Low Budget Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business
As a small business ourselves, we know how much low budget marketing ideas are needed when you are a small business. There are so many marketing tools and strategies out there. However, the marketing budget does not offer an endless supply of money. This means you need to think carefully about how you spend your marketing budget and what on.
In this checklist we have put together some of our favourite low budget marketing ideas to attract new customers to small businesses, just like ours. Have a read and see which ones could work for you.
- Posting on Social Media
Use your spare time to post on social media pages. Think about where your audience are and what platforms they use. Then share relevant and engaging posts that they want to see. This could include photos of your products, testimonials from clients, top tips, links to blogs and more. These posts will keep you active and present online.
Cost: No cost, just your time.
2. Invoice Promotions
The great thing about an invoice is that it is going to someone that knows your business and what you do, and they like it. That is why they have received an invoice and are paying for it. Why not add in a little upsell promotion with the invoice. This could be money off an additional service, or a small add-on product. Why not ask the client to recommend your business to a friend. Then give them and the friend money off the next order?
Cost: There are no additional financial costs, but you will need to invest your time to create the promotion to go with the invoice.
3. The Media
Local media love local stories. If you can give them local stories you will often be able to feature in local newspapers and radio stations for free. Listen to your local radio station and the topics they discuss. Call in to give you view as a local business and how it has affected you. Contact your local media and press to tell them the areas you specialise in. Ask them to contact you if they have any relevant topics in the future.
Cost: There will be no cost for a good news story in the local press or on the radio. However, you may choose to pay a small cost to have an advert alongside your story in the newspaper.
Marketing Videos are a great way to show your audience who you are. The saying goes that ‘people buy people’ so show who the people are behind your business. Videos are great for SEO and they are really good content for your website as well as social media. Set yourself up a YouTube channel and get going. These could be How to Guides, the services or products you offer, customer testimonials, top tips and more.
Cost: It is free to make your own videos and you can pop them on YouTube for free too. If you are account gets big enough you may even find that sponsors are willing to pay to be part of your videos!
Infographics are information in pictures or graphics. This could be a top ten tips, a guide to do something or even some stats, for example. The infographic can be uploaded to your website with a blog post that goes into the content in more detail. You can then share your infographic across your social media platforms, and it will link back to the blog post on your website.
Cost: While it is free to make the infographics, they can be tricky. You may choose to hire the services of a local graphic designer to help you get the infographic just right.
6. Online Workshops
Why not create shorter workshops or small sessions to introduce your longer courses and workshops to your audience. These could be offered for free. Give your attendees loads of great information but keep some golden nuggets back too. This way attendees are pleased they attended but want to attend the paid workshop or course to get to that next level of education.
Cost: There is no charge for the venue or beverages as its online. Dependent on the number of attendees and length of session, you could run the online workshop for free via Zoom or Teams.
7. Ask for Referrals
Do you know who your target audience are? What does your ideal client look like? Think about who you want your next client to be and ask people to refer that person to you. You could ask for referrals when you are out networking. When your complete work for a happy client you could ask for referrals to their business contacts that also need your services. You can also post on social media asking for your ideal client or customer.
Cost: Posting on social media or asking happy clients for referrals is completely free of charge. However, the most successful way to get referrals is usually through networking but this can be costly, dependent on the networking group you chose to join.
8. Case Studies
Why not ask your existing clients to share a case study with you? You can lead the direction of the case study with your questions. For example, ask why the client came to you in the first place and what their pain points were. The middle of your case study needs to look at what you did for the client and how your service or product resolved these pains. The case study then ends with a testimonial from the client about how the service or product has helped them.
Cost: There is no cost for a case study as you are speaking to an existing happy client. The case study will then show other potential clients how you help resolve the pain point they have too. You may choose to have the case study researched and written by a copy writer which will be a small cost.
Competitions and giveaways are a really great way of building your audience. You could ask your audience to share and comment on a social media post, for example. Alternatively, why not encourage people to comment on your blog posts, then a winning comment and contributor are chosen at random. You could also offer a competition in the local press if the prize will be suitable to lots of people.
Cost: Using competitions and giveaways as a marketing idea for your small business is a great idea and will cost as much or as little as you want. You choose what you are giving away, so you choose how much it will cost you. It could be a free product, a bunch of flowers on Mother’s Day or a free ticket to your next event for example?
10. Business Partnerships
Have a think of similar businesses to you that you admire. Look for businesses that are like you in their values and target audience but have different offerings to you. For example, a wedding make-up artist would be a good business partnership with a wedding hairdresser. Someone selling second-hand cars could link up with a MOT garage, and a financial advisor with a will writer. These are just some examples of good partnerships. You can then advertise in magazines together, share leaflet deliveries and attend events for the other.
Cost: You will either get double the marketing from your budget, or you will half the cost of your existing marketing costs by splitting it with your business partnership.
11. Email Marketing
When you have regular customers that love what you do, and a loyal following – email marketing is the next step for your marketing. Invite people to subscribe to your newsletter and offer free tips, special offers and news that is hot off the press. You need to have a strong reason for people to want to join your newsletter. A monthly or quarterly email newsletter as part of your marketing campaign is a good idea as it is not too frequent. You could then set up automated email marketing communications after people have placed an order, visited your website or similar.
Cost: The are lots of different email marketing tools out there. All offer different benefits and cost different amounts. We will happily chat with you about the best email marketing tool for your business, needs and budget.
12. Online Networking
While we are still in a global pandemic, face to face networking is no longer be possible. However, there are loads of brilliant online networking opportunities to look out for. Some of these are free to attend, others are a cost per virtual event. There are some membership networking events where you need to be a member to join. These are great ways of promoting yourself to a small number of businesses in your local area.
Cost: Give a few a try, some paid events, and some free events. You will find the online networking event that best suits you. These could be no cost events or £10 per events right through to £1,000 a year membership groups.
13. Elevator Pitch
Take the time to really nail your elevator pitch. When you are out and about you will often be asked what you do for a living. This could be in the supermarket at the checkout, or when you are working from a laptop in a café. Your Mum’s neighbour may even ask when you pop over with the weekly shopping. You need to make sure your elevator pitch explains exactly what you do, the sort of clients you are looking for and how to get in touch.
Cost: It will cost you nothing to put this together but could make you a fortune when giving it to the right person. Make sure you run your elevator pitch past a friend to get their feedback.
14. Apply for Business Awards
Business awards are a great way of reminding yourself how great you are. However, they also show your target audience that you really mean business. Having an award winner or finalist logo is a huge tick when it comes to credibility. Completing the awards application also gives you a chance to look at your business and areas where improvements can be made.
Cost: There are some business awards that are completely free to enter, and the awards ceremony will be charged for your meal and entertainment. Other awards can cost a couple of hundred pounds to enter. Check the cost of the award before you spend your time filling in the application.
15. Online Listings
Look for places where you can list your business online for free. This could be in local business listing, on yell.com and Google me business, on industry forums and more. Just Google ‘business listing websites’ for ideas and links to post your business. Having listings across the internet will help you be found, wherever your audience are. Some of these listings will also help you boost the SEO of your website too.
Cost: There are lots of free business listing websites so post your business on these first. The larger and more industry related websites will cost though. Every website is different, so do not be afraid to ask the question.
16. Start A Podcast
Businesses are increasingly using podcasts to improve their prospects, boost brand awareness and increase knowledge about their business, services, or products for their target audience. Podcasts are a set of digital audio files that you make for your audience to download on the internet. They are an extremely powerful marketing tool.
Cost: You can use the recording equipment you have to create podcasts which makes them free to create. However, there is high quality equipment available to increase the professionalism of the podcasts you create. You can also hire recording space and use their equipment to create your podcasts.
17. Vehicle Branding
Branding your vehicle is a great way to show off your business and brand while you are out and about. Think of all the branded vehicles you see when you are out and about. People are seeing your vehicle too – and these people could be your target audience. Next time you are stuck in a traffic jam, look at the amount of people around you – these people could all be reading your marketing message if you brand your vehicle.
Cost: This can be a costly marketing activity, dependent on how much you want your vehicle branded. If you are getting your whole car can branded it could cost over £1,000. However, simple magnets that can be stuck on your can will work well too and can cost from £20 each.
18. Email Signature
How many emails are you sending to potential clients every day? Whether it is 2 emails or 1,002 emails there is a marketing opportunity you might be missing. What does your email signature look like? This is a great spot to share a special offer, link to a new service or show off your business award logos. How can you make the most of your email signature to boost your business?
Cost: Free! And you can update or change it as much as you want, at no extra cost.
This may sound silly, but it is a mistake that so many people in business make. You need to respond to enquiries and follow up on them. This could be a missed call for example. Google the number they called from and if it is a potential customer call them back. If people leave voice messages, text you or send a message on Facebook – make sure you do not just reply – but follow up too. Some customers will want to be made to feel special and will wait for you to follow up, just so they feel like you need them!
Cost: It costs nothing but your time to respond to enquiries and follow up. Use a CRM system or an email tool to highlight people that need to be followed up on to make sure nobody is missed.
Blogging is a great marketing tool. It helps boost your SEO and gives you great content to share on your social media posts and in your newsletters too. A blog post is an article that goes on your website. What you are reading now is a blog post. Guest blogging is a great marketing tool too. This is a blog post that goes on another businesses website. For example, a hairdresser could write a blog about wedding hair styles to suit low cut wedding dresses. This could then go on a wedding dress suppliers’ website, opening the hairdresser to a new and relevant audience.
Cost: If you have the skills to write the blog post yourself, this is a free marketing tool. You can hire a blog writer to create your blog posts for you from £35 per blog. Regarding guest posting, do not be afraid to ask a relative business how much they would charge for your blog to be on their website.
21. Be Social
The clue is in the name. Social media is about being social. Social media is not just posting on your Facebook page and Instagram account. You need to engage with your audience. Your posts need to add value for your audience and add insight. It is a good idea to comment and engage with other businesses online too. This will help boost your own brand awareness but will also create some great relationships for you too.
Cost: No cost at all, you just need to invest your time into doing this on a regular basis.
Think about the hashtags you are using on your social media. There are some obvious hashtags that will help boost your brand awareness. For example, hashtags like #TestimonialTuesday and #MotivationalMonday. But are you using industry relevant ones too? Think about what your business sells and what your audience are looking for. Use your keywords as inspiration for your hashtags in social media.
Cost: There is no cost to using hashtags. If you are already posting regularly on social media, it is just a case of adding the right hashtags to your posts going forward.
23. Repurposing Content
A common mistake that some business owners make is not repurposing and reposting their content. If you wrote a blog post about great Christmas gifts for Mums 4 years ago, and this post is still relevant now – then you can still share it. Not everyone that follows your brand online may have seen it when it was written 4 years ago. If you have new products or the products have changed, just edit the post, and state the date it was updated. Your content can also be amended and repurposed to be used as press releases, guest blogs or articles in magazines. Not everyone will see your blog post, for example, so where else can they see it.
Cost: This marketing activity will just take investment of your time but will not cost you any money.
If you like our low budget marketing ideas for your small business, call our team. We can help you choose the best marketing ideas for your small business and work with you to create a strong marketing campaign too.