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No matter what business you’re in, marketing is a vital part of success. Clients who don’t know about your business can’t buy from you. And these days, with so many businesses competing for attention online and offline, standing out can be tough.
The good news is that there are plenty of low-cost ways to market your small business. You just need to get creative and think outside the traditional advertising box. Here are 40 great ideas to get you started:
#1 Create Content and Publish It on Your Website
You can effectively market your products or services by creating and publishing high-quality content that offers value to your target audience. One way to do this is by having a dedicated blog section on your website where you can engage with your customers and showcase your brand personality. Regularly updating the blog with engaging content, such as behind-the-scenes insights and audience engagement opportunities, can also improve your search engine rankings.
Another strategy is to guest blog on other websites with a similar target audience. By providing valuable content and promoting each other on social channels, you can get in front of new customers and improve your SEO rankings. Alternatively, you can invite other complementary businesses to guest post on your website, creating positive relationships and increasing exposure through social sharing and website links.
#2 Promote Your Business on Social Media
Social media marketing is essential for small businesses in 2023. With almost everyone on social media, it’s an opportunity to reach a vast potential client base. Paid advertising on social media can be expensive, but there are free ways to promote your business.
Encouraging clients to leave reviews on your profiles and posting content that encourages people to buy from your business are some tactics you can use. Consistent posting and engagement with followers through direct dialogue and polls can help build a community and grow your business.
You can also demonstrate your expertise by commenting on other individuals’ and businesses’ social media posts. The key to effective social media marketing for small businesses is consistency, community, collaboration, and commitment. Regularly posting interesting and informative content can make your business more well-known and satisfy your audience without spending a lot of money.
#3 Sign Up for Google My Business
Signing up for Google My Business is a low-cost marketing strategy that can help you attract potential customers. By creating a free profile, you can add contact information, business hours, photos, and a list of services.
Your profile also has analytics to help you understand how visitors interact with you. A Google business page is essential, as profiles are often displayed alongside top organic search results when someone searches for products or services like yours online.
If you have a local business, a Google Business Profile is one of the most effective free marketing strategies available, allowing businesses to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the right-side Knowledge Panel for branded searches.
#4 Attend Local Events
Attending local events is a low-cost way to promote your small business. By attending these events, you increase your visibility and have the opportunity to network with potential clients and other small business owners.
Trade shows, community fairs, and networking events are great events to attend. Make the most of these events by bringing business cards and promotional materials, engaging with attendees, and following up with contacts afterwards. Staying involved in the local community and building relationships with other small businesses is also important.
Consider partnering with local businesses to create discounts or coupons for customers. Hosting an event or class to attract new customers while educating them about your industry is also a great option. Post digital flyers on your social platforms and print some flyers to post on community bulletin boards at local establishments. Remember to attend events with an open mind and be willing to collaborate with others.
#5 Offer a freebie
A freebie (also called a lead magnet or opt-in) is a great low-cost way to promote your small business. Once your freebie is created, you simply add a landing page on your website (or use free options such as Mailerlite) that offers your freebie in exchange for a potential client’s contact information.
This resource can be anything from an eBook to a discount code. Here’s a step-by-step approach to setting up your freebie:
- Determine your target audience and what they would find valuable.
- Design a visually appealing and professional-looking landing page with a clear call to action.
- Offer your free resource in exchange for their contact information.
- Use regular email marketing to keep in contact with your subscribers and offer additional resources or sales pitches to convert them into paying clients.
You can find a more detailed article on creating lead magnets here.
A freebie can significantly increase your chances of customer conversion and generate organic traffic to your website. It’s also a great way to build your email list and establish relationships with potential clients.
Here’s an example of one of mine (feel free to sign up if you’d like to receive regular marketing tips direct to your inbox)
#6 Join Community Groups
Small businesses can greatly benefit from joining community groups as a marketing strategy. By joining groups on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Quora, and Reddit, you can connect with potential clients without spending any money.
However, it is essential to identify the right groups that are not only relevant to your business but also active and engaging. To effectively promote your business within the group, engage in conversations and offer valuable information and advice for free. Do not join groups just to promote your product or service.
Instead, showcase your knowledge and build relationships with fellow community members. By contributing valuable and helpful information, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and gather a network of connections.
Additionally, consider joining face-to-face networking groups in your community and becoming a member of business organisations. Remember, talking to people and building meaningful relationships is key to winning in community groups.
#7 Host Customer Referral Programs
You can implement customer referral programs to promote your business by incentivising your existing clients to bring in new ones. Referral programs can offer discounts, free gifts, or other perks to encourage clients to refer friends and associates.
