low budget small business marketing ideas

Many small businesses view marketing as an added expense or something you do when you have some spare time. But, really you should be looking at it as an investment into the long term reputation and future of your brand and company. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating just how important marketing is for your business in 2017.

As a small business you’re most likely short on time, resources and budget – but that doesn’t have to stop you! If you’re looking to make headway with your marketing this year then here are 9 low budget marketing ideas to help you get moving.

1. Speak to your biggest supporters

Do you know who your best customers are? If you do then make a point to speak to them directly next time they purchase something from you and use their testimonials online to post on your website, blog and social channels. Customer testimonials and reviews online are a powerful, yet underused small business marketing tool (and there are no extra costs involved).

For a start they are great for building online credibility and trust – both of which can be a powerful tool for converting prospects into customers and clients. Plus you also benefit from the fact that they count as fresh content on your website – thumbs up from Google.

Here are some awesome examples to review for inspiration before you get started.

14 inspiring ways to showcase customer testimonials online

2. Apply for local business awards


Applying or getting nominated for a local or national Small Business Award is a cost effective way to create some great PR for your business online. An additional bonus is that it’s also great for boosting your credibility, whilst validating who you are as a business

Most local business awards have websites and social media profiles, so getting yourself listed as a nominee with links to your website and online presence really helps you to get your business out there and in front of people you might not reach through other marketing tactics.

Get started by searching for your “local area + small business awards

3. Use an SEO tool to fix up your website

If you’re new to online, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of increasing your website or web page’s visibility in the search engine results. Basically – do you appear on Google?

SEO has been around for over a decade, but there are still some solid reasons to support why it needs to factor into your small business marketing plan in 2017. For a start did you know that 83% of your traffic comes from the search results, versus only 17% from paid search results. In comparison SEO is a relatively low budget, long term tactic that takes time to build up but does deliver results.

But while it may sound like a complex and technical task, doing some SEO for your website doesn’t have to cost the earth thanks to advances in technology which takes out the human time associated with researching and strategy creation. Optimising your content and website helps you to increase awareness, drive traffic to your website and be appear next to competitors who are fighting for your potential new customers.

Let technology do the hard work and sign up for a free trial of Glasshat to generate a personalised list of SEO ‘things to do’ for your website today.

5. Run free workshops or classes related to the products and services you offer.

This is a great one to jump on in the new year as people set resolutions to learn something new. Consider presenting at a local meetup that’s happening or run a small class or workshop and promote it locally. It’s a great way to expose your company to local consumer for the cost of your time and sharing expertise.

If you’re planning on running your own event consider the PR aspect, reporters are always looking for a good story. Give them what they want and get some free publicity by hosting a free event. You’ll get more response if there’s food or freebies involved.


6. Use technology to power your marketing whenever possible

If you’re running a small business the sound of automating your marketing to free up your time sounds great, doesn’t it?
Lucky for you there’s now a whole heap of low cost marketing automation tools that exist to automate time consuming marketing actions and processes, such as sending emails to customers, sharing content on social media and following up on leads. Even better than low budget is free, so check out this top list of free marketing automation tools here to get started.

10 free or super cheap marketing automation tools you can’t live without

7. Setup and maintain a blog about your area of expertise


There are heaps of benefits associated with starting up a blog for your website.

For a start adding fresh content is a great way to increase the chances of your website appearing in the search results. It also helps to boost your marketing strategy by giving your brand some personality and it’s a great way to showcase just how much you know about your industry. Everything you write on the blog can also be shared on social media for added engagement.

Even if you don’t think writing is your thing, don’t underestimate how much you know about the topics related to the products and services you offer. Writing about what you know can be easy.

Starting a blog 101: How to find partnership opportunities online

8. Reuse your blog posts for social media and email newsletters

Once you have your blog up and running you can maximise your efficiency by repurposing each piece of content you create. Cut the cost and time associated with online content creation by using what you already have. Here’s a great example of how you can use blog articles to create a unique ebook.

snip20170105_23via Hubspot Blog

9. Create a video that demos your products and services using your smartphone

Video is one of the most popular forms of content online – it’s engaging, sharable and is great at visually showcasing what you are about. Videos are powerful tools for gaining exposure and getting your message out to the world.

But creating a short high quality video to promo your product, services or company online or even customer testimonials doesn’t have to break the bank. The quality of video shot on smartphones has dramatically improved over the past couple of years and the list of editing apps available is endless.

You’ll have heard of Instagram but here are some others to try:

  • VSCO (Android and iPhone)
  • Snapseed (Android, iPhone and iPad)
  • Pixlr Express (Android, iOS)
  • If you’re looking for other local cost marketing ideas for your small business check out Glasshat. We scan your website to generate hundreds of things that you can do to improve your online presence – and the best bit, many of them don’t cost anything other than your time. Give it a go today!