Small businesses are usually lean on capital. A lion’s share of their funding invariably goes for production and recruitment which spares a meager sum for marketing. But business promotion is fundamental to spread the word about your business. You have to reach out to your leads to make yourself found and known. However, effective business promotion doesn’t always call for exorbitant advertising campaigns. In fact, there are some affordable yet highly potential marketing ideas which spell profit for small businesses if done right.

The post below outlines a bunch of simple budgeted yet resourceful marketing avenues for small businesses.

However, before you go into the marketing options, make sure to have your marketing plan handy. The plan will provide a roadmap to your marketing campaigns to ensure things don’t go haywire mid-way. A well-articulated marketing plan should clearly specify:

  • Your target niches
  • Marketing options you might try
  • Marketing options practiced by your competitors
  • USP of your business
  • Budget for marketing
  • Employees who will take care of marketing
  • Timing for marketing campaigns

Now, let’s take a deeper look into the marketing options you have before you

Go for free website builders

A website is fundamental for business promotion in the contemporary digital world. Even if you have bagged a prime location for your brick and mortar store, you have to have a solid online presence. Worried about high fees of website developers? Don’t sweat – there are free website builder sites online to help you out. You don’t even need to know any coding know-how here. These website builders will help you to get your site up & running in minutes. The leading ones also extend SEO support with the free package.

Write your own content

No need to waste money on professional content writers when you are low on budget. Why don’t you write the website content yourself? After all it’s your business. Nobody will be able to express your exact business message the way you would do it. Are you not so confident about your writing flair? Well, here are two solutions before you. First, study the contents of websites operating on your industry. The content would be more or less same. Read them thoroughly, check the style and then size up the whole thing in your own way. You might have to write 2-3 drafts before you publish the final thing.

The second solution is to find out a relative or friend with excellent writing skills. Request him/her to pen down a few words for your home page.

Join business organizations or directories

This is one of the most effective small business advertising ideas that assure great exposure for your business for free. Find out authority business organizations and directories for your industry. Almost all of them have their dedicated sites today. The coolest part is that websites would allow you to list your business there free of cost. As they are authority platforms these are frequented by a large number of visitors from your target niche. It invariably translates to a wider and potential exposure for your business at almost no cost.

Some of these websites do have paid packages that come with additional advertisement or promotional support. You can opt for them later as your business starts to grow over time.

Take part in local trade shows or fairs

High profile international-level trade shows demand expensive entry fees for the participants. But you can try out exhibitions organized by your local business organizations as they usually charge reasonable fees. These trade shows offer excellent opportunities to get your name known among local target niche and industry peers.

Count on flyers

Flyers are the perfect example of affordable yet effective marketing campaigns for any business out there. You don’t need to hire a printing company to print out the flyers for you today. The good news is you can yourself create print-ready flyers with Microsoft Word for free. There are various tutorials online that explain how to create DIY flyers with Word at no cost. Just make sure your flyer carries the specific vibe of your business and offers the needed information in a crisp & legible way.

Aggressively distribute your business card

Your business card is one of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal. Make sure to come up with an appealing business card. It should strike a chord from the first glance and also vibe well with your unique brand message. Print it out in bulk and pass on whoever you meet and shake a hand with. It’s great if you meet a prospective lead. But then, don’t restrict yourself to your direct leads only. Give it out to anybody you form an acquaintance with. That person might refer to a prospective lead looking for your services or products.

Utilize social media

It’s a social world today and our discussion would be incomplete without the mention of social networks for small business marketing. Most of the promotional activities are free on social media. Most importantly, social networking sites are also popular and assure wider exposure before your audience. Create a stunning business page on social media in rhyme with the feel and vibe of your specific brand. You have to maintain it regularly with engaging contents every now and then. Contests are a major draw to any social media business page. You don’t always need to shell out an expensive gift for the contest. Anything sweet, practical and meaningful would do. You can also share links of interesting articles from your blog on your social media page. Here are some stats that would be helpful for you here:

  • Facebook is more popular with women compared to men
  • Twitter is mostly frequented by college educated bunch and those under 50
  • Seniors are more comfortable with Facebook
  • Pinterest is a favorite of the young niche, like the teens and young adults
  • LinkedIn is great to get in connection with industry experts

Know the right time to market

When you are on low-budget, you have to be very watchful about your steps. At times, periodical marketing proves to be more effective than round the year campaigns. It especially rings true when you are into seasonal products. For example, say when you have to promote your winter care beauty products. Just make sure to start the campaign one month before the season starts. Besides, Christmas & Black Friday are two of the best times for promotional campaigns. Yes, the competition would be sky-high. Thus, the smarter thing is to start your campaign a week prior to the usual time of holiday special campaigns.

Introduce referral programs

Referral programs are cool to pull in both your old customer and new ones. You would certainly need to reward something to your previous customer for getting you a new client. Generally, it’s some free credit for their next purchase.

All the tips mentioned above might not be equally relevant for every business out there. Thus, you have to keep track on each of your campaigns to see what exactly works for you. The first round of campaign would be a testing phase. But by the second round, you will pretty much figure which methods mean business for you.