How much of your budget is earmarked for marketing and business development? If you’re like most small business owners, the marketing section of your budget pie is pretty slim. According to Gordon Borzell, a good rule of thumb is to spend 2% of your gross revenue on marketing. This percent also depends on how many employees you have and what industry you’re in. Here are some simple and effective ways to market your business.

Social Media

Even if you’re personally against using social media (I know there are a few of you out there), your business absolutely has to use social media for marketing. Every single one of your clients, potential clients, referral sources and personal friends use social media. From Facebook to Instagram, every single social media platform can be used for small business marketing.

Chamber of Commerce

Each and every city has a chamber of commerce comprised of local business owners. For a small membership fee, business owners get to network with like-minded peers at various events. The best part is that everyone is there to further the interest in their business. There’s no beating around the bush. You’re there because you want to sell your product and/or service. Did you know the very first chamber of commerce was created in 1599 in Marseille, France? That’s a great fact to tell someone when you attend your first event.

Personal Network

The number one source of all business is referrals. People listen to people they trust. For example, if your child has to see a dentist and you want to make sure they are reputable, you would ask another parent. You wouldn’t just trust their yellow pages ad that says they treat children wonderfully. Another goldmine of referrals are your happy and satisfied customers. Small business owners are usually hesitant to ask current clients for referrals but they have to get over that fear. The best time to talk about referral business is when you’re in the midst of delivering excellent service according to Forbes.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a long-time business owner, there are always new and simple ways to approach marketing. Marketing doesn’t need to be expensive either. It’s a good idea to set aside a certain percentage of your profits towards business development as well. Using social media, joining your local chamber of commerce and mining your personal network are all great ways to get started.

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