How can you market your business for free?

When you're a small business owner, you may find it hard to get your name out there, especially if you offer a similar product or service as another company. Competing with an already established organization can be tough without the right tools, for which you may not have the money. However, there are plenty of opportunities both online and in the community that will allow you to market your business at little to no cost. You just need to know where to look.

"Approximately 71 percent of Internet users in the U.S. have Facebook accounts."

1. Social media
According to the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of adults in the U.S. have two or more social media accounts. What better way to reach your audience than to create a few business pages on the most popular websites. Whether you're a small business or have a large following, social media is a great method to use to catch consumers' attention. People may check their pages when they first wake up, during their commute, while on break or before they go to sleep. While they're scrolling, they may come across your page. There are plenty of platforms you can join, from Twitter to Pinterest. However, don't forget about Facebook. Approximately 71 percent of Internet users in the country have accounts.

2. Website
Social media can help you reach niche audiences, but that doesn't mean you don't need your own website. More than 95 percent of consumers visit a company's page to gain information about products or services and 69 percent claim websites influence their purchasing decisions, according to SmallTownMarketing.com. You'll be able to offer details about you and your business, descriptions of your products or services and buying options. You won't even need a Web page developer to do it. There are plenty of online sources, such as WordPress and Wix, that have free selections. They'll give you the templates and you'll just have to provide the information.

3. The community
How will you get loyal customers if you're not sure who they are and vice versa? You need to integrate yourself into the community to get acquainted with your surroundings. Hand out flyers, offer free samples, join local organizations and participate in town events. Just a few happy customers can help promote your business, Entrepreneur explained. When they have a good experience, they'll spread the word and send their friends and family your way. You also shouldn't be afraid to reach out to local media sources and surrounding companies. As long as you're not a competitor, they're usually willing to help out a fellow business owner.

Getting involved in the community will help you meet potential customers and promote your business.Getting involved in the community will help you meet potential customers and promote your business.

4. Surveys
You can't advertise to your audience if you don't know who it is. Surveys can help. With just a few questions, you'll be able to determine the demographics of your current clientele and why they choose your product over others like it, SmallTownMarketing.com claimed. SurveyMonkey and Google Drive have free services to create your own surveys online. You can then share it on your website and social media pages, as well as send it to customers' emails. Provide a small incentive, such as a discount on their next purchase, to convince people to fill it out.

Marketing doesn't have to be a pricey affair. With the right research, you'll be able to find methods that won't need to be worked into your financial plan.

If you wish to receive a printed copy of our Privacy Notice, please contact our Customer Care Center at 1-888-692-2654.

© 2015 First United Bank & Trust. All rights reserved.