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Market and promote your small business - even with a limited budget
  • 03 April 2018
  • Rebecca Delaney

Market and promote your small business - even with a limited budget

Small marketing budget? Don’t worry – there are still lots of creative ways you can promote your small business. As a business owner, the expenses can add up quickly—from office equipment, to employee paychecks, and business travel. Sometimes your marketing budget can take a backseat while you pay for more immediate needs. But you can make a big impact on your business with just a small marketing budget. Here are five ways you can market your small business on a limited budget:

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1. Become a joiner. Join your local chamber of commerce or women's business group. Membership fees are typically lower for smaller businesses. These groups often hold networking events, member breakfasts, and educational seminars where you can showcase your business and make connections with others who may need your services. Some groups publish newsletters where you can advertise your business for a nominal fee.

Don't forget your business card at these networking meetings! While they may seem dated in this digital age, the business card is still a price-effective way to get your name in front of a potential client. The UPS Store printing service offers 500 business cards for $9.99 during the month of April.

2. Become known as an expert. Whatever your niche is, you're already an expert in your field. Make sure people know you're the person to turn to when they need assistance in your area—whether it's hanging wallpaper, estate planning, accounting—you name it. If you already have a website, start a blog where you write short pieces about different issues or trends you see pop up in your industry, and be sure to update the blog regularly. You will establish yourself as an expert in your field, and someone people will trust when they encounter these same issues. However, once you write your blog post, you'll want people to read it, which leads to #3.

3. Leverage your social network. If you don't already have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn presence for your business, sign up and set up a page for your business. Ask friends, colleagues and customers to "like" or “follow” your business in social and become active in different social media groups that align with your industry. Social media is a cost-effective way to reach potential clients in a fun, non-intimidating way. Post about your latest blog on Facebook, take a photo of your newest project on Instagram, and share an interesting article from a thought leader in your industry on Twitter. The opportunities for promotion are endless—and the best part? It's all free—perfect for a small business with a small marketing budget.

4. Go to press. It may seem old-fashioned, especially after singing the praises of social media, but don't forget your local newspaper. Send a press release about your business’ grand opening, or if you expand your services, or recently landed a big project. Include a great photo too, if you have it. If the newspaper writes an article, it's free promotion. Oftentimes, news outlets that run a story on television or print will also post the information online.

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Also, offer up your services as a columnist. Editors may be interested in featuring your expertise and point of view. Just be sure not to try and sell anything in the column. Here, as in your blog, you're establishing yourself as an expert in your field. If you overly promote your business you may turn readers off.

5. Reward for referrals. A small gift card can go a long way. When a customer or client refers you to a friend, be sure to thank that person with a personal note and a small gift, such as a gift card to Amazon or Starbucks, if your marketing budget allows. Past customers remember the kind gesture and are more likely to refer you again, bringing in more revenue at not much cost to you.

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