Marketing your small business doesn’t require a huge expenditure. On the contrary, many effective marketing practices - from creating a website to social media marketing and more - are perfectly doable on a low budget. But with so many marketing options, it might be difficult to know where to start. Should you opt for content marketing? Networking at local events? Creating ads on Facebook?
To help you find the best option for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of 25 small business marketing strategies you can implement on a low budget. Take a read for inspiration and actionable tips, and use this post for reference as you determine how to market your business.
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Small business marketing strategies
01. Create a professional website
Building an online presence is critical for spreading the word about your brand. With this in mind, create a professional website for your company that serves as the central hub for all information related to it.
Putting your stamp on the web will strengthen your company’s credibility and make it easier for people to discover you. It also gives you the opportunity to create compelling experiences for prospective customers - such as blog posts, videos, eBooks, QR codes, and more - that draw them closer to your brand.
02. Know your industry
When deciding how to market your business, it’s important to know where you stand in relation to your competitors and target audience. By researching other companies in the field and getting to know your desired customers, you’ll have a better understanding of which marketing strategies will be most effective for your brand and what KPIs you should implement.
To learn more about your competitors, create a marketing plan and do an in-depth evaluation of how you stand in relation to them. This will help you develop a well-informed marketing plan based on your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as perceived opportunities and threats within your industry.
At the same time, conduct market research to learn about the customers you’d like to target with your product. This will allow you to define your target market, analyze the needs your product meets and determine the kinds of people who might benefit from it. Once you’ve collected enough data, you can create an organized record of your ideal audience by creating buyer personas, or fictional representations of your target customers.
03. Shape your brand identity
As part of your small business marketing strategy, you’ll need to create a brand identity that’s compelling for your audience. That includes everything from choosing your brand colors to determining your brand language and tone.
One of the most essential elements of your brand identity is your logo. A good logo can bolster customers’ perception of your business and help you stand out from the competition. On top of that, it makes your company look more professional.
Because a logo is the face of your brand, it should accurately portray your business and resonate strongly with your target market. Using a logo maker, you can create a custom logo in minutes to place on your website, social media pages, printed fliers, and more. This step-by-step guide shares important tips on how to design a logo, from choosing the right fonts, selecting your colors and more.
04. Perfect your elevator pitch
Sometimes, you’ll find yourself interacting directly with prospective clients or business partners, whether it’s on the phone or at a networking event. To make the most of these opportunities, you’ll need an elevator pitch. This 30-second, pre-prepared speech explains what your company does and helps generates interest in your brand, as well as being an essential step to starting a business.
A great elevator pitch is interesting and memorable, and it shows how your business is unique. It should not only highlight your product or service, but also touch on your company’s purpose and values.
05. Create a blog
One of the most essential small business marketing practices is to create a free blog. The main purpose of writing a blog is to provide key insights on topics within your niche. However, it also helps improve your website’s SEO, as you’ll be posting regular updates.
By writing actionable, informative content about your industry, you can highlight your expertise and give value to your readers. This will help you establish your brand’s authority, improve the perception of your services, and attract and retain customers. These blog templates provide useful inspiration for getting started.
06. Build a content marketing strategy
Creating a blog is just the first step in building a broader content marketing strategy. Content marketing forms the core of inbound marketing, which uses valuable, engaging content to organically draw customers to your small business.
While blog posts are the most common form of content marketing, there are many more content options you might want to explore. These include (but aren’t limited to):
Choose your content types based on what’s relevant to your niche and what your audience connects with most. Whichever formats you select, the goal is the same: to provide information to prospective customers that gently guides them toward your brand.
07. Write guest posts
When marketing for a small business, you should aim to publish content on blogs and business publications other than your own. By creating strategic guest posts, you’ll be able to build your reputation as an industry leader while driving traffic to your site.
You can find places to post by reaching out to editors at online business and tech magazines. Email these editors directly, contact them through social platforms such as LinkedIn or Twitter, or look for a contributor page on their website. If you don’t want to wait for them to respond, another option is to publish articles on LinkedIn and Medium.
In addition to writing informative, original content in your articles, don’t forget to include inbound links. Also known as backlinks, these will direct readers to your site and boost your SEO by telling search engines that your site is an authority in your niche.
