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7 Low-Budget Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

Wondering how to make an impact on your marketing with a small budget? This article will guide you through 7 ways to make a splash without breaking the bank.

With an increasing number of small businesses popping up every day, competition is heating up. There are more and more options for customers to choose from when it comes to products and services.

This has made marketing more important than ever and has caused many to wonder just how they can get the word out about their business without breaking the bank.

Fortunately, there are plenty of low-budget marketing techniques small business owners can use to get noticed in today’s competitive market — let’s take a look at seven of them!

1. Creating a Free Google My Business Account

Even if you have a brick-and-mortar, it’s crucial to build an online presence. Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that helps you manage your presence on Google Search and Maps so that customers can easily find you.

With GMB, you can quickly edit your company profile, display your products and services, show different locations, track site visits and calls, encourage customers to leave reviews, and more.

Below is an example of how Google’s Knowledge Panel — a box that contains information about your business — looks for the Small Business Administration.

sba search

Your company can also show up in the Google Local Pack or Local Finder.

local pack

The only requirement to get a GMB account is having a business that has a physical location or that travels to visit customers where they are — think gardeners, electricians, and plumbers. 

2. Creating a Company Blog

Creating a blog is a great way to establish your small business as an authority in your industry and drive organic traffic from search engines.

In a survey done by Statista, 91% of businesses mentioned they use content marketing as part of their promotional efforts. One of the reasons content marketing is widely used and so effective is because it’s a good way to encourage people to purchase your products or services without being too salesy. 

When writing content, however, you don’t want to just write about anything that comes to mind. Every article you publish should be valuable to your audience and have a goal — whether it’s getting visitors to sign up for a newsletter, purchase a product or service, or attend a business event.

Additionally, learning the basics of Google search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword research is crucial for small businesses. Without proper keyword research and optimization, you could write valuable content that will never be found in search engines.

Small business owners who don’t have the resources to build a full-fledged content marketing team or the time to write high-quality content can use copywriting tools powered by artificial intelligence to help them publish content faster at an affordable rate.

3. Connecting with Influencers

Getting a high-profile celebrity like Taylor Swift to tweet about your small business can be a little difficult, not to mention expensive. 

The good news is, you can still achieve a similar effect by connecting with the bread and butter of social media marketing — influencers. In fact, research has shown that influencers are more influential than celebrities. This is because influencers tend to be people with ordinary jobs, making them more relatable to your ideal audience.

Here are a few tips to help you find influencers in your niche:

  • Spy on your competitors. Search for your competitors' hashtags on social media to see which influencers are talking about them. If they're already promoting a brand similar to yours, they’ll be more likely to talk about yours as well.

  • Search for industry-related hashtags. For example, if you're in the health and wellness industry, you could search for hashtags like #workout, #gymlife, #legday, and #fitness.

  • Use a tool. For a more automated process, you could use a tool like BuzzSumo's Influencer Marketing, Cision, and GroupHigh.

Keep in mind that influencers tend to get a lot of spam messages from fake accounts. Therefore, when reaching out to them, make sure that you craft a personalized message — mention some things you like about their content and ask them if they'd be interested in a partnership. 

Manually vetting influencers can take a lot of time, but it’ll give you significantly better results.

4. Contributing to Other Publications

Contributing to other publications, also known as guest blogging, is another marketing technique small business owners can use to get the word out about their business.

If you're not familiar with guest blogging, it is when brands write content for other publications in their industry in exchange for backlinks. This will allow them to increase brand awareness and tap into the publication's audience. 

Here are a few tips to help you get started with guest blogging:

  • Find websites in your industry. When guest posting, you don't want to target every website accepting contributions. Not only is this time-consuming, but you won't get high-quality traffic. For example, if you have an electric car company and write for a nutrition website, people visiting that website will have no interest in your electric cars, so they won't click through to your site.

  • Be polite, clear, and concise. Editors are often busy, so make sure that your email is short and to the point. Quickly introduce yourself, mention how you'd like to contribute, give them at least three topics to choose from, and link to some of your previously published articles.

  • Follow up. If you haven't heard back about your pitch, be sure to send a follow-up email. For small publications, you can wait at least two weeks. For big ones, you can wait between three and four weeks before sending a follow-up email.

  • Include a backlink. When writing your guest article, remember to add a link back to your website — after all, that's the reason you're giving them free content, right?

  • Thank the editor. After your post has been published, send the editor an email thanking them for the opportunity.

5. Being Active In Your Community

Small business owners should also focus on their local community. This will help you gain more knowledge about the industry and grow your network. 

For example, if you own a bakery, hosting free events like "cake decorating" or "ice cream tasting" for local schools and senior groups can not only provide more exposure to your business but also allow you to connect with your customers and prospective clients.

You should also be on the lookout for events and opportunities related to your products and services. Partner with local nonprofit organizations or other businesses in your field and offer discounts to their members.

People tend to be more inclined to purchase from companies that are known to help their community. 

For instance, you could help your local nonprofit with their Giving Tuesday campaign, which is the biggest event of the year for a lot of nonprofits — think of it as the Cyber Monday of nonprofits. While you may not get donations to your company, you will reach a whole new audience and create a good image for your business.

6. Joining Facebook Groups, Quora, and Reddit

People often go on Facebook groups and forums like Quora and Reddit to ask questions about different topics. This is a great way for your company to start building authority and create brand awareness.

For example, whenever someone asks a question, you want to provide a clear answer and drop a link to a blog post on your website where they can learn more.

Keep in mind that some groups don’t allow you to leave links to your site. In fact, most don’t. That’s why it’s important that you optimize your Facebook profile with information about your business. That way, when someone sees you answered their question and clicks through to your profile, they’ll see your business website.

7. Asking for Referrals

One of the most powerful ways of marketing your small business with a low budget is by simply asking your friends, family, and current customers for referrals. In another survey, 38% of customers mentioned that online reviews are very important before making a purchase decision.

Here are a few techniques you can use to get referrals:

  • Keep it simple. If someone is happy with your product or service, don’t be afraid to just ask them for a referral.

  • Get personal. When asking for referrals, you want to make sure that you ask each friend, customer, or family member personally instead of sending an email broadcast.

  • Offer incentives. Offer customers gift cards, free products, or a discount on their next purchase in exchange for referrals. 

  • Feature your customers. Ask customers who have gotten great results with your product or service if you could feature them in an article or social media post. When customers feel like you care about them, they’ll be more likely to talk to others about your company.

  • Provide referral templates. You want to make them as easy as possible for people to refer others. One way of doing this is by providing them with email or social media captions templates that are ready to use.

Let’s Start Growing

These are just a few of the low-budget marketing tips for small business owners that can help you build your brand and generate more sales. Remember to keep it simple, personalize your interactions with customers, offer incentives if possible, and provide referral templates so people have everything they need at their fingertips to refer others.

If you’d like to learn more about growing your business, feel free to explore this guide on how to fund your small business.


Contributed by Mike Khorev

posted September 1, 2021
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