10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Market Your Business
Every business owner needs to make the most of their marketing dollars and sometimes thinking outside the box can help you do much more with less. Here are 10 great ways to market your business without busting your bank account provided by business owners across the country. I love writing posts like this. The advice that I get from other business owners is priceless. If this post spurs some budget-friendly marketing ideas of your own, please post them in the comments below. I love to hear from you!!
1. Have a Giveaway
Tip #1- Do giveaways on Facebook, your blog, and/or other blogs that have a lot of traffic. Give away something small from your business about once a month and ask that to enter the contest, you must “like” your Facebook page. There are several free giveaway apps on Facebook that will even send the message to their followers and also run the contest by picking the winner for you. I’ve watched my fan page grown from about 200 likes to almost 3,000 likes in around 6 months just from giveaways, and I get many customers and a lot of feedback also from these giveaways.
Thanks to: Megan Andrus from My Accessory Business
One budget friendly way to market your business is to sponsor a giveaway on a blog or Facebook. I have sponsored giveaways and regularly give things away on my Confessions of a Coupon Queen Facebook page. (I call it “Win It Wednesday.”) Here’s how it works. A small business will give me a gift certificate or some product to give away to my fans, usually in the $25 value range. I plug the company at least three times before the giveaway. I use Rafflecopter to administer the giveaway. It allows me to require my fans to like the sponsor’s Facebook page, subscribe to their Twitter feed, etc. I have sponsored giveaways for other blogs and Facebook pages which, in one instance, netted me over 500 new fans. People love free stuff! And $25 is pretty cheap advertising.
Thanks to: Christine Luken of Strong Tower, LLC
2. Feature Your Customers
We are a company that designs and supplies custom embroidered patches for clients such as Boy Scouts, motorcycle clubs, fire departments, and more. I sent out an email to all of our previous customers telling them that we want to hear their story and we want to feature them on our blog. I asked them to reply with a little background about their organization and how they use their patches. I even told them if they’d like, they could send some images of their patches in use. The response was overwhelming. It turns out our customers love us! I got so many responses of stories as well as high praise.
This fosters great customer relationships. If we took the time to write about someone and promote him or her on our website, whom do you think that person is going to return to when they need the same type of services again? There’s little question. Not only that, but we get free promotion too. Everyone loves to see his or her name in print, so they share and tweet the article and tell their friends about it. If any of their friends need this service, whom do you think they are now going to use? Also, when potential customers see it, it will convince them to use us, because they will see what a great relationship we have with our customers.
Thanks to: Marisa Brayman of Stadri Emblems
3. Use Local Media Outlets to Spread the Word
If you need local traffic, contact your local media contact like newspapers or local TV stations to get your business written up by the business editor or featured on the TV and the story is usually assigned by the assignment desk. This also works for state business publications or regional newspapers.
You can also submit info to talk radio stations. Most local radio stations will trade radio commercials for gift certificates. Some will do full trades, others half trade and half cash. If you are a retailer, the trade can be product or certificates and the cash can come from your co-op advertising dollars that your vendors offer or just your cash. Don’t have time to search for your co-op dollars? Call your local radio station and ask for a sales rep. They will do the search for you as they are members of RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau) for free but want you business. You will need to give them all your vendor names in order to do the search. Most co-op dollars that do radio also do TV print, etc.
Thanks to: Tina Janke Midtown Marketing Group Inc.
4. Partner with Other Local Businesses
I, like everyone else am trying all kinds of things to get the word out about my new product. The latest thing I did was join a Gym. In particular the Gold’s Gym in Gastonia, NC. They have a program that helps promote small businesses by advertising for us if we offer a discount to their members. In addition I get a discount for myself and all my employees. Truly a round of winning.
Thanks to: Marni Peters of Idea Incubator Inc.
5. Spend $5
I’d recommend Fiverr.com as a great way to market your business on a budget. Fiverr is a global marketplace where people can buy and sell goods for as little as $5 and currently lists more than 500,000 gigs. Businesses can use anything from SEO enhancement services to promotional video making - all for the price of a latte!
Thanks to: Allison Brady or Atomic PR
6. Use YouTube
One of my favorite budget-friendly marketing ideas is employed by Expert Laser Services, an IT consultant and printer repair service that created a “Destroy Your Printer” YouTube contest. People submitted videos of themselves destroying their nonfunctional printers in creative ways: throwing printers out the window, hunting them down and shooting them in the woods, etc. The contest itself didn¹t attract the large number of entries that they expected…but ultimately created a buzz online that lead to more than 4,000 views and thousands of dollars in new sales.
Thanks to: David Langton of Langton Cherubino Group, Ltd.
7. Give Customers Something that Creates Conversations
Randomly sending some of our best fundraisers a Go Get Funding T-shirt. That surprise and low-cost gift helps to build a great relationship. And as a bonus, they’ll have a story to tell anyone that asks a question about the shirt.
Thanks to: Sandip Singh from Go Get Funding
8. Use Creative Handouts
When speaking with local organizations to even national ones, I create a personalized bookmark and give them to everyone. The bookmark is double sided with one side holding the key point of the speech and the other size a place to write some sort of goals.
These have been very successful and only cost me the ink to print and the cardstock. In using a Microsoft word document, I secure 4 bookmarks per 8-1/2×11 sheet of cardstock.
Thanks to: Leanne Hoagland-Smith of Advanced Systems
9. Stand Out in a Crowd
If you’re a woman, seeking female customers, and you’re at a meeting, trade show, sale or elsewhere, get noticed by carrying a truly unique accessory like a red purse smothered in crystals, a standout scarf made from recycled sweaters, or very bold jewelry. This works amazingly well in attracting attention. It’s up to you to move the conversation from your accessory to your product or service.
Thanks to: Lynn Colwell from Celebrate Green
10. Create Great Shareable Content
An easy and very cost effective marketing method we use at my company, Pig of the Month BBQ is to create 3-5 downloadable pdf files around free information (in our case, recipe guides, wine and beer pairings, and grilling tutorials) that are simple and created in Google docs and then shared from our website. We then contact the top 100 or so bloggers in a related field and ask them to share it with their readers as well. The bloggers get nicely done and interesting content to share and as people are reading though they see our logo, website, and a link or 2 thrown in so they can follow it back to learn more or see more recipes on our site.
This could be applied to several different business models as well and is dirt cheap. For example, a dentist might create an easy one page downloadable printout showing how long and the best way to brush kids’ teeth every day. It could be hung in bathrooms and then seen by prospective customers daily to create awareness.
Thanks to: Lea Richards of Pig of the Month
Want to get more inexpensive and practical small business marketing ideas, grab a free e-book called “Build Buzz for Your Biz, 23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed” at http://23kazoos.com.
Wendy Kenney the Founder of 23 Kazoos, a Marketing and Public Relations firm in Phoenix, Arizona, that is relentless about results. She is the bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Business available on Amazon.com, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday.