15 free or low cost marketing ideas for small businesses

Resource Center

Dwania Peele, Owner and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women, a network that provides all the resources necessary to ensure the successful development of small businesses from the planning stages through to reality, shares her 15 affordable marketing ideas.
1) Communication: start up as many social media sites appropriate for your business; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, blog site, live chat through your business website and a toll-free phone number.
2) Business cards: leave them everywhere and hand them out to everyone!

3)  E-mail newsletters: collect e-mails and send out weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly newsletters informing customers about upcoming promotions or events.

4)  Business webpage: keep your website and social media pages up to date and fresh. Your customers need to see that you are active within your business.

5)  YouTube: create a video of your product or service, post the YouTube link of your video on all your social media accounts and on both your blog and business site. 

6)  Stay connected: keep in touch with your clients by sending them a hand written thank you card and attach a coupon.

7)  Loyalty: reward your loyal customers with, for example, a 20% off discount for their next purchase. Do not assume customers will keep coming back, acknowledge them by showing that you value their commitment to your business.

8)  Go old school: print out pamphlets, brochures and go door to door in your community and hand them out. You could also leave them on the windshield of cars in a full parking lot at a local mall.

9)  Get listed on directories: both Google and Bing offer free listings for local businesses.

10) Vendors: speak with the vendors from whom you buy products or services from and ask them if they know of any other businesses that could use your products or services. Also, check to see if they have a bulletin board where you can display your business card and ask to place yours up!

11) Offer to be a speaker: often volunteer organizations, industry conferences and local business groups are looking for guest speakers for their meetings. This kind of opportunity will help you and your business gain contacts, name recognition and publicity.

12) Product or services: it does not matter what you are trying to sell, get out there, hand out sample size products and show off your work. This will help potential customers get a feel for your company and give them a chance to see what you have to offer.

13) On the go marketing: if you use a car or truck for your business ensure that your business name, logo and contact information are visible on the vehicle. For a less costly alternative use magnetic signs and place them on the vehicle.

14) Contest: run a contest through your business website or on Facebook. Ensure that the prize is desirable and that it relates to your business. Example: a coupon offering 40% off a service from your business or a gift bag full of sample size products. *Note: this will also create traffic on your business website and social media sites, along with helping you gain more followers*

15) Community events: a fundraiser, festival or even a family day event, ensure you get out there and offer or donate your services/products to events within your community. This is a great way to get your brand out there and help you better connect with potential clients/customers in your area.


About the Author
Dwania Peele is the Owner and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women. A lover of entrepreneurship, volunteering and networking, Dwania strives to inspire aspiring and current entrepreneurs in Canada. A chemist by training and education, but an entrepreneur at heart, Dwania has started 2 successful businesses in the past 7 years. For the past 5 years, Canadian Small Business Women has served as a platform for aspiring and current small business women of Canada. Through e-courses, blogs, online chats, Seminars and Expos, CSBW provides avenues for entrepreneurs to showcase their expertise. Dwania continues to make an impact by appearing as guest speakers at various entrepreneur events and by guest appearances on panels across the GTA to provide valuable insight to those in need.

RELATED ARTICLES

 
 

10 golden rules for designing your business card

Your business card is the first marketing product a potential partner or customer sees from you. It’s also one of the best ways to let people know you run your own business. 
Read more

The Vistaprint Guide to Flyers

Well before phrases like “street marketing” and “canvassing” were invented, flyers were already viewed as a terrific way to get the word out.
Read more