Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Budget

  • By Tim Fitzpatrick
  • 23 May, 2017
Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Budget

Are you the kind of small business owner who thinks you cannot afford to implement an effective marketing plan without spending loads of money?

Marketing doesn’t have to involve expensive forms of advertising like TV/radio commercials or Google Adwords. The fact is, your business risks losing customers if it fails to market its products and/or services regularly. 

Your small business needs cost effective marketing tactics. Fortunately for you, there are tons of cost effective ideas you can use to increase your revenue when you are operating under a tight budget.

Here are 6 cost effective ideas you can use:       

  1. Talk to your clients

    One of the best ways a small business can increase revenue is by talking to existing clients. You can do this yourself or you can hire an outsider to interview your clients. With a third party involved, your clients might be more willing to open up about their opinions of your business.  Choose a random sampling of your customer list and have at it! The information collected from the interviews should help you identify the areas that need attention.  One thing you should avoid is getting angry with your customers for sharing their opinions, even if they are negative.  The feedback, positive or negative, will help you tremendously.

  2. Leverage your local community

    Marketing tactics don’t have to be the big ideas used by most large businesses; you can choose to focus on your local community first. Getting involved in cause marketing can go a long way for many small businesses.

    Figure out what’s going on in your community so you can join in on events that are relevant to your business. For instance, you can sponsor a charity event or join residents during an environmental cleanup day. Getting involved with organizations and events that complement your business is a great place to start.  People value and appreciate such acts, and in the process, you get opportunities to build relationships with people in your community.

    For more information on cause marketing, you might enjoy this article - The Complete Guide to Cause Marketing .

  3. Public relations

    A lot of small business owners assume they cannot create PR without hiring the services of a highly priced firm. Although PR firms bring multiple contacts and experience, a small business can also create publicity in ways that attract many customers.  

    Many forms of PR are completely free.  Getting placement in local news publications, radio or TV can bring huge exposure to your business. Public relations also increases social proof, which builds credibility and trustworthiness for your business. 

    PR for Anyone  has some great tips for small businesses on a budget.

  4. Leverage existing relationships

    Everyone has friends. I've heard multiple times that each person knows at least 200 people. The reach of those 200 people is significant. As a small business owner, spend time networking with people you already know such as clients, friends, colleagues, people you meet at professional meetings and even family members.

    Be strategic about where you spend your time networking.  Not all relationships are created equal and you want to make sure you're leveraging the most from your networking time.  Being clear about the types of referrals you are looking for will also help your networking partners easily identify solid referrals for you.

    You should strive to educate first then sell later and you should always be on the lookout to find new ways you can add value to the folks in your network.

  5. Partnerships

    Collaborating with non-competitive businesses that complement yours is a very effective marketing tactic. When choosing businesses to partner with look for businesses having similar values to yours.

    There are a plethora of opportunities when partnering including bundled promotions, webinars, and co-sponsored direct mail. Just think about what you can do to add value to their audience and vice versa. Through collaboration, clients have an opportunity to learn more about your products or services from a business they already know, like and trust.

  6. Use email marketing

    Email marketing is flexible, cost effective, has a high impact and the results are easy to measure. It is still THE preferred method of marketing for most businesses.  

    One critically important fact about your email list to never forget, unlike Facebook likes or Youtube followers it is a list you own.  You never have to worry about losing your email list because Facebook made a policy update or changed an algorithm.

    The key to marketing to your email list is consistency and value.  You've got to be consistent.  Whether it's once a week or once a month, find a cadence that works for you and stick with it.  Focus on adding value in your email messages first prior to selling.  If all your email messages are focused on buy this or buy that, you will end up with poor results. 

    Are you looking for an email marketing platform to use?  I like Mailchimp and Mailerlite .

I hope you got at least one takeaway you can use for your business.

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Tim Fitzpatrick

About The Author

Tim Fitzpatrick  is the President & Founder of Rialto Mobile.  At Rialto Mobile, we specialize in mobile apps and responsive websites for small businesses and K-12 schools with a focus on increasing customer loyalty, retention and engagement. If you'd like to learn more about what we do CLICK HERE .

PS.  Any business looking to improve communication with their audience, increase engagement, and improve retention can benefit from a mobile app.  Small business owners in the salon & spa, bar & club, restaurant, retail, hospitality and nonprofit industries are seeing success with mobile apps.  Is a mobile app right for your business? CLICK HERE to find out.

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