8 Tips to Market Your Small Business on the Cheap

It is no secret small businesses have to do more with less. But how do you get your name out there, build your brand and bring more customers to your business on a tight budget? It takes both working harder and working smarter. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Offer referral incentives. You obviously have a list of customers and likely some pretty good ones. Put these champions to work for you by offering them some sort of incentive for referring their friends and relatives to do business with you. Incentives could be cash, gift cards, or even an entry into a drawing for a more significant prize. Try to design an ongoing program that you can maintain month after month.
  2. Get involved. The more things you can participate in, the larger your network will be. Join a civic club, volunteer for a non-profit or become a part of a fund-raising effort. Make sure you wear a golf shirt with your logo when possible.
  3. Start collecting emails. Emails are an extremely cost-effective way to promote your business. It starts by collecting email addresses from prospects by offering a discount or an entry into a drawing for individuals who are willing to provide their email addresses.
  4. Offer free expert advice. Make yourself available to speak in front of civic or senior groups. Write pertinent and timely articles for your local newspaper. Create a blog that you post on your website and promote on social media.
  5. Post your business card. Many places where people gather offer bulletin board space where you may be able to post your business card or cards. These places may include diners, grocery stores, coin operated laundry mats and more.
  6. Trade services for promotion and visibility. Depending on the products or services you offer, you may be able to barter those services for advertising and exposure. Can you offer $1,000 worth of home improvements to a local radio station for an on-air promotion? A $500 gift certificate to give away through the local newspaper’s website? Media often has unsold inventory they may be willing to barter for.
  7. Ask for help from friends and family. Don’t assume everyone thinks about you all the time. Take a few friends out for lunch and let them know you are undertaking a campaign to expand your business and could use their help. Perhaps offer an incentive or discounts. Most people are willing to help promote you when asked. Have business cards and/or pamphlets printed.
  8. Talk with other small businesses. Find out methods they found effective. You may even be able to team up with them!

Of course, you’ll want to set goals and track your efforts.

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