As a small business owner, naturally you want to take advantage of the best that marketing has to offer, but does your budget allow it? Or maybe you are just starting a business and your resources are limited. No worries! The following marketing ideas are free or very cheap so they can adjust to a shoestring budget, and they are also easy to implement. Don’t let the lack of funds stop you from reaping the fruits of marketing: attracting more customers, increasing your sales, and growing your business.
30 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Your Business
#1 Create a blog
Creating a blog is one of the low-budget marketing ideas that can help you attract new clients, but also connect with existing ones. Create valuable content crafted for your target problems: try to solve common problems they may have or help them overcome their challenges. WordPress and Wix are two free platforms easy to use and ideal for beginners.
#2 Establish your social media presence
Opt for social media platforms that your target group use and post constantly. For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner, don’t miss the opportunity to post pictures of your delicious food. Social media offers small business owners a wide scope to promote their products and services. Feel overwhelmed? Here you have 5 simple tricks to use social media the most effective way.
#3 Be present on Instagram
With one billion users, Instagram is a perfect platform to display your business. Post beautiful pictures of your products, use highlights to point out important information about your business like your company mission, customer reviews or FAQ. You can also create Instagram Stories to share relevant content. Don’t know where to start? Refer to this complete guide on how to use Instagram for your small business.
#4 Create inspirational videos
Creating videos doesn’t have to cost big bucks; you can take advantage of Facebook Live or Instagram Live options to educate your audience. If you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, you can always create a quick presentation.
#5 Send a weekly newsletter
Sending a weekly newsletter is one of the inexpensive marketing ideas that provide additional value to your customers, but also promotes your products and special offers. MailChimp provides you with everything you need to create newsletters for your customers: it’s free to send 12,000 emails per month to a list size of up to 2,000. Benchmark is another popular option for small businesses: starting at $11.95 per month, you can send unlimited emails to a list size of up to 600.
#6 Host an educational event
Hosting an educational event is an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert in the industry and offer some value to your potential clients. Plus, if you print out some flyers and post them on community bulletin boards, you can get additional exposure.
#7 Organize a contest on Facebook
Facebook Ads is a great way to maximize your Facebook business page. For instance, if you own a car wash, you can organize a contest offering a complete car wash service as a prize. Make sure you set clear contest rules and make participation a breeze. Learn here the basics on how to use Facebook Ads for your business.
#8 Print fun business cards
Not only are fun business cards an efficient way to spread the word about your business, but they are also a low-budget investment. The more people know about your business, the more potential clients you have.
#9 Start a referral program
Offer your existing clients something valuable and attractive in exchange for referring new customers to your business. It can be a discount, a sample product or a complimentary service.
#10 Promote your business using your vehicle
If your business implies frequent car driving around town, then vehicle branding is also one of the cheap marketing ideas you should consider. A car decal on your vehicle showing your logo and contact information means free advertising that will help your name get recognized in the local community.
#11 Do a cross-promotion with a business partner
Find a local business that may complement yours and partner up — for example, a gym can team up with a supplement store. Do you own a coffee shop? Partnering with the closest donut store is an excellent idea. You can offer a free small cup of coffee by bringing their receipt from the donut store, and vice-versa. Also, consider partnering with a non-profit organization by donating your time, expertise or some of your products.
#12 Become a contributor on Quora
Help people get the answers they are looking for by using Quora, a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users. That way you can drive traffic to your website and increase your sales. Remember to engage in discussions where you can provide an original response.
#13 Do a business card drawing
Ask your visitors to put their business cards in a fishbowl for a chance to win a prize. On a given day, randomly pick one or more business cards from the bowl and assign prizes –free samples of some of your products or services.
#14 Create infographics
Infographics on your website and social media are visually attractive and excellent to advertise your business. If you have interesting data to share, do it in a visual way. Use free templates on Canva to create eye-catching infographics.
#15 Be active on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has changed its algorithm and now this business social network offers more exposure, so take advantage of it. Complete your profile, write articles on LinkedIn publishing platform and interact in relevant LinkedIn groups.
#16 Participate in a charity event
Help promote or donate your time or resources to a charity event. Not only is it for a good cause, but it can increase your brand visibility. More importantly, your future customers will associate your company with a positive attitude.
#17 Consider guest blogging
Guest blogging is also one of the low-budget marketing ideas you should try out. It means that you or somebody from your company writes an article to be published on a relevant site related to your industry. That way, you can reach a new audience.
#18 Create a loyalty program
Award your customers for using your products or services regularly. For example, if you run an ice cream shop, offer your guests a card and stamp it or punch a hole on it every time they buy ice cream. Once their card is full, they can redeem a free cone.
#19 Attend conferences
Local conferences are usually free to attend, but more importantly, they are a great opportunity to network with other industry leaders and spread the word about your business.
#20 Manage your Yelp account
Having a strong presence on Yelp can pave you the way to new customers. Therefore, create an account, complete your profile and start interacting with your customers. Learn here when and how to respond to Yelp reviews.
#21 Create Youtube videos
Nowadays people often look for answers to their questions on Youtube, so make sure you create some simple videos to help people solve their problems. Likewise, you can use videos to present your business or elaborate on some topics related to your business.
#22 Organize meetups
Meetups are a convenient occasion to gather your existing customers and bond with them. After all, satisfied customers are your best sales force, and they will recommend further your products or services. Meetup.com is an excellent platform that allows you to attend gatherings in your area or organize your own meeting with people with your same likes and interests.
#23 Create an ebook
Creating an ebook that solves some of the issues your clients are facing is one of the cheap marketing ideas you should consider. Ebooks are excellent lead magnets that can help you collect emails from your potential customers and drive them in your sales funnel.
#24 Put sidewalk signs
Put a sign on the sidewalk near your business where a lot of people circulate. Use it to show your sale of the day or advertise a new product.
#25 Offer coupons
Coupons can help you attract new customers and make them return as well. If you offer a customer a coupon for a discount to use on next purchase, there’s a high chance they’ll be back again.
#26 Get press coverage
Try to get press coverage by sending press releases to local media or online portals related to your business. However, don’t be too promotional; instead, try to share your story that can have a positive impact on the community.
#27 Be present on online forums
Your customers probably use some online forums to look for specific information or to verify them. Therefore, find those places, write your answers and help them get the right information.
#28 Leverage your invoices
If you send out a lot of invoices, why not add a discrete promotional touch? For instance, include your current special offers in your email signature you use to send invoices and increase their visibility in that way.
#29 Be active in Facebook groups
Find Facebook groups relevant to your business and start adding real value by answering questions and providing necessary information. At the beginning avoid being promotional, but later on, you can add some links to your company.
#30 Remember you’re the most valuable marketing tool
Last but not least, it’s up to you to spread the word about your business and always have your products ready for display. Take every chance you get to talk about your business: you never know who is listening and what doors can open for you!
As you can see, with proper marketing ideas getting more customers and increasing your sales is not an impossible task, even on a shoestring budget. All you need is a little bit of creativity and a lot of consistency and persistence.
If you need to fill in some gaps with the marketing theory, read this comprehensive article on marketing 101 for small business.
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