Don’t have many bucks to spend on your biz? No worries – there are plenty of marketing tactics you can make use of that won’t blow your small marketing budget. Let’s see how far you can stretch those dollars! Here are 20+ marketing ideas for small businesses working on a small budget.
1. Publish Great Content. I don’t think I even need to say this, but it’d be neglectful not to mention the importance of kick-ass content. If you can create it yourself, all the better (isn’t free always better?). Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting someone on your team to crank out some articles for your blog. Try top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc. I shared a bunch of creative content marketing ideas here, and Elisa recently rewrote the rules of content marketing for small businesses.
2. Create Instructional Videos. Video content is really valuable, and while it can cost big bucks to get professional YouTube videos produced, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot yourself or hiring a film student off Craigslist. Wistia offers a great video tutorial showing you how to shoot expert-looking footage on your regular old iPhone!
If video sounds like too much of a challenge, try making slide decks and sharing them on SlideShare.
3. Get Ad Promo Credits. While massive ad campaigns may be out of your budget, there are often discounts and coupons floating around for paid Facebook ads or Google ads. Some web hosting services offer advertising discount codes as part of their membership offerings. Check and see if yours does.
4. Reddit. Reddit, a bare-bones social network self-titled as the “front page of the internet,” can be a powerful tool when used strategically. Reddit is composed of a very tech-savvy audience that bristles at any obvious marketing tactics.
To win at Reddit, share only truly awesome content, and post only to extreme niches. In Reddit, there are subcategories (known as subreddits) that deal with some of the narrowest, most specific interests in existence. There’s a subreddit for lockpicking (/r/lockpicking ), a subreddit for unicycles (/r/unicycling), and there’s even a subreddit for admiring beautiful handwriting (r/PenmanshipPorn). (And of course there’s one for SEO.) Find your niche and dominate.
5. Be a Savvy Social Networker. Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. Add Instagram in there too if your business is image-oriented. Also check out this list of easy Facebook marketing ideas for any type of business.
Need even more ideas? Get our (free!) all-star playbook to online advertising.
6. Stumble Upon Advertising. If you want to try some paid advertising but you’re not looking to break the bank, Stumle Upon’s Paid Search Discovery could be for you. Paid Discovery delivers users straight to your site, ready to engage. What works best on Stumble Upon? Photography, visual assets, and humorous content.
Stumble Upon is pretty cheap compared to other paid ad structures. You start with a base price of 10 cents per click, then add +2 cents for age targeting, gender targeting and device targeting. You can see the whole price list for detailed info. Whichever way you spin it, Stumble Upon’s paid offering is leagues cheaper than most other social media ads; Facebook ads, for example, can cost as much as 80 cents per click.
To really benefit from Stumble Upon, use targeting options to make sure you’re hitting the right audiences and niches.
7. DIY Infographics. Infographics are insanely powerful marketing tools. They’re visual eye candy, they’re easy to digest, and people love to share them, so they’re a great way to drive up referral traffic and links. Hiring a designer to make you an A+ infographic can hit your wallet hard, but you can make your own on the cheap if you don’t mind a bit of a challenge.
If you have some understanding of Adobe Illustrator, try out these free vector kitsthat provide all the elements needed to make a stunning infographic. Not sure where to start? Check out Visual.ly for inspiration. They have beginner and advanced examples for you to browse through.
8. Give New Life to Old Data. If your marketing budget it tight, you might not be able to always afford content writers to whip up content for your blog. If you’re in a dry spell, instead of making something new, breathe new life into something that already exists on the web. There are a ton of data studies and stats available on the internet. While some of these studies may get initial traction, many often go unnoticed.
Find a study that relates to your industry and polish it up. Highlight the most important or interesting parts of the study, add images, crank out some charts, and make your own thoughts and predictions based on the data.
You don’t need to be a master writer for this strategy – the data will do most of the heavy lifting for you. One man’s throwaway data is another man’s content success story! Just be sure to cite your sources and give credit where it’s due.
For government data, check out data.gov or The Census Bureau. Global statistics can be found through UNICEF and the World Health Organization. Ultimately, you’ll have to find source data that relates to your industry and audience interests.
9. Lounge About on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a major social media site that is often under-utilized. Don’t just add network connections and sign out – join groups, enter into dialogue with connections, and share your blog posts. There’s a ton happening on LinkedIn, and it can be a great place to promote your content, share ideas, and build your brand. Larry recently shared some tips for getting more LinkedIn connections, and here are some ways to spruce up your LinkedIn profile if you’re a recent college grad.
10. Recycle Your Content. Just as you can repurpose existing data studies, you can rehash your old content into new creations as well! Turn a webinar into a video tutorial. Transform a collection of blog posts into an ebook. Never be afraid to mash-up your old content – chances are there will be a ton of people who never even saw your old stuff, so it’ll be a fresh, 100% new content piece for a large segment of your audience.