The old ‘you need to spend money to make money’ may seem like a silly excuse for investing all of your savings into one crazy idea, but the saying holds true when it comes to marketing. You shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money, though, as a little may actually come a long way when you simply need to make sure your business is noticed by the right people. Otherwise, it will be impossible to increase those sales and establish long-term relationships with the best kind of clients.

Here is a quick guide to exactly where you should put your hard-earned money in order to make a lot more of it, in the long run. Plus, you’ll avoid investing in the wrong areas and see your money go to waste, helping you to make better business decisions and finally boost your revenue.

#1 Invest in the product

It sounds superfluous but your product is the first thing you should invest in nonetheless – and it’s a good idea to remind yourself of it from time to time. It simply won’t sell as well as you thought if you haven’t taken the customer feedback into consideration or if you keep ignoring complaints, thinking it has more to do with the individual customer than any fault with your product.

A good business owner takes his or her ego out of the equation, looks at the product or brand from a distance, and alters it to work for what the market needs. Don’t fall so in love with it that you’re unable to see it for what it is; listen to feedback, show your customers that you care about them, and give the loudest voices the chance to test your new and improved product.

That way, you’re able to improve it while simultaneously building relationships that can stand the test of time – and that will give your business the right kind of marketing through word-of-mouth. It’s the kind of marketing that doesn’t even cost you anything, so put your money into fixing product problems and ensuring that it is of the highest possible quality.

#2 Invest in your customers’ needs

Content marketing is not as much about drafting lengthy how-to-articles as it is about identifying what your target audience needs help with. Whatever business you’re in, you have customers who would love your expert advice on something – and they will just love you more for being so helpful and insightful.

That’s why there are so many blogs, vlogs, and social media accounts out there; they are building relationships with their target audience by giving them expert advice. If someone finds what you said helpful, they’re sure to spread the word as they see you as an authority in the field which, again, increases the amount of exposure your business is getting.

Plus, when one of your customers are faced with the option of perhaps paying a bit less for a product from one of your competitors, they will still choose you if you’ve helped them in the past and demonstrated that you know what you’re talking about.

It’s how your brand can build a sense of trust in the customers that is so important for your reputation as a business. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on this one; invest in your customers’ needs through content marketing and they’ll be sure to both spread the word and come back for more help in the future.

#3 Remember the merchandise

First of all, it’s not a good idea to put all your money into kickass merchandise when you’re still a very young startup, struggling to find your feet and make the ends meet. As soon as you’ve got the ball rolling, however, marketing through merchandise can be a really good way to boost your exposure slightly – as well as creating a solid brand for your business.

By handing out t-shirts, wristbands, pens, etc to your hardworking employees, you’re boosting their morale while also ensuring that everyone is gathered around the same brand. It unites your business internally, in other words, and the strength from within will often find a way to shine so that people on the outside is able to see it as well.

And that’s not even mentioning the exposure your brand gets when those employees are wearing the merchandise or making use of that pen in public. Have a look at ChallengeCoins4Less, for example, for some new and unusual merchandise and try to think about it as a way to strengthen your team, first of all, and take the added exposure as a bonus.

Just remember that team-building is about more than uniting them around one brand, though, and you’d want to pay attention to the individual employee as well and show them that you care. That way, they’ll only have nice things to say about your business.

#4 Make use of influencers on social media

Now that you’ve grasped the basics, it’s time to take your marketing strategy to another level. While most business owners know by now that social media is key to boost traffic and increase your reach, many of them tend to focus way too much on the number of likes their posts are getting.

They are thinking quantity over quality, in other words, and forget to focus on who is actually sharing their posts as a share or like from the right person can have a lot more to say than a thousand likes from non-influencers.

Start your social media reach by starting to form a relationship with bloggers who write to the kind of audience you have in mind. It’s easy enough; as a baby product brand, you’d want to team up with the trillion mommy bloggers out there – and as a tech brand, you’d want to make sure you have the attention of those innovative millennials.

The idea may be easy but it’s not always that straightforward to actually form a relationship with these types of influencers. Try to interact with their content before you approach them, send them a sample of your product, and find other ways to help them out.

It’s not always going to be easy but you will be able to form a strong relationship with the people that matter – and it’s the kind of marketing that is worth all of your time and effort.

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