Do your own budget marketing

Small businesses on a tight budget often find traditional marketing methods beyond their means, but there are some ingenious ways to shout about your product or service that won’t cost the earth. We’ve come up with some cost-efficient budget marketing ideas to help you grow your business with the minimum outlay.

  1. Create a network Work with complementary businesses that reinforce one another. For example, if you have a wine shop and there’s a florist’s down the street create postcards to leave in each other’s shops or share the costs by advertising both your businesses on one piece of marketing collateral. If you offer a professional service rather than a product you could form a consortium – a group of complementary businesses who cross-refer one another. This works because someone who needs, say, a plasterer, may well need a decorator too.
  2. Get personal You can put together a mini customer relationship management system with nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet. Use it to keep track of your customers’ birthdays, then contact them offering a free ‘birthday gift’ in celebration. For example, Aveda gives cardholders a free therapy treatment as a birthday treat.
  3. Sponsor an event It doesn’t have to be a huge, corporate affair to have an impact. Something as small as a local school fair in which you could sponsor an event or donate products or services to a stall or a raffle will help you reach a new audience and demonstrate your socially responsible credentials.
  4. Brand your car, bag and yourself It might not feel cool to drive around in a ‘branded’ vehicle but it’s free advertising. And if your company has an interesting name even better, as it will stick in people’s minds. Depending on how committed you are to your venture, you could even wear a T-shirt with your company logo, or for maximum effect get it tattooed on your body!
  5. Think outside the box Guerilla marketing is all about promoting your goods or services on a very low budget, and so is ideal for small businesses. It relies on time, energy and imagination. One tactic is to take out a billboard spot for every other month. Chances are, no one will book the billboard for the ‘off months’, which means you’ll get more ad time for no extra cash.