money.

When this occurs, one of the first activities which suffers is their marketing. However, given the fact we realise the relevance and importance of marketing to your growth, we can categorically say that this shouldn’t be the case.

So what are you to do when you’re faced with the predicament of having barely any money or time to carry out your marketing? Well why not try one of these solutions.

#1 – Outsource

Outsourcing your work is a great way to free up time and ensure certain tasks aren’t being left neglected. However, before you dive into it, you want to ensure that you outsource to the right person. Thankfully it is no longer hard to find the right person to do the work for you both in terms of skills and cost.

There are a number of resources you can use to find the perfect freelancers. Site such as PeoplePerHour, Fiverr and Upwork all host a wide number of freelancers from a range of disciplines.

What makes these websites even more useful is that you can also develop a better idea of who you’re taking on. Many of them include a review system where each freelancer is reviewed by the clients they’ve done work for. In addition to this, having such a large number of freelancers on these websites also means that prices are kept relatively competitive, making outsourcing a great solution for those on a tight budget.

#2 – Pay commission to a family or friend

While you might not realise it, help can often lie closer to home than expected. While the job market may not be as turbulent as it’s been over the past few years, there are still many people coming in and out of jobs on a regular basis. Therefore, if you have any family or friends who are currently unemployed, you could pay them to work on a commission basis for you.

A major benefit of this is that you’ll already know the person you’re taking on and their likely ability to complete the tasks you set for them. Additionally, they’re also likely to try their best given the fact they’re going to have you and your business’s best interest at heart while knowing the more productive they are, the more they’ll earn.

This kind of role would be ideal if you need to someone to sell as you can clearly track their value to your business and pay them per sale. Make sure you run them through the sales process so they are fully geared up on what to do. If you’ve found someone who isn’t as proficient in sales, then taking some time to offer them help such as tips on creating a successful call sales pitch will prove to benefit both parties.

While some people might not feel comfortable asking friends or family to work on a commission only basis, for the person without a job it will most likely be a great chance to stay busy and earn some money in the process.

#3 – Reciprocal service agreement

Here’s a great solution if you’re cash strapped and can’t afford to fork out on marketing. A reciprocal service agreement means you can trade the services you offer with a marketing freelancer for their services. This makes it a mutually beneficial agreement, but just make sure you get to know who you choose to ensure you both get work of a similar value out of it.

There are numerous ways you can go about finding someone to exchange services with. If you attend networking events, then this is a great opportunity as you’ll often find yourself around people from different sectors.

If you however aren’t massive on networking or simply don’t want to ask people you know so well, then you can find a wide range of freelance marketers on social media. Given the relevance of social media within marketing itself, it’s become a hotbed for freelance marketers and might also allow you to do a bit of research on them before putting the idea across to them.

#4 – Set up an automated email workflow

An automated email workflow can work wonders if you don’t have the time to manage incoming traffic to your website – however you do need a website a which is generating traffic in order to benefit from this.

An email workflow involves sending automated emails to website visitors when they trigger certain actions. They can be used in a wide variety of ways to ensure you engage with every visitor effectively. For example, you can create an email which is sent when a new customer signs up for the first time, or when someone downloads an e book, or even when a purchase is made. You can also nurture relations with existing customers to ensure they don’t become dormant. One of the many ways this can be achieved is by sending offers via email to encourage them to continue using your website.

This level of engagement will feel personal and timely to the visitor themselves, however it will require very little work from you once set up.

There are a plethora of tools which enable email workflows to be set up however they can vary in what they offer and how much they cost. MailChimp offer a great package for SMEs given the level of depth you can go into creating workflows while still being affordable.

Final words

A lack of time or money shouldn’t be a reason to halt your marketing. With a variety of solutions available, it’s often down to you to choose the one that’s best suited to you and your circumstances. If you’re low on money, then lean on family and friends for marketing support or service trade with a marketing professional. However, if you find time is the issue then implement an automated email workflow or outsource your work to a freelancer.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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