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College Entrepreneurs: 10 Free Marketing Tactics for a Frugal Startup Budget

Here are ten simple, no-cost marketing tactics that can propel your college business forward.

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Are you thinking of starting a business while you are in college? Possibly you already have?!

Sure, it is important to be as frugal as possible while you are studying to gain an undergraduate (or graduate) degree. But don’t let lean pockets put a damper on your ambitions to launch your big idea.

There are numerous budget-friendly ways to market yourself and your college business — from social media and networking to pitch events and even volunteering.

Here are 10 simple, no-cost marketing tactics that can propel your college business forward:

1. Chambers of Commerce

Almost every city across the nation has organizations which exist to promote small businesses. Best of all, their business and networking programs are often subsidized — which means they are primarily volunteer-driven. What better way to meet local executives than to work alongside them? Locate a Chamber of Commerce in your area using this free Chamber directory.

2. Facebook Business Page

Facebook — the world’s largest social network — currently boasts over 1 billion users. In fact “if Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest; 2x the size of the U.S. population,” according to Socialnomics. Just as impressive are the “11 million businesses that are using Facebook Pages” to market their products and services. pages on it. Claim yours to get started.

3. Twitter Business Profile

Twitter is equally as powerful as Facebook in terms of influence and reach. “Since Twitter first opened its doors back in 2006, more than 163 billion tweets have been sent on the micro-blogging social network.” Its viral nature enables anyone in the world, with a Twitter to account, to read and share your company updates; learn who you follow, what you like and even share the photos you take. It’s also a great way to learn what your customers are talking about online as you develop your company’s products and services.

4. Google Places for Business

According to Google, “97% of consumers search for local businesses online.” So why not make it easier for potential customers to find you online using Google’s free local platform — Google Places. Manage your business information and let customers rate, review and upload photos through Google’s new local search experience, Google+ Local.

5. Local Business Plan Contests

Generally, every state offers free and sponsored business plan competitions to incentivize top ideas from up-and-coming entrepreneurs. By participating in a local business plan contest you can potentially win cash, small business services (e.g. legal, funding, marketing advice) and gain powerful connections with local business leaders within your community.

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