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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Add sharing tools to your Web site, using Add This or .
- 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).
- Write articles for online directories, trade publiciations, and local business magazines.
- Start a blog. There are free tools at blogger.com, and wordpress.org.
- Ask your current clients for referrals.
- Offer a less expensive, smaller version of your product.
- Offer a more expensive, higher-end version of your product.
- Create your own e-newsletter and send it to your clients.
- 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.
- 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).
- Keep a "swipe" file of your competitors' marketing brochures, literature, and ads. Steal the ideas (not the exact words or design!).
- 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.
- Hand out two business cards. One for the prospect, and one to pass on.
- Create a one-sentence tagline that describes your business in a memorable way.
- Add a signature line to all your email messages. Include your tagline, and offer (free guide or newsletter), as well as your contact information.
- Add testimonials to your brochures, Web sites, and ads.
- Include article reprints in your marketing materials.
- Add free content (checklists, white papers, guides) to your Web site and drive traffic to it with the articles, forum comments, and partnerships.
- 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.
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