How to Market Your Business While Maintaining Your Budget

Marketing a business

Marketing your business can be difficult to say the least. With 2020 posing challenges for many small businesses, it may be time to consider ways to market to a wider audience while also saving money. From business closures due to the pandemic to paying your employees, it may seem like you can never catch a break.Thankfully, due to the digital era, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the internet to market your business successfully. 

Need some great ideas to help you make marketing a priority? We’re here to give you a list of inspiration!

1. Social Media

With Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn becoming popular social media platforms, it is an excellent move to make a business account on these platforms. There are also exclusive features for businesses on these sites. Start by building an audience and following other local businesses or loyal customers you are in touch with. You can potentially partner with other businesses and ask them for a shoutout or to tag you on a post. 

After you’ve built an audience you can work to keep them engaged by creating fun content. For instance, Instagram has a story feature where you can post for 24 hours until it expires. Stories appear at the top of a users page– meaning they are more likely to see it over a post. On the other hand, LinkedIn is great for networking and making business connections. If you are able to manage your time correctly, you can use as many social media sites as you’d like for free.

2. Google My Business 

Google My Business (GMB) offers small businesses a free account– essentially Google wants your business to succeed and be able to compete with larger businesses. When you create a GMB account, you have access to enter all the necessary information your business needs like the address, phone number, and name. You can connect with customers through Google search or maps and create a great first impression. With Google being the largest search engine in the world, creating a business page will most definitely get your name out there in your local area. 

Make sure to fill out all the necessary information on Google My Business. Additionally, optimize your business page by using keywords you want your business to show up for. For example, if you are a yoga studio you may want to include “hot yoga” “yoga membership” or “ vinyasa yoga”. That way, when users are searching for any of these terms, your business listing will show up!

3.  Create a Blog 

Blogs are great opportunities to extend your digital marketing strategy by implementing keywords and building your SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization and with more keywords, you could rank higher amongst other businesses. A blog is a great way to build your SEO and get more potential customers to visit your website– meaning more future sales.

4.  Build Reviews 

Reviews are a driving force behind consumer decisions. A positive online reputation is so important these days. Yet, with so many review sites out there, it can be difficult to keep up. Most review sites offer free business profiles. Everyone has heard of Yelp reviews; they seem to run supreme as one of the biggest review platforms in the US. Yelp cannot be overlooked as the company made over $900 million in revenue in 2019 alone. Additionally, sites like Google and Facebook also offer customers to write reviews for your business– meaning you will reach a wider audience. 

5. Create Ads

Once you feel you’ve built an audience on social media and the internet, you can begin making ads. There are many different types of ads that are available to your business. Facebook and Google are your best bets to target the customers you truly want. The best part is you can put a small amount of money towards your ad spending in order to experiment with what works and what doesn’t.  

If you’re feeling intimidated or confused by ads you can hire a digital marketing agency to help you get started. For instance, if you are a law firm that handles DUIs, you can invest in DUI lawyer marketing to get the ball rolling. You can also work with someone to get a low rate!

6. Offer discounts and create great customer service

Lastly, customers love discounts, so try to offer an incentive to get them to start business with you. Anything that gets customers talking about your business and the great deals they’re getting! Additionally, once a customer decides to do business with you, ensure that they are pleased with their service. There is nothing worse than having a first-time customer leave a bad review on something that could have easily been avoided. 

Ways I Looked for the Cheapest Long-Distance Moving Options Near Me

So, about three months ago, I had to move across the state for my work. I landed that big promotion I had been chasing after for like a year, and they reassigned me to a different office. That was great because, you know, new possibilities, more money, all that fun stuff.

It was also lowkey hell because I suddenly had to move all my stuff in a really short time, and I had a lot of stuff. You wouldn’t believe the amount of loose paper I suddenly saw all around me. So, I had to find a good long-distance moving company, and I needed a cheap one, because the new paycheck figures were still some time away. So, what did I do? It was my first time moving so far, so I naturally panicked and searched everywhere. Here comes a brief recap of what I did and how that turned out for me.

First, I asked for recommendations

Naturally, the first place I turned to be my family and friends. Some of them had previously moved long distances, and my aunt and uncle even had some cross-country relocation adventures. Let me tell you, this strategy is a mess.

Everybody has a different recommendation to give, and everybody disagrees with someone else you asked, even if they don’t have any actual personal experience with that company. It was literally like one of those arguments on the internet, and I even found one at this link when, exasperated, I actually asked Google if asking for help from friends was the right idea.

So, this first round of scavenging for info netted me a list of about a dozen different moving companies and apparently none of them were good enough to warrant a universal agreement. My uncle who moved cross-country even told me to “chuck it all and just pick for yourself”.

Next, I googled things

Like any disgruntled young professional, I decided “These people have no idea about this!” and took my problem to the netizens. Boy, was that a storm! Suddenly there were strangers from different countries feverishly debating my situation, something I only ever saw on Twitter.

I got a bunch of advice for checking out Glassdoor, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, tips on going places for free cardboard boxes (life hacks level up), and crash courses on trucks and gas pricing. I got stories about Great Guys Movers, Bad Guys Movers, Fake Guys Movers, and figuring out if my estimators were trying to scam me out of my money (thanks for the new phobia, internet).

At that point I figured I would just shut down my browser and go traditional.

So, I flipped through the Yellow Pages

That was by far the worst approach. Not to be unfair to printed media and paperback advertising strategies here, don’t get me wrong. I do actually find some handy leaflets in my mailbox every now and then.

