A List of 20 Small Business Marketing Ideas
Get your business noticed this year even if you don’t have a big budget for entrepreneurial marketing. Here follows 20 cheap or free small business marketing ideas with links to 100 free marketing ideas from Uncle Sam and 3 places to advertise your small business for free.
1. Send out a press release. Think of a unique angle about your business to write up in a press release. It must be newsworthy enough for journalists and editors to want to write about it. Within the press release, be sure you answer “Who, what, where, when and why." Contact information with email and phone, a link to your Web site and a media kit are all important parts of the press release.
2. Make your press release do double and triple duty. You don’t just write a plain press release and send it via direct mail or email anymore. It’s wise to optimize your press release for the search engines. Be sure to post a copy of your optimized press release on your own Web site – perhaps on a Media Page. Send it to any of hundreds of e-zines, blogs and Web sites. Everywhere it is posted or carried verbatim on the Internet will help bring more traffic to your Web site as readers “click through" to learn more.
3. Write expert-type articles or guest blogs and give them away for free (yes free). Your payment is a marketing resource box at the end of the article with a link to your Web site(s) and email. Everywhere the article travels is free publicity for your business. Track the results of optimized press releases and free articles using Google Alerts.
4. Offer expert interviews to reporters. Call up your local newsroom to let them know you’re available as an expert in your area of specialty.
5. Public speaking engagements help get your name recognized and will help establish you as an expert.
6. Sponsor an event at your office – maybe a neighborhood Christmas party.
7. Sponsor a sports team.
8. Business cards. Don’t just give them away – collect them. Add them all to your contact database or email list for marketing mailings.
9. Join local business groups and online networking organizations like LinkedIn.com.
10. Sponsor a contest to get names and contact information to add to your contact database. The prize can be something you already own, or something you barter with another entrepreneur for.
11. If you sell used cars, put a sticker or license plate with your advertising information on each car. It’s amazing how many people leave these on after purchasing the car – they’re like traveling billboards for the dealership.
12. Put a nameplate or sign on your own car.
13. Optimize every page of your Web site to increase search engine traffic and capture new customers.
14. Make your brochure downloadable on your Web site. You save on printing costs while the customer has instant access to your best marketing message.
15. Word-of-mouth advertising. Satisfy your existing customers and they’ll likely tell at least ten people about you. Viral advertising (word of mouth via the Internet) is even better – that way, thousands of potential clients are exposed to a customer’s testimonial. Click here to learn more about viral marketing.
16. Put a sign outside your business that reads “Free cup of ice water" or “Free iced pops" in the summer. These are very inexpensive good will gestures that will be long remembered.
17. Leave your business card on community, restaurant, groceries, convenient store and library message boards.
18. Post ads on Craigslist.org – it’s like an international classifieds section.
19. Post your Web site URL on community social Web sites along with an incentive to go visit – like a trivia contest, a treasure hunt…
20. Offer a free newsletter, report, e-book or e-zine to your customers when they get to your Web site. Your opt-in box for the free e-zine will capture their contact information and help build your mailing list.