5 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses on a Small Budget

5 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses on a Small Budget

Cash flow is usually an ongoing concern for small businesses and startups. Every penny spent has to deliver value, yet most professional marketing services come at a huge cost these days. But you don't need to spend huge amounts on growing your brand and finding new customers.

By implementing one or more of these five budget marketing strategies, reaching your audience won't break the bank.

1. Text Message Marketing

Everyone has a smartphone on their person these days, so leverage the phenomenon to your business' advantage. You can deliver news of your latest products or services right into the hands of existing and potential customers -- using web-based software that is available for a relatively small subscription.

Text message marketing software brings together the online and offline worlds. Use business cards, point of sale and various physical marketing materials to send customers to your mobile website. Once they're there, they can sign up for text alerts. Sweeten the deal by offering discounts or free products, and let your customers be the first to know about new services and products.

Imagine you're running a coffee shop, and you're having a particularly quiet Monday afternoon. Create a text message offering a huge discount, and send it to all of your signed-up customers in a second.

Review conversions, grow your database of loyal customers and reach thousands of customers by text in a split-second using a service such as Mozeo -- all from one, easy-to-use web interface.

2. Create Informative YouTube Videos

Posting videos on YouTube is free; in fact, you can actually generate a nice income from your video content. Create informational videos that offer value to your potential customers. Answer frequently asked questions, and educate in an engaging, entertaining way. If your video content is good enough, people are likely to trust you and your business with their cash. Not only that -- they're likely to share your content with their friends and colleagues.

3. Enter Industry Award Schemes

Search for business awards in your industry, and enter your company. Win or lose, you'll give your business some much-needed exposure without having to pay a penny. You'll get your company name and logo on a range of websites and marketing materials, and there'll be a chance to tell the world about your products and services. This is free publicity -- and that's always a great thing.

4. Start a Referral Program

One of the most effective marketing channels is word of mouth. Deliver exceptional customer service to win the trust and loyalty of customers -- then incentivize the customers to spread the word. Offer discounts, free products or priority access to your latest deals in return for people bringing custom your way. Consumers believe friends and family who talk in glowing terms about products and services, so leverage this phenomenon.

5. Become an Educator

Share your experiences and knowledge with people who might be in the market for what you're selling. Imagine you own an e-commerce website selling sports shoes. By holding workshops and webinars on the science behind choosing the right footwear for the right feet, you can build trust and become a thought leader in your sector. You'll gain a reputation for excellence and expertise -- traits consumers like to see when choosing where to spend their money.

When it comes to making your marketing budget stretch as far as possible, think outside the box. Marketing services aren't measured by their price-tag, they're measured by the return on investment they deliver.

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