08. Optimize for SEO
For prospective customers to find your website, you’ll need to improve your SEO. Also known as search engine optimization, SEO is the process of increasing traffic to your website by ranking higher on Google and other search engines. Because this marketing strategy has the power to place your brand front-and-center on the web, SEO is a fundamental small business marketing practice. It's one of the few digital marketing trends that never go out of style.
To boost your SEO, place strategic words and phrases that receive high search volume throughout your site. You can find these terms by conducting keyword research on Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Analytics, and other platforms.
You should also make sure to take care of the technical side of SEO. This involves moderating your website to eliminate any problems within its internal structure, as well as improving your page speed and optimizing your mobile website design.
09. Generate PR buzz
When your business achieves something noteworthy - for example, a new product launch or an impressive funding round - take advantage of PR to create publicity around the event.
You can do this by hiring a public relations professional, or by writing press releases yourself. Don’t hesitate to reach out to editors at big tech or business publications relevant to your niche, as they may be interested in writing an article about your company. Alternatively, you can submit to paid PR websites, such as PR Newswire, PRWeb and Newswire.
10. Try PPC
PPC, or pay-per-click, is a type of internet advertising on Google, Facebook and more in which the advertiser pays every time an ad is clicked. It’s a useful small business marketing practice that can generate brand awareness and expand your reach.
While PPC advertising isn’t free, its cost per result is lower than many other advertising methods. Even if your marketing budget is limited, it’s worth dedicating part of it to creating a handful of ads. Afterwards, you can analyze the results to determine whether they’re a worthwhile expenditure for driving traffic to your site.
11. Write compelling CTAs
A call-to-action is a short phrase that prompts swift, immediate action from your target audience. These instructions encourage people to take steps that guide them through the marketing funnel, like subscribing to a newsletter, starting a free trial, or purchasing a product.
CTAs are small but mighty. In fact, their quality can make or break whether a visitor leaves your site or becomes a customer. To write convincing and powerful CTAs, be as short, clear and direct as possible. You should also make it a color that visibly stands out from the surrounding content.
12. Craft powerful landing pages
A landing page is a stand-alone web page created to market a specific product or service. Its goal is to guide your audience toward making a purchase, whether by generating leads or converting them into customers.
When creating a landing page, be sure to come up with an eye-catching design and killer copy that convinces people to click.
13. Send strategic marketing emails
Email marketing is another effective small business marketing tactic. Provide content that your audience will truly enjoy, such as actionable blog posts or helpful free resources, so that your emails come across as valuable rather than spammy.
Make it a habit to send weekly newsletters that your subscribers come to expect regularly in their inboxes. Once you gain more subscribers on your mailing list, you can send targeted emails based on the interests and preferences of each customer segment.
To get people to sign up for your emails in the first place, reward new subscribers with a special offer, such as a free downloadable eBook or a coupon code to your store.
14. Try social media marketing
Social media marketing is the process of crafting content to share on social platforms - such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more - with the goal of promoting your brand. This involves engaging with your followers in order to generate brand awareness, build brand loyalty, and make sales.
To get started, figure out which platforms your customers are spending time on. Are they watching YouTube videos? Scrolling through Instagram? Browsing Pinterest?
Based on your findings, create a dedicated company page on the relevant platforms. Be sure to post content that reflects your brand image and voice, resonates with your target audience, and provides real value. You should also interact with your audience in the comments section, as this is an effective way to achieve strong, lasting relationships with your customers.
15. Generate local awareness
Take your small business marketing efforts offline by building brand popularity among members of your local community. Starting small - with local events and news networks - can give you a loyal fan base from the early stages of your business.
Sponsor local events, and volunteer your branded products for use in local productions, festivals, and workshops. You can also get involved in community projects, such school fundraisers, food drives, and other nonprofit efforts. Not only will this increase your brand’s visibility, but it will also attract customers who support your good work.
16. Build a brand community
Throughout all your marketing efforts, aim to grow an online community for your brand. By bringing together your customers and fans, you’ll create a loyal following of people who’d happily recommend your products.
