12 Tips To Operate Your Small Business Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

When you are a small business with an even smaller budget, the idea of marketing can be quite intimidating. Money? What is that? Small business owners and those operating a startup company know that funds can be very tight and that they usually are. So tight in fact, that making room for a marketing budget can sometimes seem to be impossible. Good news for those working with such a budget – marketing does not have to cost you thousands. In fact, in most cases it does not even have to cost you hundreds. Read on as we share some valuable (and we do mean valuable) tips on how to save your business immensely on marketing.

12) Do Not Sacrifice the Quality of Content

This likely goes without saying, but just in case you are not aware of the value in quality content, I feel that it needs to be said anyway. Do not sacrifice on the quality of your site’s content. If you can find a staff member to draft up interesting and readable content for your blog then great! If you can do it yourself – even better! Free is the route you want to take here, but readability is the result that you want to achieve. Think viral-worthiness while you are drafting content. Think top ten lists, best practices for your industry, tip collections, etc. Maybe, even creative marketing ideas?

11) Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Ad Promos

Yes, ad campaigns – especially those massive ones that you see floating all over the web – can be expensive. However, as with most all things, coupons do exist. Keep your eyes peeled for ad coupons, promos and discounts for usually paid for Google and Facebook ads – it happens! You might start with some web hosting sites, which a lot of times will offer advertising discount codes as a membership offering incentive.

10) Go Social

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Get savvy with your social networking abilities. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram all boast huge marketing capabilities. Take advantage of them.

9) Get Visual

Do not discount the view ability that comes along with visual content. You are much more likely to get viewership from visual content than you are written (that does not mean that written content is not valuable too!) and so consider creating videos for your site. Instructional videos in particular are quite popular. Yes, professional quality shoots can cost you big, but amateur style (think YouTube) videos still getting massive amounts of views.

8) Infographics 

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Infographics are incredibly powerful marketing tools. Believe it or not, for the viewers they are like visual eye candy. Appealing, easy to digest and people love sharing them. Drive traffic to your site by making creative DIY infographics and links. It is cheap, easy and enjoyable to make your own – so have fun with it.

7) Breathe New Life into Old Data

If you have found that you are the only one capable (or willing) to create content for your site and you have hit a dry spell, then look to the web for creative ideas. Find an industry relevant study and make it interesting. Polish up old content and twist it in a way that it relates to your business. Revamping already viral content can be very effective at increasing viewership.

6) Customer Referral Incentives

Customer referral programs are an excellent way to motivate your current clientele to spread the word about your business. That is, not only spread the word, but spread a positive word about your goods or services. If they know that bringing in new clients will earn them credits to spend, they will work for you in a way that is invaluable. Never underestimate the influence of word-of-mouth, it is incredibly powerful.

5) Host a Contest

Hosting an online contest can also be a very valuable marketing tactic. People get very motivate for free stuff. Get creative with the contest specs and be even more creative with the prize.It does not have to be a super expensive winning, reach out to friends and family that own businesses and see what kind of sponsorships for the contest you can scrape together – it is more the principle of the matter.

4) Better Phone Services

A small business phone system can, believe it or not, become a valuable marketing tool in that it makes you more attractive to buyers. Selecting a small business phone system that makes your small business function like a large corporation – minus the big costs – will make you more appealing to potential customers., for example, allows you the ability to, with the use of the mobile app, forward incoming calls to your mobile device. It also lets you separate phone lines for other members of your business.

3) Build Partnerships

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Build partnerships with other businesses related to your industry – careful here, this does not mean collaborate with a direct competitor. You can do this by way of webinars, online promotions, special events, and even online to host some sort of combined promotional giveaway. This means twice as much recognition than if you were to host such a promotion on your own and it gives you direct access and communicative capabilities to a whole new audience.

2) Apply for Awards

You cannot call yourself the “best of” something unless you have officially been awarded such a title. That being said, get busy applying for business awards. These awards help to boost credibility and make your services more attractive to potential customers, which in the end increases sales. Note: in some cases, you might find that there are no existing awards for your industry. If this is the case, do not fret! Host your own! This will get your business tons of recognition from other industry businesses, which brings with it the possibility for future collaborations, partnerships and even more connections.

1) Host a Class or Event

Hosting a class or event can earn your business lots of positive attention. Keep the event educational and you will be more likely to gain the support of local community organizations that will allow you to advertise the class or event on their bulletin boards.

Hopefully you found some sort of value in this list of 12 marketing tactics for small businesses operating on a tight budget. How do you market your small business effectively and efficiently? Want to add to the list? If so, please share. We would love to hear from you!

John Reiley is an NYC-based senior business analyst. He has been helping small business owners plan their strategies for success since 2005. He is also a big gadget freak who loves to share his views on latest technologies and applications.


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