For example, I offer my existing clients a 15% discount on their next invoice for every successful referral. Referred clients are often more loyal and spend more on purchases, making them valuable for your business.
To create a successful referral program, you can use free online programs to keep track of referrals and offer a small percentage of sales or a set cash amount to those who refer customers. According to this article from Forbes,
#8 Use Social Sharing Tools to Promote Your Content
Social sharing tools are an essential part of marketing for small businesses. They allow you to enhance your content and reach a wider audience. Here are five social sharing tools that you can use to promote your content:
- SEMrush: SEMrush is a keyword research tool that allows businesses to identify the keywords their competitors are ranking for. You can create better content that outdoes your competitors by using these keywords.
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs is another keyword research tool that allows you to identify the keywords your competitors are ranking for. It also provides information on backlinks and content analysis.
- UberSuggest: UberSuggest is a free keyword research tool that provides keyword suggestions and content ideas. It also provides information on search volume and competition.
- Moz: Moz is a suite of SEO tools that includes keyword research, link building, and content analysis tools. It also provides information on site rankings and domain authority.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to schedule and publish content across multiple social media platforms. It also provides analytics to help you track the success of your social media campaigns.
#9 Create Informational Videos
Informational videos are one of the most effective marketing tactics in 2023, and this study from TechSmith found:
First, identify the target audience by considering their interests and needs. Then, select a topic that will provide value to the audience, such as how-to content or product demos. Create a script outlining the main points to be covered, but allow some creativity and personality to shine through.
When filming, ensure there is enough light in the room, and the background is free from distractions. Edit the video to include a branding message and a strong call to action before promoting it on YouTube, social media, and your website. Creating high-quality video content is easy and cost-effective with today’s personal devices and social media apps.
And by investing time in videos, you can catch the attention of potential clients searching for informational videos. Remember to read up on SEO strategies for each platform to ensure the work pays off.
#10 Share Client Feedback
Sharing client reviews is a valuable and low-cost way to promote your business. Reviews can build trust and drive word-of-mouth sales, especially for local businesses. And it’s important to encourage customers to leave feedback on platforms such as Google, Amazon, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
Responding to reviews, both good and bad, in a positive manner can also help build customer loyalty. By sharing positive reviews on social media and review sites, you can spread awareness about your brand and attract new customers. A study by G2 stated:
#11 Create Custom Banners
Creating custom banners to market your small business on a budget can be a great way to attract clients. First, determine the size and material of your banner based on where it will be placed.
For outdoor use, choose a durable material like vinyl. Next, create an eye-catching design using tools like Canva. Use bold colours and clear fonts to grab attention. When it comes to placement, choose strategic locations like busy street corners or near your business location to maximise visibility.
Don’t forget to include important information like your business name, logo, and contact information. With a little creativity and planning, custom banners can be a cost-effective way to promote your business.
#12 Advertise Your Business on Apparel
Advertising your business on apparel can be an effective marketing strategy to get your brand out there. When choosing the right type of apparel, consider your target audience and the purpose of the clothing. T-shirts are popular, but hats, hoodies, and jackets can also be effective. Make sure the apparel is of good quality and comfortable to wear.
Designing the logo is a crucial step in this process. Keep it simple, eye-catching, and reflective of your brand. Choose colours that complement each other and make the logo stand out. You can hire a graphic designer or use online tools to create the logo yourself.
Finding a printing service is the final step. Look for a company that specialises in custom apparel printing and offers a variety of options. Compare prices and quality before choosing one. Some popular printing methods include screen printing, embroidery, and heat transfer.
#13 Run Contests and Giveaways
Running contests and giveaways can be a great marketing tactic for your business. But to ensure success, it’s essential to set clear goals and rules, select relevant prizes, and promote the contest through social media and email marketing.
Contests and giveaways should ideally contain your products or services and require participants to like, follow, or tag your business to get your name out there. Offering something free is vital to getting your audience interested.
Co-sponsoring a contest or giveaway with similar businesses in your industry can also help drum up interest in both companies.
#14 Create Infographic Campaigns
Infographics are a powerful marketing tool that can help your small business stand out. Choose a topic that resonates with your target audience to create a compelling infographic campaign.
Next, gather data from reliable sources. Once you have the data, it’s time to design the layout of your infographic. You can use free tools like Canva or Visme to make the process easy and affordable.
Remember to keep the design simple, visually appealing, and easy to understand. Finally, promote your finished product by sharing it on social media, your website, and other relevant platforms. Infographics are highly shareable, so encourage your audience to share them with others.
#15 Promote Your Business With Yell Ads
Yell (formerly Yellow Pages) are a directory of businesses organised by category and location. Despite the rise of digital marketing, Yell can still be an effective way to promote your small business.