In addition to building a social media following and sponsoring local events, there are many other ways to creatively bring together your community. For example, you can host Q&As, live stream behind-the-scenes video, and add a forum to your website where customers can engage with one another.
17. Incentivize user engagement
With the rise of social media, user engagement has become a crucial small business marketing strategy. Offering incentives to potential customers is a great way to maximize your engagement efforts online.
Encourage people to share content by holding online contests, social media challenges, and more. Spark the interest of your audience by offering prizes to the winners, such as discounts and coupons for your product. The more people share posts about your product, the more you’ll expand your reach and build brand awareness.
You can implement similar incentives for referring new customers to your brand. Referral programs are a powerful way to source leads, as people are likely to listen to the recommendation of a trusted friend.
18. Provide free consultations
Gently guide prospective customers toward your brand by offering free consultations. This is a great way to persuade customers who are on the fence about whether or not to buy your product or service.
That said, be sure not to pressure customers into buying. Instead, get them interested in your product by showing them how it fulfills their wants and needs.
19. Experiment with guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing is a low-budget strategy to market your business in creative, unconventional ways. This technique relies on the element of surprise, and includes everything from viral videos to street art to publicity stunts.
For effective guerrilla marketing, go public with something imaginative, memorable, and unexpected, as in these creative guerrilla marketing examples. The goal is to generate buzz around your brand and stick in the minds of your audience.
20. Maintain strong customer relationships
Establishing deep, meaningful connections with your audience is a subtle marketing strategy that helps you build customer loyalty. All your teams - from marketing to sales to support - should listen carefully to customers’ needs and respond with patience and respect. Make an effort to engage in social listening by proactively holding conversations on social media and taking your customers’ feedback to heart.
It’s particularly important to follow up with past clients. Even after your clients complete a purchase, continue to engage them with thoughtful treatment and valuable content. One idea is to give them a gift as part of your holiday marketing efforts. If you show them continuous care, they are far more likely to return to you for more. In fact, studies have shown that 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer great customer service.
21. Ask for customer testimonials
What satisfied clients say about you will always sound far more convincing than what you say about yourself. For that reason, it’s important to ask for testimonials, or statements from your customers that talk about their positive experiences with your business.
Build your brand’s reputation by strategically placing these customer recommendations across the web. Be sure to add testimonials to your website as well as your social media pages.
22. Attend a conference
When deciding how to market your business, research conferences in your area. Attending a professional event relevant to your industry is an effective way to grab the attention of potential clients and business partners. You’ll be able to find upcoming conferences with a quick Google search, or you can browse sites such as PaperCrowd, AllConferences.com, or TED.
You can also go a step further and give a presentation about your business. Highlight the ways your business stands out from the competition, and use that to spark interest in your brand. Including original, compelling insights in your presentation will help establish you as a thought leader with a serious, viable solution.
23. Network in person and online
Take advantage of professional and social events to let people know about your business. In addition to networking at conferences, attend lectures and workshops where you’re guaranteed to run into other industry professionals. Both Meetup and TechMeetups.com are useful platforms for finding such events.
On top of that, create a company LinkedIn page to share what you do and connect with other entrepreneurs. Your company page should link to your website and describe your business, and it can also include thoughtful, relevant posts to attract customers, partners, and investors.
24. Look for co-marketing opportunities
Co-marketing is a technique in which two companies work together on a co-branded promotional campaign. This practice is mutually beneficial because it harnesses the resources of both companies to reach a wider audience.
To find co-marketing opportunities, reach out to local businesses in your area that aren’t your competitors but that offer similar products to a similar target audience. Consider promoting each other on social media, email newsletters, and your blogs. You’ll be giving your partner company additional promotion, and their fans will learn more about your brand.
25. Build meaningful partnerships
As you develop your small business marketing strategy, keep in mind that your professional connections can become devoted ambassadors for your brand. For that reason, it’s important to build and maintain business relationships with company partners and others in your field.
Even when face-to-face interaction is limited, stay in touch with them on professional platforms like LinkedIn, follow up with them regularly, and be open to collaboration on relevant projects. If they believe in the work you’re doing, they’re likely to recommend you to potential customers who come their way.