Low Cost, Big Impact Marketing Ideas for Small Business

Many people consider marketing to be a costly exercise. As with all things in life – business and personal – many great things can be achieved, even on a limited budget. Remember, the real outcome you are looking for is value. No matter the amount you are spending, if it is delivering no value to your business (branding or sales conversion), then it is not money well invested.  

Here is our “Top 10” for cost effective marketing initiatives –

1) Content Publishing

Don’t just publish content for the sake of it – remember the adage, “quality over quantity”. It’s important that the content you publish is GREAT not just OK. There are some great platforms available for you to set up a blog including WordPress, Ghost and  SquareSpace. Check out The Next Web’s list of the 18 best blogging platforms here.

2) Video Marketing

Video marketing can be incredibly powerful, and if you make it short and to the point, can lead to great traction with your audience. Beware the lengthy marketing video! Aim for 30-45 seconds to make a great intro, present the critical information, and then lead the customer to other pages on your site for more info and to start their interaction with your business.

3) Guest Blogging

Do you feel you are a true authority on a topic? If so, guest blogging could be for you. Identify online publications, groups and blogging sites where you can submit your own articles for publication. This is a great PR builder, allowing you to build up your business and personal professional profile.

4) Social Networking

Share yours and others content through your social media networks and build an audience that suits your market. It’s great to share not just your own content, but others too. Remember, networking is not just online! Join your local business group and attend networking and trade events.

5) Email Marketing

Gone are the days of 5-10 cents per email sent. The emergence of email platforms such as MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and others provides you with instant access to powerful tools to communicate with your customers. Don’t bombard your audience with emails just because you can, make sure that each email you send has an objective, a clear call to action, and is sent at a time that is going to give you best cut through. Remember, only email people who have given you authority to do so.

6) Advertising

Who would have thought I’d have Advertising on a list of “low cost” marketing ideas. Advertising can be as costly or as cheap as you want. Set your budget at just $5 if you want, at the end of the day you can potentially show your advert to many thousands of people for a very low cost. There are a few things to keep in mind here: make sure you target your ad (ie. only show your ad to those who are relevant – geographically and demographically), check your ad’s analytics every day, and always put an end date on the campaign – this means you will get reminders that it’s ending and you can always extend it if you are happy with it’s performance. Don’t just think of Google – look at LinkedIn, Facebook, forums and other sites where your audience is likely to be. Plus, there are always opportunities to get bonus “ad credit”, keep your ears to the ground!

7) Apply for Business / Industry Awards

No matter what area your business is in, there is likely to be a business award that suits it. There are a huge array of business awards available from the likes of Telstra and BRW through to industry associations like the Australian Institute of Marketing. Remember, you have to be in it to win it.

8) Car Signage

There are some great and inexpensive methods available to have your business name and details on your car. From window stickers to large magnets to go on your door, you are getting your branding on the road every time you are.

9) Online Directories

From Yellow Pages to Google My Business, it’s important to have your business correctly listed across the internet. In almost all instances, there is a free listing available. These online directories will of course try to sell you the bigger and better listing, but start small and work up from there. You don’t need to have a website to be in the online directories, but it certainly helps. If you do have a website, make sure you keep an eye on the traffic to see what is driving good traffic to your site. It’s also great for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

10) Website

We often encounter small businesses who have a static, single-page website that has been in place for over 10 years and never been touched. There are many cost effective ways to build a website, but even it if is just a few pages it is important that it is updated, refreshed and not simply ignored. Having an old, out of date website can often reflect more poorly on your company than having no website at all.

No matter your budget, there is likely to be a marketing tactic that you can use. Whilst we’ve only listed 10 here, there are heaps more and the list could easily continue. From online contests to Reddit, business cards to business partnering – it’s important that you choose a marketing channel and message that suit your customers and your business.