By Lauren Kontos

Picture this: You’ve just opened up your very own business. You have a nice office, full staff, products ready to be sold, and the most up-to-date technology to help efficiently run your company. BUT you spent so much of your budget getting those cool rolling office chairs, you completely forgot to keep enough funds for your marketing campaign! Not to worry, while you won’t get the most high-end advertisements, you can still market yourself without putting yourself into a huge amount of debt.

The Research
Before you start investing in all different sorts of marketing channels, think of this: What is your business? Whom are you marketing to? What will be the best way to advertise your product? What is the best way to reach your preferred client? Consider these questions when trying to prioritize your marketing campaign and then do your research.

It might seem silly to do, but it can drastically impact how well your business performs. Take a company that sells baby products. Who would be you audience or target market? Well, the babies sure aren’t buying their own diapers, but their parents are. So, what is the best way to reach parents? Assuming the average age for people to become parents so around mid 20s to mid 40s we need to look at what media channels do these age groups usually follow. Do they spend a lot of time on the Internet? Do they watch TV? Do they read magazines or the newspaper? Do they listen to the car radio? All of this research is important in narrowing down how you want to spend your money.

Where to invest
Now that you’ve done your research, you can now look into where you’d want to prioritize your spending. Maybe your target audience is the average blue-collar worker who commutes everyday to work. So investing in a local radio commercial may be your best option. Or if your target audience is students, investing in an ad to be put on social media is probably the way to go.

No Cost Advertising
In this day and age, thanks to the Internet there is a plethora of ways to get your voice out there. Word of mouth is one of the easiest means to get people to know more about your business. Either from you or from satisfied customers, many people rely on the opinions and experiences of others in order to decide if they want to work with/buy/try something new.

Another way to get your name out there is networking. Do proper research and you can find many networking events around your area. Some require an entry fee, but it’d be well worth it as you gain access to a host of potential clients. The best way to prepare for a networking event is to have business cards at the ready, confidence, and your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a 30 second summary of you or your company. You want to get out who you are, what you do/offer, what makes you unique, and leave off with a question. Such as, “Hello, my name is Jane Doe. I am the owner of Office Aesthetic. We observe the work environment for a company, and determine and design a workspace that will improve workflow for the company. We provide free consultation and customize each workspace so each is unique to the company’s environment. So let me ask you, how does your organization view their overall employee output and do you think there can be an area of improvement?”

Getting your company online can greatly improve it’s success. You can reach clients without actually having to go out and search for them, and it all starts with a website. The good news about website building is that you don’t need to be a master coder in order to make one! There are plenty of free website creating sites that you can use with ease; websites like Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and much more. Most are free to use the basics for, but you can pay extra for added functions.

Social media is the newest and fastest growing form of marketing in the advertising industry. Like website building, it’s free to use but if you want to get added functions you can pay a fee for it. The main social media companies tend to use are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with a lot of them using all three. You can format how you want each media to be seen (i.e. Twitter for short promotional posts and Instagram for behind the scenes shots) and you can include graphics and images to enhance each post.

Speaking of images, you don’t need to invest or be a wiz in Photoshop either in order to make your own posters. There are free design websites available, such as Canva, where you can make any image from Twitter, to posters, to invitations. You can upload your own image or take from the graphics that they have provided.

Go to the experts
While you do have an enormous amount of resources available to you, sometimes going to a professional is the best option. Marketing is not a aspect in you business plan that you should disregard so easily. There are plenty of marketing firms available that can help you design and publish your brand out into the public. Take SunSpin Media, a local marketing and advertising firm that’s main goal is to help your company publish yourself in the best, cleanest, and professional way possible. They can help you design your own website, print media, and social platforms. They can also help you company with any film production or photography needs.

If you’re someone that may be a on the non-creative side, getting outside help wouldn’t be a bad thing. So long as you have an image of how you want your brand to be, they can help you bring those ideas to life! When it comes to your business, make sure people see it how you see it.

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