10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

Cost-effective, smart, and trackable marketing methods are becoming more accessible to small businesses. But with hundreds of different tools, channels and mediums, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are our picks for tactics that can leverage even the tightest budget.

1. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

Ideally you should be marketing your business all the time, and often this can be through random meetings with new people. To capture these opportunities as they arise you need a compelling ‘elevator pitch’ to share with potential clients.

An elevator pitch can be described as a short and sweet overview of who you (or your business) are, what you do and what benefit you can bring to a customer.

You only have six to eight seconds to get someone’s attention. This means your pitch needs to engage and entice them right away. Once you have piqued their interest you only have a minute to sell it to them, so make it good!

Small Business Tip: While planning your marketing and ongoing business operations keep in mind the need for insurance. Whatever your Business, AMI can help you protect what is important. You can also check out their quote tool to identify your insurance needs here.

2. Leverage Your Community

There’s one advantage that small businesses have that big-name brands often struggle with: community level engagement.

People will always feel closer to a local business than to a national or international corporation, so use that to your advantage. Just ask: What’s going on in my community? You could sponsor a local rugby team or a charity run/walk. You could even print bookmarks for the local library to hand out.

Think about where your customers spend their time and get your business in front of them.

3. Collaborate

Collaborating with businesses and organisations in your area is a great way to grow your business in a synergistic, non-competitive way.

Cross-promoting with fliers, coupons, reciprocal website links, social media platforms, and bundled promotions is a great way to spread the word about your business.

4. Network

Networking is a big part of business at every level. There is no better way to grow your business than to talk to people, shake their hands, and get to know them.

This does require a time commitment and it doesn’t offer instant results, but having a strong network can be one of your greatest business assets.

5. Give A Speech

Hate public speaking? Get over it.

There are countless organizations out there seeking a qualified expert that can present to their groups. Volunteer, you don’t have to be a professional. Just figure out what information you can share with the audience and start talking. It positions you as an authority figure in the field.

6. Build Buzz

You can accomplish a lot as a small business owner today without the need to hire a professional firm. Help A a Reporter Out allows you to respond to queries from reporters who are looking for a story idea or resources.

Many are small media opportunities, but there are also larger outlets that could use you too.

7. Request Referrals

Asking your good customers to refer their friends and family is a great way to instantly multiply your customer base. Most people say they are willing to send someone a referral if asked, but most people will not do so unless they’re asked!

Be sure to incentivize both your current customer and the referral!

8. Build A Relationship

It’s usually significantly cheaper to keep a customer than it is to try and get a new one. Therefore, you need to go about establishing strong relationships with the customers you get so that they become loyal patrons of your business.

Sending your customers updates about your business through regular email marketing is a great way to accomplish this.

9. Offer Coupons

Coupons are a fantastic way for you to bring in new customers. Most people will go out of their way to use a coupon, which proves it can be very effective in expanding your client base.

Coupons can also help generate return visits. For instance, give a customer a coupon on their next purchase after their first visit.

10. Give It Away

When someone has experienced something, they’re more likely to purchase it so that they can experience it again. That’s especially true in today’s economy and it’s a proven concept. It’s why your local stores offer testers and free samples!

When you offer a free trial or free sample for a product, it helps encourage customers to take the leap and purchase it for themselves. Offering a small counter of samples or testers can do a lot for your business if you sell products. If you sell services, a free trial or “first one free” can really help you grow as well.