They say you have to spend money to make money, and that's certainly true of marketing. But if you've only got a small budget to market your business, these ideas can help you get the best marketing bang for your limited buck.
1) Learn how to ask for referrals - and do it. You're much more likely to get something if you ask for it. Nervous or new to it? The linked article has a script to help you out.
4) Give free workshops or classes related to your products/services. People love to learn so classes on topics related to your products and services can be a big win.
6) Create a brochure. Brochures can be great sales tools. They give potential customers who want to think over your pitch to have something to take away with them. They give you some in-hand marketing material when you're discussing your products or services with customers. And something you can send out as advertising too.
7) Get free publicity for your business by involving the media (including social media!) in your grand openings, moves, or charity events. Don't have one of these happening in the near future? You can always get heavily involved in someone else's charity event by becoming a sponsor.
8) Create a website for your small business if you don't have one. Even if all your website does is present the who,what,where and why of your business at least it gives you a home on the web and a chance of coming up in local search - critical for getting your business found nowadays. (Increase your chances of being found in local search by listing your business in all possible web directories.)
9) Create a blog for your business. Blogging can create a bigger market for your products or services if you do it right (do it regularly and have something of value to share).
10) Visit and comment on other relevant blogs regularly. (Be smart; pick the ones your customers are likely to be visiting too.)
15) Use LinkedIn to connect with potential clients/customers.
18) Become a radio guest. Radio is far from dead and can be both a very effective way of targeting your potential customers and a much more inexpensive form of advertising compared to other channels such as television.
19) Develop business partnerships and do cross-promotion with other businesses. Cross-promotion is a great way to cut down on the cost of advertising and can create valuable synergies that benefit all the partners.
24) Sponsor (or at least be a big part of) a community charitable event.
26) Join a face-to-face networking group. If you're running a local business, and you're not already a member of at least one local networking group, put this at the top of your to-do list in capital letters and move on it. There's no faster, easier way to make contacts and get known in your local community.
30) Apply for business awards. Many business organizations choose top businesses each year, for example, and top businesses in particular categories such as customer service. There's nothing wrong with a nomination from a friend - or even nominating yourself.
33) Write articles on topics related to your business and encourage people to post them for free.
35) Advertise your business on your vehicle.
36) Put a plastic business card holder on the side of your vehicle.
37) Blow your own horn. Get over being shy and promote yourself. Everyone has something they can be proud of. Whether it's an award, a new skill, a milestone or work for the community, practice self promotion by speaking and writing about your accomplishments. Add a line about something you're proud of to your email signature and to your stationery. Announce it on Facebook, tweet about it, add it to your LinkedIn profile. Let other people know about it!