To create an effective Yell ad, choose the category that accurately reflects your business. Use attention-grabbing headlines and include all relevant contact information, such as phone number, address, and website. The benefits of using Yell ads include reaching a targeted audience and increasing brand visibility.
However, there are potential drawbacks, such as limited space and the need to stand out among competitors. To make the most of Yell, consider investing in a larger ad size or including a special offer.
#16 Host a Trade Show Booth
Depending on your personality, trade shows can be an exciting way to promote your business (for an introvert like me, it would be a nightmare). However, to create an eye-catching booth display, bring captivating media materials such as posters, banners, flyers, and business cards.
These should include your company logo, URL, message, and social media. Use the event to develop business relationships with industry experts and speak face-to-face with potential partners and allies. Attendees are potential buyers that are likely already interested in your industry, so showcase your product and capitalise on the atmosphere of these trade shows.
Engage with attendees by offering your services as a public speaker at the event or donating a few of your products for a raffle or fundraiser. Don’t forget to contact exhibitors and attendees you’d like to talk to a few weeks before to arrange a meeting during the event.
After the event, follow up with potential clients and partners. Send personalised emails or handwritten notes to thank them for their time and express your interest in continuing the conversation. Attendees are often overwhelmed with information during the event, so following up after the event can help you stand out and keep your business top of mind.
#17 Run a Promotional Email Campaign
Running a successful promotional email campaign for your business can be a powerful way to increase sales and build brand awareness. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Build your email list by offering something of value to your target market in exchange for their email address, such as a downloadable guide or toolkit.
- Put thought and creativity into your subject lines to grab your readers’ attention.
- Make sure every email has an offer that encourages your readers to take the next step, such as visiting your website or making a purchase.
- Use inexpensive email tools like MailChimp or Mailerlite to segment your audiences, schedule automated emails, and track your performance.
- Experiment with emailing out newsletters and other promotions to your database, and use marketing automation to make the process easier.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is undoubtedly one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your small business in today’s digital landscape. By optimising your website and content for search engines, you can increase your online visibility, attract organic traffic, and ultimately grow your business without breaking the bank.
Unlike paid advertising or traditional marketing methods, SEO focuses on organically improving your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). This means you don’t have to pay for each click or impression, making it a more sustainable and cost-effective long-term strategy.
One of the primary advantages of SEO for small businesses is its ability to target a specific audience. By conducting thorough keyword research and optimising your website accordingly, you can ensure that your business appears in front of potential customers who are actively searching for products or services like yours. This targeted approach maximises the chances of attracting qualified leads and converting them into customers, making every effort and investment in SEO worthwhile.
Read more about the top SEO trends for 2023 here.
Webinars have emerged as a highly cost-effective and powerful promotional tool for small businesses. A webinar, or web-based seminar, allows you to connect with a large audience online and share valuable information, expertise, and insights related to your industry or niche. Here’s why webinars are an excellent cost-effective strategy to promote your small business:
Firstly, webinars eliminate the need for physical venues, travel expenses, and logistical arrangements that come with hosting in-person events. You can reach a global audience from the comfort of your office or home by leveraging online platforms and communication tools. This significantly reduces costs associated with venue rentals, travel, accommodation, and catering, making webinars an affordable option for small businesses with limited budgets.
Secondly, webinars offer scalability and the potential to reach a larger audience. Unlike traditional seminars or workshops with limited seating capacities, webinars allow you to accommodate a virtually unlimited number of participants. This scalability enables you to expand your reach, attract a diverse audience, and generate leads from various locations.
Collaborations have proven to be a highly cost-effective way for small businesses to promote themselves and reach a wider audience. By partnering with complementary businesses, influencers, or industry experts, you can tap into their existing customer base and gain valuable exposure. Here’s why collaborations are an excellent promotional strategy for your business.
Firstly, collaborations allow you to leverage your partners’ established audience and credibility. This targeted approach ensures that your promotional efforts reach the right audience, increasing the likelihood of conversion.
So there we are, 20 cost-effective ways to promote your business in 2023. Equipping you with a plethora of strategies to propel your business forward. From leveraging the power of social media platforms to harnessing the potential of content marketing and networking, these techniques have been proven effective in enhancing brand visibility and attracting new clients.
By implementing these methods, you can maximise your marketing efforts while minimising your expenses, making them ideal for businesses of all sizes. Remember to tailor these approaches to suit your specific industry and target audience, allowing for personalised and impactful campaigns.
As a Virtual Marketing Assistant specialising in content and copywriting, helping businesses attract and nurture their ideal clients to grow their sales lights me up. Drop me a message today if you need help identifying your perfect client, perfecting your messaging, or marketing your services.
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