15 zero cost marketing ideas for small businesses
So you are a small business looking to market your business and do not want to burn a lot of your money. Well we have created this cool list of 10+ marketing ideas for small businesses on a low budget. These ideas could be used by multiple domains and industries
- Small Shops and merchants
- Cake shops, bakeries or small eateries, cafes and restaurants
- Small scale industries
- Clothes and Boutiques
- Training institutes and coaching institutes
- B2B businesses.
- Cab and transport businesses
Read on these great marketing ideas for small businesses
Get a website
Your website is the first and the most important investment you should make for your marketing mix. If you do not have the money to invest in a website, don’t worry, we have got you covered. Head over to www.wordpress.com and get your free website. Yes we know that you might not get your own domain and have to work with a wordpress.com subdomain but that is alright to get started.
Remember you need to target website usability. Your website is for your users to discover your services, reach your store location or call you for your services. Your website need not be funky but should be easy to navigate. Focus on Content and lead generation CALL TO ACTION items.
Publish Great Content
Help your business with content marketing. Consumers are online and online discovery happens with content. Just like you would put out the best of clothes on display and make your store decor colourful so that customers figure you out and walk into your store.
There is an ocean of content out there, what is your differentiating factor? Is your content a refurbished article created for the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) Algorithm? Invest your time in creating and publishing great content. It is like you would not put up the same dress on display like the store next door.
Now that you have your online home your website, let’s use this to attract users with some great original content.
Content could be in any format, text, blogs, images, video’s. Choose your content format and generate content with your target audience in mind. Like if you are into selling grocery items targeting ladies who are into exotic gourmet food, it would be great for you to publish content around cooking recipes, probably create creatives enlisting all the required items. You could make an offer to home deliver all the required ingredients at the end of the article.
Facebook, What’sApp, Twitter and Instagram are your friend
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter Instagram and What’sApp are great places to reach your target market. You can drive content discovery in your local or global market using these social channels intelligently.
Remember the best marketing method is still getting your existing customers to become your promoters. How you may ask? Connect with your customers, understand their problems, engage with them and provide resolution. Research has proven that leads are more likely to become a customer is they see positive reviews. Encourage your customers to provide online feedback.
Also you can join local or specific groups and share your website content there. Remember do not keep on sharing marketing collateral and offers only. Share content and information which might be helpful to the target market. Like it would great to publish that recipe blog you wrote on your website, with a small snippet (probably a great tip to bake that perfect cake), a great image and a link to your complete blog on your Facebook page.
Offer value and Engage your customers online.
If you are a local business, then you should get a listing on Google map for Free. It really helps in local SEO and moreover map results show on top of organic search results. It will really boost your search rankings and business.
Another important thing here is that you must encourage your customers to leave a feedback on Google maps. The ratings helps in your customers making an informed decision. Also popular locations show up on Google Now for users on Android phone.
Publish on Medium
Medium.com is another great site for blog publishing if you are targeting international markets. This can help you get the eyeballs your business deserves. You can also look to publish research that you do about any particular market here. It keeps things neutral from a consumer stand point.
Answer Queries on Quora
Quora is a knowledge base website. A lot of consumers share their problems and needs here. It would be a great way to go and answer these queries. Quora answers have great SEO rankings and if you are struggling with SEO of your site it could be a rewarding way to go and provide solutions to your consumers. Again remember, direct marketing does not work here. Use indirect methods to make an offer post your solution. No one wants to see marketing adverts.
Or better still, there are a lot of students out there who are great at video creation and could definitely do with some financial help. Offer them an internship project. It’s a win-win situation.
You could also use these FREE cool tools like
The current generation does not have the time to read a long paragraph, nor do the average CXO level guy. Interest them with info-graphics. Show them the numbers in a fun way. Pin this on pinterest so that the internet world can discover you.
Use these free DIY tools to design your infographics.
Repackage your old content in a new form
Remarketing your existing content is a great way to reach newer audience. Let’s say you published a series of blogs over time, you could then do the following
- Create an ebook with summary of all these blogs
- Create an infographic
- Publish videos with the same content to target new customers and channels.
- Create a Powerpoint and share on slideshare
Creating new content is a lot of time investment, recycling your great content for new target segments and audience is a great way to market for small businesses. You can save on a lot of your marketing budget by recycling content rather than churning new content.
Linkedin is a great place to hang out
Linkedin unlike other social media like facebook or other job hunting sites like naukri or monster jobs is a great business platform. You can connect with decision makers directly. It is easier to search for the exact people you want to connect with. You can also use Linkedin to market your content and influence your consumers purchasing decisions.
You can use the Article feature of Linkedin to your advantage to publish your great content.
Another cool way to reach and engage with consumers is through contests. It is a great idea to redirect your marketing budget towards giving out freebies through a contest. Like probably an online raffle or a simple social campaign with a selfie content or something.
You could spend on paid ads and get no customer engagement or direct a part of those funds towards online engagement of customers with a contest and earn customer loyalty.
Host a webinar or an event
You could attract customers with free webinars or events. Let’s say you are that exotic grocery store. You could probably organize a live cooking session at your store. This would help customers have a look at your offerings, order some stuff right after the session. Your cost to organize the event would be recovered with the sale you make during the event.
Email Marketing is a tried and tested marketing channel. However spamming by certain marketing companies has ensured low success rates for many. You should look at considering email marketing as a focused marketing channel rather than a mass marketing channel. Integrate a free email Marketing tool like mailchimp. On your website offer additional content or a freebie or discount coupon for the users to signup for your email channel. This keeps your email marketing list clean with email id’s of only interested customers.
Remember to offer enough content and information to your customers before making a sale offer. You could send your customers right through your marketing funnel with various content lifecycle and filter out customers who would make a purchase.
It really helps to identify certain partners within the ecosystem who are not your direct competitors and work on a project jointly. Like probably organizing that cooking event together. This will help you both feature on each other’s website, social channels etc. You would be able to jointly take advantage of each other’s network.
Remember that there is a cut throat competition and together we stand. 🙂
zero cost marketing ideas for small business [Summary]
- Get a website
- Publish Great Content
- Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and Instagram are your friend
- Flirt with Google Mybusiness- Get a map location
- Publish on Medium
- Answer Queries on Quora
- Create Videos
- Publish Infographics
- Repackage your old content in a new form
- Linkedin is a great place to hang out
- Online Contests
- Host a webinar or an event
- Email Marketing
- Industry Partnerships
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