12 cheap marketing ideas that work

You don’t have to dump an endless stream of money into marketing your business, and you don’t have to rely solely on social media marketing when you’re working with limited funds. Budget-friendly ideas work beautifully, especially when you’re targeting a small demographic or a local potential customer base.

  1. Optimize your website. You don’t need a full-blown SEO specialist to improve your visibility on search engines. Research keywords associated with your industry and business, update your title tags and meta descriptions accordingly, and keep content focused and organized.
  2. Create a blog. Although a time investment, tying a blog to your business site lets you offer valuable content to customers and potential customers, and provides an easy way to keep your site fresh.
  3. Comment on other blogs in your industry. Remain thoughtful, focus on the content you’re commenting on, and offer something of value. With these three rules, you increase the chance that readers will click over to your site or blog and avoid coming off as “spammy.”
  4. Offer guest posts. Reach out to bloggers who fall in your niche and suggest guest posts. Running an interior design business? Contact home decor blogs and pitch a post idea that you think will work for the site’s readers. Asking a blogger to guest post on your site also increases your traffic and adds complexity and a fresh voice to the content you’re putting out.
  5. Answer questions on forums. There’s a forum for everything, and they give businesses a great way to reach out and build a following. A mechanic shop active in a car repair forum and offering their expertise on minor issues has the opportunity to increase traffic to their site and social media accounts, just by being friendly, helpful, and avoiding sales pitches.
  6. Go old school with press releases. Do you have a new product or service launching? Put together a punchy press release and send it out to local news outlets.
  7. Consider postcard mailers. Cheaper than full-blown mailers, postcards cost less to send, less to produce, and if you target your direct mail list correctly, you’ll get your money back and then some.
  8. Create promotional campaigns with other local businesses. Pinpoint local businesses in your area whose products or services go hand-in-hand, yet don’t compete, with yours. Together, develop a joint marketing campaign, sharing the costs and the benefits.
  9. Make friends with local journalists. Newspaper and magazine ads get costly, but local journalists are constantly looking for story ideas. If you have a new campaign, product launch, or you’re building yourself up as an expert in your field, reach out to reporters and pitch story or interview ideas.
  10. Take advantage of free trials and samples. Promote trials and samples in-store and through your business’s social media sites to draw customers in. Free cupcake Tuesday at a bakery or a free family holiday photo at your studio gets people in the door, and typically results in additional sales.
  11. Look out for discounted ads. A few days before publication, magazines and newspapers discount unclaimed ad space. Take advantage of the reduced cost and dip your toe in print marketing.
  12. Don’t forget classic classifieds. Depending on your business type, placing an ad in your local paper’s classified section or on sites like Craigslist is a cheap yet effective marketing solution.

Remember – you don’t need a national chain’s marketing budget to get your business, product, and services out there. Take advantage of economical opportunities, be creative, and diversify your marketing avenues.


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