5 {FREE} Necessities for Your 2014 Marketing Plan

5 {FREE} Necessities Marketing PlanBy Dawn Berryman

Are you a new business owner who is looking to increase your marketing efforts for the New Year, but don’t have a large budget to do so with? Has your traditional marketing budget taken a hit because of the economy? Here are five things that you shouldn’t overlook when writing your marketing plan. And, they just happen to be free!

SEO:

There are a variety of ways that you can increase your SEO (search engine optimization) for free. First, start by writing content-rich, relevant copy for your blog and/or website. Go through your existing copy and spruce it up. Take advantage of free online directories and other sites that will link to yours for free. Increasing links into your site will also help raise your site in search engine results.

Social Media:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, they’re all free and many people are using to network and successfully market their businesses. Each platform is a bit different, but the purpose is the same: connect with others. You could connect with potential business partners, future customers or even future employees. Social media allows you to easily interact, share promotional information, recruit customers and spread the word about your company. Links on social media sites can also benefit your SEO.

E-News:

Are you in contact with your customer base on a regular basis? If not, you should be. There are several sites that offer free e-newsletter services. You can place a sign-up box on your site to increase your subscribers. Then, once a month or so, you can update them about coupons, special promotions, new products and more. This strategy can increase top-of-mind awareness, and a coupon or other call-to-action can translate your subscribers into paying customers.
 
Media Relations:

Believe it or not, you can do media relations yourself. Although there are a few tricks and formatting rules to press release writing, it isn’t rocket science. With a little research and a little practice; you can do it, too. Writing interesting press releases, with engaging leads and relevant information can generate some attention if sent to the right editors. Do a little digging and make sure you are sending the release to the most appropriate person at the publication. Follow up calls and thank-you notes can also work to improve your relationships with media and improve your chances of coverage in the future. Start small and fine-tune your skills before pitching to larger publications.

Real-Life Networking:

In this digital-age it’s sometimes easy to overlook the old fashioned phone call or live networking event. Don’t. For small start-ups these grassroots networking efforts can really make a difference. Attend local meet-ups and networking events, visit your area Chamber of Commerce and see what they have to offer. Introduce yourself to other business owners and collaborate when appropriate. There is still a lot to be said for face-to-face meetings.

When trying to maximize your marketing efforts for less, it’s always best to think outside of the box. Be creative and put new spins on old tricks. By diving in, you can help push your business to the next level rather than sitting back and trying to watch it grow.

Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 11 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.

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