You have already started your business and now it’s time to promote it. It’s one thing to have it, now you have to share and get your product or service out there so people can see it. It’s already a great product (since you’ve created it!), now the problem lies in how to get it out there.
Customer’s attention needs to be picked up real quick as you most likely will compete with a lot of brands. It might sound terrifying to go against those big brands, but there are ways to beat the market and reach your targeted audience.
Nothing is easy, even for the bid dogs! All you need to beat the odds is a little bit of creativity and you can have great success.
To get started, this guide shares a few creative marketing ideas that are totally free (or very low cost) to replicate.
Free small business marketing ideas
Know that you can still have a marketing plan in place, even if all your techniques costs 0$. Here’s a few examples;
- Host a social media competition
- Share user-generated content on social media (UCG)
- Produce video tutorials
- Partner with other small businesses
- Collect customer feedback
- Attend local events
- Sell gift cards
1. Host a social media competition
Who does not love free stuff? Hosting some kind of competition for social media might just be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it has proven to work.
For example, host an Instagram contest that gives away a product or two (or more) of yours. Make sure that participants have to like the post, follow its Instagram and/or Facebook profile, and tag a friend. Bonus entries were up for grabs if followers shared the post to their own story.
This way, especially when they share it to their own accounts or tag a friend, the word spreads about your business. It’s like free advertisement and will definitely help your business to grow.
2. Share user-generated content on social media (UCG)
Another smart way to use social media to market your small business is to use user-generated content. That helps to make your brand more approachable and feels less like “fake” or not trust worthy. Seeing actually customers enjoying your products will show indecisive customers that they could be in those people shoes.
Incentivize existing customers to share photos, videos, and testimonials of them using your products. Do regular scans of your brand name or hashtag to see social media posts people have shared without being prompted.
The goal is to build a library of high-quality UGC that convinces on-the-fence social media followers to buy.
(Just remember to ask permission from the original poster before sharing UGC to your own page!)
3. Produce video tutorials
If there is one type of content that will always be the king of marketing, well it have to be video tutorials. Reading seems hard nowadays, so most people tend to watch videos instead. It explains why apps like Tik Tok are so famous because it lets you create great video content without having much knowledge in the field.
It can be as simple as these subjects below;
- Reviews from happy customers
- Behind-the-scenes of running your business
- Video tutorials that show how to use your product
- Livestreams co-hosted with influencers (or other businesses) in your space
Plus, people get to see your personality shine through! You know you are amazing, why not share that with the world.
4. Partner with other small businesses
Another great tactic in marketing, especially if you have a budget of zero; collaborate with other small businesses, artist or artisans who have a similar target market but don’t directly compete with you.
For example, let’s say you make vases. You could partner up with someone who makes decorations that could fit in your vases and start blending both products together to share both your audience to each other. You can even start co-marketing one of the following ideas:
- Co-hosting a webinar
- Giving discounts to each other’s email list
- Shouting each other out on social media
- Becoming a guest on each other’s podcasts
- Going halves on fees to host a pop-up shop
The fun part is that you get to be featured into a similar market without having to go from the ground up!
5. Collect customer feedback
Go see/talk or reach out to your current customers. They’re the people who have seen your existing digital marketing strategy and purchased off the back of it. Think of them while trying new strategies and what worked to make them a customer in the first place.
Ask for reviews online or on social media, get them to share their opinion in person or at pop-up/shows you go to. Simply asking for their opinion, even without giving anything back, can surprisingly give you a lot of insight on how to grow your business.
The best part, you can use that feedback as customer testimonial which you can share everyone you would like!
6. Attend local events
Not everything has to be done online, they are still a lot you can do the “traditional” way. Networking can still prove to be one of the best concept to bring more light on your business. You can do such a thing at these places;
- Craft Fairs
- Farmers markets
- Networking events
- City events
Check with your local council, many of which have a list of events to support small businesses in the area. Sites like Eventbrite also round up business events in your local city at times so it might be worth it to check it out!
If you can’t find any, you can always host your own. There are many free space to host events (like a park or the public library). It might take time to build, but it can become a great way to advertise your business through brand awareness.
One tip to remember, bring your business cards. Yes, it might seem outdated, but when it comes to business, it’s still really important to carry some. It’s fast and easy for people to remember (or take notes on the card itself).
7. Sell themed gift cards
Gift cards can help you get cash flow, which is vital for any business to have. You get to have money upfront without having to ship/make a product for a customer.
If you can, offer them through your online store, social media or even in person. Market them before special days like;
- Mother’s or Father’s Day
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday
There are plenty of ways to create a marketing plan and strategy for your business, even when you don’t have the very expensive budget to make it a reality. Yes, it will require some brain work and creativity, but it’s definitely doable. The success of every brand has always started as an idea at some point, so who knows, you might have the next apple on your hands!