Marketing a business can be a difficult task for anyone to pull off, especially when you’re trying to get your business off the ground and are operating on limited funds.  While traditional advertising techniques like billboards and commercials can be pretty costly, small business owners now have access to marketing tools that can help get their message out there at little to no cost.  Here are a few affordable marketing strategies small business owners can utilize on a shoestring budget.

Network Every Chance You Get

Being able to connect with people is a powerful tool, and more effective than you may realize.  You could spend thousands of dollars on eye-catching marketing strategies, but if you don’t make those personal connections both with consumers and people in your industry, you’ll be missing out on that human link that is so important.  Depending on the industry you’re in, make sure you attend networking events as frequently as you can and remember to network in your everyday life as well. Your most loyal customer could end up being someone you connected within the real world!  

Create Hype Around Your Business

This goes hand in hand with networking.  While you’re out there forming connections with people, make sure you’re promoting your business well and get people excited about it!  If you’re selling a physical product, keep a few discount vouchers in your pocket and hand them out to whoever you end up making a connection with.  This will encourage them to visit your business, and they will appreciate the thoughtful gesture. Everyone loves free stuff, so recognizing this and generously letting people sample your product can go a long way in trying to market your business.  

Utilize Social Media

Social media will be your best friend when trying to gain a following and market your business.  While investing in search engine optimization services and other marketing strategies can be greatly beneficial, social media can be a great asset in your marketing efforts when you’re just starting out and have limited funds to work with.  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are three of the most commonly used social media platforms when it comes to marketing a business, as these platforms are free and allow you to reach a wide audience from anywhere in the world.  Make sure you’re staying consistent when updating your social media pages, and try to stick to a posting schedule so that your followers know when to look out for an update.

Make Connections on LinkedIn

Similarly to other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn lets you make connections with people in your industry and keep up with the latest news.  Many businesses use LinkedIn as a vital part of their marketing strategy in order to reach a wide audience and get their name out there in a cost-effective way. LinkedIn is great for growing your network and connecting with people you may not have met otherwise, and connecting with as many people as possible can be a huge asset to your business.  

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be more effective than you might think!  When done in a strategic way, email marketing can really grab people’s attention and remind them who you are.  To avoid looking spammy, focus on personalizing your emails and catering them to the people on your email list.  To make an even bigger impact, you can go the extra mile and send your clients a thoughtful email on holidays and birthdays, or offer them some kind of discount or special offer.  You can also offer an incentive when people sign up for your newsletter as a way to drive even more attention to your business.

Get Involved in Your Community

Combining your online marketing efforts with in-person engagement can really put you on the map in your community.  It is important to build a local fanbase as well as an online one, and your local customers can be especially helpful in the beginning stages of your business.  In addition to attending networking events, make sure you’re showing up to other local events where you will be able to connect with potential clients. Making yourself visible in your local scene can make all the difference in the success of your business, so make sure you’re not neglecting this aspect of your marketing strategy.

Upgrade Your Business Cards

There’s a reason why people have been using business cards for years- they work!  There are tons of websites that offer affordable business cards in a variety of colors and fonts, so consider giving your business cards a serious upgrade and start handing them out whenever you make a connection with someone.  You can also go the old-fashioned route and hang your business cards on bulletin boards in local coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. Handing out business cards is a great and inexpensive way to get your business on people’s’ radars!  

Create Great Content

A great piece of content can do wonders for your business, and it costs little to no money at all to pull off!  Whether it’s print or video, an engaging and informative piece of content will grab peoples’ attention and hopefully get them talking.  “Top 10” lists are especially popular when it comes to content, and people are more likely to read something when it’s broken down in a more digestible listicle form.  Consistently publishing content will direct interest to your business, and people will look to you to deliver industry news and information.

Use Guerilla Marketing

Creativity can often be more valuable than an expensive marketing campaign, so try experimenting with different guerilla marketing tactics and find a few that work best for you and your business!  One common misconception is that guerilla marketing has to be costly and over-the-top in order to work, but sometimes the simplest things can be the most effective. Whether it’s scrawling your business’s name on the sidewalk with chalk, hanging up eye-catching flyers around town, or simply giving away free samples of your product, there are tons of creative ways that guerilla marketing can draw attention to your business.

Show Appreciation For Your Existing Clients

Whether you have one client or 100 clients, going the extra mile to show them you appreciate their business can really make a difference in the way people see your business.  Aside from sending out an annual holiday card, make sure you’re keeping track of client birthdays and other important dates. One small way to show the clients you care is by holding as many in-person meetings as possible.  Meeting face-to-face feels a lot more personal than an email or phone call, and it shows your clients that you care about getting to know them on a deeper level. It costs little to no money to show genuine appreciation for the people who are giving you business, all it takes is a little creativity and heart!

When it comes to marketing, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money in order to get great results.  Some of the best marketing strategies can be pulled off with little to no money at all! With creativity, passion and drive, you’ll be able to build a following of raving fans and keep growing!