But when you need to find a specific service within specific parameters, the Yellow Pages and all of their possible cousins will give you way too much information to filter through. I couldn’t believe the sheer number of people who were in the moving business in my area.

There are some arguments over whether phone book advertising is dead, like this one here: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/yellow-pages-vs-digital-marketing-is-the-phone-book-really-dead/516574/

Don’t you believe them. It is alive and kicking, my friends.

There were widely known professionals, there were small-scale amateurs who had more or less of a renown in the community, and there were these individual gigs that all sounded potentially shady (even though I’m sure not all of them are in reality).

Instead of clearing up the confusion in my head and helping me fit my move into my budget, all this did was muddle it up even further.

Finally, I flipped out and did what my uncle told me

All of this searching around took me a little less than a week, and I was in a pinch with time, considering that I needed to move everything and settle in before starting at my new position. I’m one of those people who can’t function if half of my stuff is chilling in the hallway.

So, in the end, my uncle’s advice turned out to be the best. I put down on paper six or seven companies that sounded best to me, and then googled each of them and their reviews. That narrowed it down to four, so I got them to come to my place over four days and give me on-site estimates.

I asked a lot of questions and let me warn you: slam the door on anyone who doesn’t answer clearly and patiently. I settled on one, worked out the details, and packed in one day.

Moral of the story is, you are really on your own. Things like recommendations from your family and friends, or browsing the online reviews, or even going through the phone book, can give you some ideas, and some of hem of what can be really helpful. But the decision is yours. Come up with a budget that you can handle, figure out what additional services you need, and go from there. My best advice is to be friendly with whichever company you settle on and see if you can pay your tab in a few increments instead of all at once.

Where do you draw the line?

Unless you are the dumbest person in the world, you probably have realized I’m not the biggest fan of debt. I think it’s pretty stupid. I don’t even believe in such a thing as “good debt.” Although I’m a pretty avid debt puncher, I do compromise on two issues…

Home

So I guess houses are kind of expensive. The median home price in my zip code is $708,000. Even if Girl Ninja and I were able to stock away a whopping $50,000/yr in savings (which we aren’t), it would take us over 14 years before we could buy a house with cash. And that’s assuming home prices don’t increase during those 14 years we save. While we do plan to have a sizable down payment saved before buying a home, we plan to take on a reasonable mortgage. Yeah, I know. I totally compromise my debt punching for a quality of life boost. To those of you that plan to pay cash for a house, I respect you greatly, but I simply don’t share your vision.

Medical

This one goes without saying, and I assume most of you would agree. If for some reason the crap hit the fan and I was faced with a decision between death or debt, I’m gonna take on some debt. That said, I am doing what I can to ensure I never have to be faced with that choice. I pay a pretty penny for health/dental/vision insurance each month, not to mention I have a decent chunk of change sitting in an emergency fund. My insurance and savings should prevent the need for medical loans, but on the rare chance I needed to buy a new kidney on Ebay, you better believe I’d do so. Side Note: How much you think a kidney goes for? $50K? $100K?

That’s it. Those are the only two areas of my life I foresee incurring debt. I realize my stance may be extreme for some, and for others it’s probably not strict enough. And this leads to today’s question….

Where do you draw the line?

What type of debt have you sworn off for good?

What type of debt are you comfortable with?

Do you think you’ll finance your next vehicle?

At what point does debt go from being logical to being ridiculous?

p.s. click the “dumbest person in the world” link in the first sentence for a special treat 🙂

Talking finance with Girl Ninja

I have some great news to share with you. Girl Ninja was able to survive a grueling 45 min conversation (with me) about finances last night. I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but Girl Ninja is not the biggest fan of talking about money (I know she’s a freak). She knows that these conversations are important, but it doesn’t necessarily mean she is excited to have them.

I can’t really blame her though. If she wanted to chat my ear off about what happened on the most recent episode of The Bachelor, I probably wouldn’t be that excited either. In fact, I would be quite miserable. So now I sit here trying to think of ways to make finances more appealing to Girl Ninja.

Here’s what I got so far…

1) Sneak Dave Ramsey podcasts in to her iTunes playlist for when she goes running

2) Send her text messages every hour with the latest report on the S&P 500’s performance

3) Crawl underneath her bed, wait for her to fall asleep, and then begin blabbing all of my profound financial knowledge in hopes that she subconsciously retains some of the information.

4) Start telling her that I have a crush on all you female PF bloggers (in hopes that she will become super jealous and start a PF blog of her own).

All pretty good ideas right?

Seriously though, Girl Ninja and I both suck at disusing finances. She is guilty of not really wanting to talk about it (even though she knows it’s important), and I am equally guilty of being a huge PF dork and wanting to overwhelm her with a wealth of information all at one time.

I need to do better. I need to speak “finance” in a way that is appealing, or at least less miserable, for Girl Ninja. I don’t want PF to be something she has to suffer through. It would be unfair of me to demand that she shares my enthusiasm for personal finance, that’s not the way she was wired and I can’t be mad at her for it.

So now I would like to pick your brain and ask you some questions…

  • In your current, or past, relationship did you have a healthy level of communication when it came to money or was one person responsible for the finances?
  • How do/did you go about initiating financial discussions?
  • When you do talk money, what are some areas that you focus on?
  • How do you know how deep to go, so you don’t lose the other persons interest?
  • Anyone out there been on the Girl Ninja side of the relationship, where you really had no desire to talk money?

I’m sure I’m not the only person that has been in this situation so I would love to hear from you all!

F.Y.I. girl ninja is completely debt free, has money in the bank , and a steady job so she’s already got the fundamentals down.