40 Small Business Marketing Ideas That Cost Less Than $100
Dirt Cheap Small Business Marketing
Follow me on Twitter: @KyleSchee
This is a list of 40 ways to market your business for less than $100 dollars. Many of them are even free! Please share this list with your friends if you find it helpful.
1. Teach workshops or classes: Offer a free workshop or class related to your business. If you are a bakery teach baking. If you are a gardener teach kids in a local school how to plant a flower. There is always something you can offer that people will want to learn
2. Blog: Set up a blog on Blogger.com or WordPress.com. Both sites are free and provide enough to get you started. Blog about your industry. Give tips or lessons related to your field. Make it conversational and fun and provide something that people want. Think of it more as building good PR than a forum for your advertising.
3. Buy paid searches on small search engines: Advertising on Google and Yahoo can be pricey. Find a smaller search engine with less traffic. Their prices will be much lower. While it will receive far fewer hits, it can still be effective for a local business.
4. Advertise on your vehicle: Buy magnetic signs or car decals with your business info and phone number on it. You’ll be surprised how often you get a call from the person behind you at the stoplight.
5. Leave your business cards lying around: Leave business cards on the table at the restaurant you eat at, or tape a few to the gas pump. Just be careful that they don’t turn into litter or annoy anyone.
6. Send promos with invoices: You have to pay to send the invoice anyway, why not include a coupon for the next time the customer buys your product or service?
7. Use Twitter: Tweet about your industry, or interesting things about your small business. Offer special deals and promotions for your twitter friends. Make sure your website, store (if you have one) advertisements, and any material you hand out, encourages people to look you up on twitter. Be friendly, helpful and informative, and try not to sound like you are just there to sell.
8. Facebook: Create a fan page on Facebook. Just like Twitter, tell people about it and offer special deals and useful information to fans. Add a “Like button” to your website and blog to make it easy for people to share your business on Facebook.
9. Foursquare : Make your business a check in point on Foursquare. Offer promotions to people who check in at your business. Advertise that you are Foursquare check in with a sign in the window. Every time someone checks in, Foursquare will tell all of their friends about your business.
10. Squidoo and Hubpages: Similar to a blog, you can pick a topic related to your industry and write a hub or lens about it. These often rank well on search engines and many readers will follow a link back to your website.
11. Social bookmarking: Bookmark your Web pages, blogs and videos on Stumble Upon, Digg, Reddit etc. It’s an easy way to get extra web traffic.
12. Linked In: Create a profile for yourself on Linked In. Make connections, join groups and conversation and network.
13. Yelp: Join Yelp.com to get your business listed and receive reviews from customers. Better make sure you have good customer service, because Yelpers are always honest.
14. Speak at events: Learn to be a good public speaker. Speak at special events, industry meetings, community events, organizations etc.
15. Craigslist: Post your product or service on Craig’s list.
16. Press releases: Learn to write quality press releases and send them in to the local media. I stress the part about writing a quality one. Poorly written press releases go in the trash.
17. Donate your company’s time to a cause: Pick a day once a month and take employees to volunteer somewhere or hold a fundraiser for an important cause etc.
18. Get listed on Google Maps: You can list your business on Yahoo local, the Yellow pages website and Google maps for free. This will make it easier for people to find your business.
19. Create YouTube videos: Create videos with helpful tips related to your industry or business. Put any TV advertisements you have on youtube so people can share them. Or create something funny or interesting related to your product or service. Look up “will it blend?” on YouTube for an example of a low budget idea that got millions of views.
20. Podcast: Create a podcast that provides something useful for your target audience. Keep it entertaining and informative.
21. E-newsletter: Collect e-mail addresses of customers and allow them to sign up for your newsletter. Provide something funny, useful or interesting and include specials and discounts.
22. Write articles for the web and local print: You know your industry pretty well, right? Or at least you should! Write articles related to your business and industry and send them to local publications or see if the local newspaper, or a website is looking to add a new column.
23. Cross promote with other small businesses: Ask nearby businesses if they would like to exchange fliers, coupons and business cards to display on you counters. Refer customers to other businesses you have built relationships with.
24. List some products on Ebay: Offer some of your products on Ebay and link back to your main website. People looking for your products may discover your business through the listing, and you can make some extra sales in the meantime.
25. Post on industry forums: Find small business forums, or forums related to your industry. Be active, and sincere. Ask and answer questions and build relationships. Make sure to include a link to your website in your forum signature.
26. Answer questions on Yahoo Answers: Provide honest, authoritative answers on topics related to your small business. When appropriate, include a link to your website or a blog post related to the topic. Be very careful though; If you are overly promotional you will get banned.
27. Set up a referral program: Offer discounts and promotions to customers who refer new customers and business.
28. Email Signature: Include a link to your website on all the e-mails you send.
29. Join clubs: Join the local SBA, Rotary club and any other related clubs in your area. Use them as an opportunity to learn and network. You may find other business owners who are in need of your service.
30. Cold Call: Open the phonebook and start calling other businesses who might be able to use your service.
31. Network with other bloggers: After you have established your blog, make friends with other bloggers. Offer to write guest articles, and allow them to do the same on your blog. Exchange links, etc. Promote your website on local and national directories such as Directory World.
32. E-mail marketing: Send e-mails to current customers, or purchase lists of targeted customers. Provide relevant offers and see who is interested.
33. Hand Stamps: You know those stamps they put on your hand when you go into an event to let people know you paid? Stamp everyone’s hand with logo, or information about your next event or offer.
34. Write an E-book: Writing a book shows that you are an authority on a subject. E-books are easy and cheap to self publish and can be easily handed out and shared around the web.
35. Win Awards: Look for organizations that offer awards to businesses like yours. Make sure you are nominated.
36. Build Word of Mouth: One of the best forms of marketing is word of mouth. Provide excellent customer service and a high quality product and people will talk about you. Go out of your way and customers will thank you by telling others.
37. T-shirts and hats: Put your business name and info on a hat or t-shirt. You can give them away as prizes or wear them yourself.
38. Bribe Customers: …I mean, reward good customers! If you have customers who always use your product or service, make sure they know they are appreciated. Offer special discounts and rewards to loyal customers and they will spread the word.
39. Hand out fliers: Print out fliers and pass them out. Put them on notice boards and on car windshields in the parking lots.
40. Create a giant list of useful tips for your target audience: Then cleverly add your information at the end of it.
How do you market your small business on the cheap? Do you have a marketing secret you'd like to share? Comment below!
Kyle works as a social media marketing advisor to several companies in the Los Angeles area. He specializes in small business and entertainment. You can follow him on Twitter for more discussion on social media, marketing, and just general stuff about his life. Yay! e-stalking!