Any good business owner understands that marketing isn’t just a necessary expense but rather an investment in your company. However, a common misconception is that your marketing budget has to be sizeable in order to see results, which just isn’t true.
Thanks to the online world we now live in and the countless opportunities to do your own marketing, there are plenty of inexpensive marketing ideas for small business that can help you improve your reach without spending too much cash.
Not only are these small business marketing ideas affordable but some of them are even completely free, so there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t get started.
Tip #1: Social Media Superstar
No marketing tips for small business, or big business for that matter, would be complete without a mention of social media. Consider a platform such as Facebook which had over 20 billion active members in their last count this year, and you’ll see how powerful it can be.
Create a presence for your business online and reach out to those who might want to support a small or local business. Use your social media presence to post insightful and information, offer giveaways, and get feedback about what your customers want. There’s a fine line between oversharing and spamming your followers, so be careful not to cross it.
Tip #2: Use Free Publicity
Take it upon yourself to be your own public relations manager and send out a press release to interested media about what your business is offering. Look for those media outlets in the niche that your business covers as well as local media that might be interested in supporting a local business.
Another way of getting the word out about your brand without being too pushy is to become a contributor somewhere else. By submitting articles to trade magazines, special interest papers, and marketing blogs, you’ll help to make a name for yourself and your business with a bio at the end.
Tip #3: Offer Something To Your Customers
These can be particularly handy marketing tips for small business who are yet to build much of a customer base. Use your social media or other forms of customer contact to offer something free of charge to your customers. Some examples of free stuff which might interest people are trials of your goods and services, discounts, industry knowledge or free shipping costs.
It’s important when offering something free to potential customers that you can clear guidelines and limits in place for what it means and what the terms and conditions are. Try not to give away so much that nobody needs to spend any money on your business but rather entice them to buy more by giving them a trial run of your goods and services.
Tip #4: Communicate With Customers
Too often businesses get caught up in growing their customer base and bringing new people on board, all the while their original and previous customers get left behind. Remember, these people are what helped you get off the ground and they have a good chance of returning provided you give them ongoing customer service.
Depending on how your customers prefer to stay in touch, you should make a point of communicating with them regularly. Whether it’s through marketing emails or newsletters that update them on upcoming promotions or something as simple as responding to their messages and posts on your social media accounts.
Not only is it polite to respond to these people but it also reflects a positive image that you care about your customers to the outside world.
Tip #5: Join Up With Another Business
There might be another business in your area or industry that is struggling to come up with marketing incentives on their own, so try reaching out to see how you might be able to help each other.
By joining up with another business, whether it’s related or not to yours, you can give access to each other’s customer base and develop marketing initiatives that can help you both to improve your own customer pool.
If you’re unable to fund larger scale marketing events yourself it might be beneficial to find others in the industry to share the costs. A conference, for example, can be a great way to invite customers and clients to see what your business does, and it certainly helps when there are other businesses on show who can also help with the setup and running costs.
Tip #6: Build A Free Email List
Any good business should have an email list on hand that’s constantly updated with new clients and customers. Your email list can be a basis for all of your marketing efforts so it’s essential that you stay on top of it. However, most email management services can be costly and when you’re trying to fit things into your marketing budget there’s just no space for them.
Thankfully, there are some free options out there and those offered at a low cost. The larger email management will offer their services for a small list free of charge or at a reduced price and then when you get a certain amount of contacts you’ll be charged the full fee.
Tip #7: Network With Others
Any town, no matter the size, will likely have at least one platform available for networking with other businesses and potential customers. If there’s nothing happening in your local area then it might be worth a plane fare to attend other networking in larger areas that can help you spread the word about your business and find like-minded individuals to bounce ideas off.
Some of the best marketing ideas for small business can come from others in the same position as you, so keep your ears out for help.