$0 Marketing Budget? Here Are 10 Creative Ways To Land Clients
We all wish we had million dollar marketing budgets...but unless you're working for Disney or Nike, that probably isn't the case.
(If you do work for Nike, can you hook us up with some free shoes?) 👀
Important disclosure: we're proud affiliates of some tools mentioned in this guide. If you click an affiliate link and subsequently make a purchase, we will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you (you pay nothing extra).
Spreading the word about what your business is and what it offers is the best way to ensure it succeeds.
In fact, many parts of your business probably rely on this. One of the best ways to ensure this happens is by using free marketing efforts.
And who doesn't love free stuff?
We've got 10 brilliant (free!) ways you can bring attention to your brand.
- Publish Distributed Content 📝
- Create A Customer Referral Program 🗣
- Create And Send A Customer Satisfaction Survey 📨
- Tell A Story Using Milestones Or Data 🗃
- Create a Custom Infographic 🖼
- Use One-to-One Marketing 💁🏽♀️
- Hold a Contest Online 🧐
- Develop Partnerships 🤝
- Consider Guerilla Marketing 🤔
- Host A Class Or Event 🎟
Small business marketing ideas can mean several different things. For example, it can mean public relations but it can also mean advertising, sales, and promotions.
Marketing is a multi-layered process where you work to introduce your business to the world and promote it to interested customers.
Sounds like a piece of cake, right? Well, it's not always that simple.
There are such a large number of marketing ideas for small businesses today, with varied costs and expenses, figuring out what to do can be the challenging part.
For example, the cost of traditional advertising methods such as direct-mail campaigns and Facebook ads may cause your marketing budget to go into the red.
However, not all marketing tactics will break the bank. Successful businesses know how to create marketing plans that don't cost a fortune.
If you're a business owner with a small marketing budget (or one that is nonexistent) check out some of the free marketing ideas you can begin using today.
1. Publish Distributed Content 📝
Startup - Blog Posts designed by Designmodo. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
You are probably aware of the wonders and effectiveness of social media marketing. But many of the top social media channels, like Twitter and Facebook, are pay to play. In many cases, the costs will become too high to reach your target audience.
While you can still invest in publishing on those sites, you should also consider alternative content distribution networks when looking for free marketing ideas.
You will find that with good content marketing strategy and some targeted blog posts, you can market your business for a relatively low cost.
2. Create A Customer Referral Program 🗣
Word Of Mouth Marketing Illustration designed by Gyöngyi Balogh for Creatopy. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
While it’s often overlooked, a powerful way to spread the word about your small business is with word-of-mouth marketing.
There is a reason that word of mouth is on this list – up to 92% of customers believe recommendations made by friends or family members over other forms of advertising.
One of the best ways to boost word-of-mouth marketing is by creating a customer referral program.
Try to provide your existing customers with something they would actually want – a discount, complimentary service, free sample product, or another lower-cost reward for referring a new customer to the business.
By having your customers tell their family and friends about your business, you will find more customers than any other marketing method. Also, a customer referral reward can help you show appreciation for your customers and current clients.
3. Create And Send A Customer Satisfaction Survey 📨
Scheduling a survey 🗓✍️ designed by Diana Palavandishvili for Fintory. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
With a customer satisfaction survey, you can learn about your current customer base and it is a good way to ensure your customers remember you. You can look at surveys like rouge email marketing.
Customers are going to appreciate that you asked them for their opinion and feel more invested in the results of the survey, which is going to translate into more loyalty as time passes.
You may even be able to learn something about how you can improve your business as you move forward.
4. Tell A Story Using Milestones Or Data 🗃
Storytelling Board designed by Krunal Designer. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
This is a favorite marketing idea for many business owners.
Take some time to crunch the numbers on your business and see if you can find any significant stories within the data.
For example, have you recently done business with $1,000 clients in your area? Or you could provide your service at a percentage that is higher than the industry standards?
Whatever you find, publish the results online or put a sign in front of your store. Most people respond rather well to numbers and they are an easy-to-digest data point.
5. Create a Custom Infographic 🖼
Data Visualization Infographics designed by Charles Honig. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
With all the discussion of data, it is worth noting that infographics are very powerful marketing tools. They are also pretty easy and affordable to make.
What’s even better, infographics are a visual type of marketing effort. When someone looks at them, they are going to be able to understand what is being said quickly.
There are several online tools that can be used to create these, and they do not require any design or software skills to get started.
6. Use One-to-One Marketing 💁🏽♀️
Customer Support - Illustration designed by Pixel True. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
1:1 marketing is a customer relationship or customer retention strategy that is designed to help boost personalized interactions with your customers. This involves direct mail and personal outreach whenever possible.
Some examples of using one-to-one marketing include:
★ Handwritten postcards
★ Creative business cards
★ Personalized birthday emails
All this costs time; however, it is a free way to market your business. It is smart to find a good customer relationship management (CRM) software, which helps to automate this process.
Explore various CRM software options to find the best fit for your business.
When you personalize interactions with your customers, it will help to foster more loyalty along with a higher ROI for your efforts. This tactic is definitely one that is quality over quantity.
7. Hold a Contest Online 🧐
Announcing the coaster playoff winners! designed by Sticker Mule. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
The prizes you offer don’t have to be extravagant. Just offer a few free products or complementary services. This is often enough to encourage potential customers to invest some time to apply.
Contests serve another benefit, too. For example, they can be used to gather customer information, such as emails, while encouraging them to spread the word about the business to even more possible customers.
Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook are a great way to do this and help your content gain traction with prospective clients and customers.
You might even go viral!
8. Develop Partnerships 🤝
Partnerships Illustration designed by Z1. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
When it comes to marketing, developing partnerships is a must. Try to team up with a business that complements your own. This means one that is not a direct competitor.
A good way to do this is by hosting an event or some type of online giveaway together.
You can develop this partnership for a short- or long period of time. In either case, when you partner with another business, you will have access to their customer base and they will have access to yours, which means it is a win-win scenario. This type of access would cost you a lot otherwise.
9. Consider Guerilla Marketing 🤔
Guerilla CX designed by NOPE Creative. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
While this may sound a bit intimidating, all you really need is a bit of ingenuity. With guerilla marketing you are using a public space to make it known – just a little sidewalk chalk and a well-written message can go quite a long way at a busy intersection.
Graffiti and stickers (as long as you have the right permits) are also great ways to grab the attention of potential customers. If you have a bit of creativity in you, this is an effective and affordable way to market your business.
10. Host A Class Or Event 🎟
NEWS: Upcoming AWWWWARDS Course designed by Britton Stipetic for Rogue Studio. Connect with them on Dribbble; the global community for designers and creative professionals.
You can plan an event or even host a class to attract all new customers to your business all while educating them about what your industry has to offer.
The class or event will serve as its own form of advertising, and it is a great reason to advertise.
Be sure to print out flyers and post them around the town to generate interest. This is a great way to add value to your business and do it without having to pay too much.
Are You Ready to Market Your Business? 🙌🏽
As you can see, there are more than a few ways you can market your business even if you don’t have a large marketing budget (or any marketing budget).
Being informed and knowing what the best options are will help you achieve success with your marketing efforts – regardless of what you decide to do.
This article was written by Wendy Dessler. Wendy is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.