Looking for marketing tactics you can use to promote your local business on a small budget? We’ve rounded up a list of suggestions for you to try out, and they all just happen to be free — or almost free! Check out our six free marketing ideas below and be sure to come back and let us know which one(s) worked out best for you.
1. Show Your Expertise
No one knows your business – or your industry – better than you, right? Why not capitalize off of this knowledge by trying your hand at niche social media? Search Engine Watch suggests: “Find a niche social media site that pertains to your exact business and participate. Be helpful, provide relevant and useful information, and your word of mouth advertising will grow from that engagement.”
- Travel or hospitality business – Tripadvisor.com forums
- Photography store – Photo.net or RockTheShotForum.com
- Wedding Planning or Favor site – Brides.com or Onewed.com forums
- Search your niche or service plus forums to find ideas. If there isn’t a forum out there, consider starting one.
2. Get Paid to Advertise (Kind of)
Ever thought about utilizing your business invoice as a free marketing tactic? If not, you should! Think about it: Every single time you send an invoice out to a client or customer, you’re missing a marketing opportunity.
If you’ve created your own invoices, you should be able to easily add anything you’d like to promote at the bottom without having to spend any additional money. Have a new special going on? New product you want to highlight? Discount you want to offer to encourage repeat business? This is the perfect (free) spot to do it and it’s guaranteed to be seen by the very person you want to see it.
3. Fun with Photos
You’re most likely already on the main social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, right? Well, now it’s time to start thinking about the other social networking sites your local business could benefit from. Flickr, a photosharing site, is a great place to post behind-the-scenes photos of your company and staff, as well as product pictures, company events, and more.
Search Engine Watch offers this advice when using Flickr for your local business, “Share your photos at Flickr – get a profile, write descriptions, and link to your website.” Linking to your website is a big part of the marketing puzzle. If you want your online exposure to come full circle, you’ll want viewers to know where to find you after visiting your Flickr.
Need a little help setting up your Flickr profile? Check out this guide: How to Use Flickr for Business.
4. Keep Up with Trends
Establishing a strong presence on all social media sites is one of the best free marketing ideas you can do for your business. But keeping up with the latest in social media trends is essential if you want to reap the best results. Pinterest and Instagram are two of the hottest social media sites right now, which means you could be missing out on exposure and clients by not using them to promote your local business.
As long as you are pinning and posting relevant images that match your demographic, your business should benefit from the exposure on both Pinterest and Instagram. Remember, a big part of marketing is testing to see what works — and what doesn’t — with your target audience. You won’t know what will resonate with them until you try it, so testing out the different social media sites until you find what works best for you is always suggested.
Check out these two free guides for help you get started: How to Use Pinterest for Business and How to Set Up an Instagram Account for Your Business.
5. Show Your Customers They Matter
Ever thought about offering a valued customer discount? This tactic won’t cost you any money upfront, and it could end up getting you more sales down the road. Paul Sigrist says in his blog post titled: 5 Free Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business, “A good customer is hard to find. This discount, whether it be 5% or 20%, will help build your customer relationships even further.”
He goes on to state that, “Customers love seeing how much money they have saved when they make a purchase. By simply putting a line item on your receipt or invoice in red ink, you’ll show your customers exactly what they want to see; that they got a good deal. You can take this to the next step of customer service by calling it a “friends and family” discount. Show your customers how much you care and appreciate them for helping you through the recession. Developing a personal relationship with your customers will go a long way toward developing brand recognition.”
6. Get Social, Get Customers
There’s a whole world of connections just waiting to be made in your local community; what are you waiting for? Join local organizations to find networking opportunities and even consider volunteering for charity work. You’ll meet many new people, and make countless connections — which can lead to more exposure and more business for you.
Not the best at networking? Don’t worry, we have you covered with this free, downloadable guide that’s guaranteed to take you from awkward to awesome in no time at all: How to Network — 15 Killer Networking Tips.
Have any free marketing ideas to add? Please leave them in comments below!