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21 Free or Low-Cost Small Business Marketing Ideas


When you're on a budget, marketing your business can be a challenge. Here's a solution to your marketing problem: 21 small business marketing ideas that you can use, without busting your bank balance.
  1. Comment on blogs and forums. This positions you as an expert and sends leads to your Web site. Stick to forums that match your skills. If you're a photographer specializing in annual reports, don't post on a birdwatching forum)

  2. Offer advice and help, but don't be spammy. Rules vary by forum, but many allow you to add a signature line with a tagline and a link back to your site.

  3. Add sharing tools to your Web site, using Add This or .

  4. Interview an expert and upload the mp3 file to your Web site. You can use Audacity or Garage Band to make the recording (or take out any ums and ers).

  5. Write articles for online directories, trade publiciations, and local business magazines.

  6. Start a blog. There are free tools at blogger.com, and wordpress.org.

  7. Ask your current clients for referrals.

  8. Offer a less expensive, smaller version of your product.

  9. Offer a more expensive, higher-end version of your product.

  10. Create your own e-newsletter and send it to your clients.

  11. Use the traffic you get from the blog and articles to build your mailng list. Offer something as a bribe in return for the email address (such as a free report).

  12. Develop partnerships with people or companies that offer services or products that complement yours (if you're a Web developer, partner with a Web designer).

  13. Keep a "swipe" file of your competitors' marketing brochures, literature, and ads. Steal the ideas (not the exact words or design!).

  14. Survey your customers. This can be online or by mail. It's free online at Survey Monkey. Get ideas for new products, or changes in your services.

  15. Hand out two business cards. One for the prospect, and one to pass on.

  16. Create a one-sentence tagline that describes your business in a memorable way.

  17. Add a signature line to all your email messages. Include your tagline, and offer (free guide or newsletter), as well as your contact information.

  18. Add testimonials to your brochures, Web sites, and ads.

  19. Include article reprints in your marketing materials.

  20. Add free content (checklists, white papers, guides) to your Web site and drive traffic to it with the articles, forum comments, and partnerships.

  21. Add extra value or bonuses to your products and services (would you like fries with that?). This works whether you're selling fast food or photography.
  22. Return to Article Index

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