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Best Free Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

We know that most small businesses don’t have a huge marketing budget to work with. We also know that as a small business owner, there isn’t tons of time to research and find zillions of marketing ideas. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best free and cheap marketing ideas for small businesses. We’ll tell you some free and easy marketing ideas to help you promote your business!

marketing ideas

Free Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses 

Marketing is the effort of promoting or selling your products, services, or business as a whole. All of these small business marketing ideas are completely free, and most don’t require a ton of time or effort, either. Business cards are a great start, but these marketing tactics help you reach even more potential customers.

Create a Google My Business Account 

A Google My Business profile is one of the best free marketing tools on the internet. You can create a free listing for your business that helps your company show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the right-side Knowledge Panel for branded searches. It takes more than just completing a GMB page, however. You need to optimize your page for the best results.

Post and Engage on Social Media

Remember: making an account on most social media platforms is free! There are 15 top social media sites for marketing. Create accounts for your business on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other platforms where your potential clients hang out. But keep in mind that it’s about much more than just throwing up some social media posts. Work on building your brand awareness and a community online. Make sure to express your brand’s personality and engage with your audience. This builds trust and loyalty. One of the best things you can do is talk directly to your followers.

If you have a blog on your website, use social media to promote your blog posts. Or, directly promote your products. Either way, you will drive traffic to your site! You can also try fun things like running polls and posting memes. The key to social media marketing is to post regularly and be active on the accounts you create.

marketing ideas for small businesses

Tag People and Brands on Social Media

Another way to connect with your following is to tag them on social media. Tag your loyal customers, brand evangelists, or even other local companies and vendors you use on social media. This helps you broaden your reach organically and helps you recruit new clients. You can also encourage your followers to tag your account in their posts, especially when they visit your physical location. This is called user-generated content and it is an ideal way to create content for your site or social media.

Utilize Hashtags

Another way to broaden your reach online that is free is to utilize hashtags on your social media, especially Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook. Not only can you use broad or popular hashtags that help you get attention, but more specific or custom hashtags are great for branding yourself, too. For local small businesses, location-based hashtags are also incredibly important. This helps people find you locally. Use a mix of various hashtags to help the most people find you.

Don’t Skip LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an often-underutilized social media website. It’s for more than just finding your next job! Share your latest content, discuss the latest trends in your industry, discuss your companies’ latest updates, and share others’ content, too. This helps you grow your brand and earn respect in your industry. Encourage your employees to use LinkedIn, too!

small business marketing ideas

Free Marketing Ideas That Require Some Work

Don’t worry, these strategies are all free, too. However, some of them require more time and effort than the other tactics. However, you are likely to reap the rewards of putting some time into these marketing strategies.

Try Local SEO 

Local SEO is key for small, local businesses. This strategy is all about making sure you are found by people in your area on search engines. Working on your SEO is free and can help your business compete with larger businesses. It might take some time and effort, but if you start working on your local SEO now, it can really help.

Here are some local SEO tips:

  • Use plenty of location-based keywords to the titles, headings, and content of your website pages.
  • Add your business to plenty of local online directories, and keep your details consistent across all platforms.
  • Publish web pages or blog posts specifically about the areas your business serves.

Start Email Marketing

Email marketing helps you engage with your existing customers, but it can also help you connect with new ones. If you haven’t already, start collecting email addresses now. It is one of the most effective ways to see a return on your investment. An email nudge or shopping cart reminder might just be the thing to convince someone to complete their purchase. Make sure to be creative so your emails stand out in your readers’ inboxes, including an offer and call to action in every email, and track your performance.

Here are some easy and quick email marketing ideas:

  • Offer website visitors a discount or an extra piece of content for subscribing to your emails.
  • Nurture your customers via email and offer to answer questions to move them along the sales funnel.
  • Try an email marketing service like MailChimp to help your email marketing get even easier.

Create Infographics 

A great marketing tool is an infographic. While it’s best to use original, proprietary data for your infographics, you can also use existing data (with credit) and package it in a new and exciting way for your audience.

Infographics might look intimidating, but with the help of the internet, anyone can make them. Try a tool like Canva, which has free templates to help you get started.

Look for Free Ad Promo Credits

A major digital advertising campaign might not fit within your budget, but there are tons of coupons and discounts for Facebook and Google Ads all over the internet. If you seek them out, you can see if it might be worth it to invest in a longer-term plan. Many of our clients find that PPC advertising is worth the budget in the end!

free marketing ideas

Apply for Business Awards

Lots of industries and local publishers have plenty of business awards up for grabs. Oftentimes, the awards come with a digital badge you can place on your website. These badges boost your company’s credibility and help you increase sales.

Try Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is all about creativity, rather than budget. It’s a bold tactic, but it works locally and can get people talking about your business. It can be something as small as writing your business’ phone number on the sidewalk with chalk, or something major like a flash mob.

Publish Valuable Content

Content marketing is a popular and effective strategy for a reason, and it doesn’t require a large budget if you do it yourself. Publish valuable content that helps your audience and demonstrates your company’s authority and expertise in your industry. Even if writing isn’t your strong point, don’t worry! Simply share your expertise on your given topic. Remember that you are the expert.

Start a Blog

If you want to make content a regular part of your marketing plan, try blogging. Many beginners are hesitant to start blogging, but there are a ton of benefits. A blog drives traffic to your website, increases user engagement, builds brand awareness, and strengthens your SEO. It’s a free and easy way to promote your company digitally, though it might take some effort. Don’t worry about making your posts long and complicated. Rather, speak simply, talk about different subjects in each post, and post regularly.

Form Partnerships

Another way to market your business is to partner with a business related to your industry (but who is not a direct competitor) for a joint promotion or project. You can do this online with a giveaway or offline with a special event. This is a mutually beneficial situation for both you and the business you partner with to gain twice the exposure within your niche.

Post Helpful Videos

Video is an extremely popular form of content right now. You can use videos to create additional helpful content for your target audience, which establishes your company as a reliable expert in your field. For example, you can create how-to videos, demonstrate how to use your products, show behind-the-scenes coverage of your business, conduct interviews with your staff, or even simple slideshows. Don’t forget to add a call to action at the end and include plenty of branding.

Even if you are new to creating videos, don’t worry. It’s easy to make videos and upload them to YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook. There is also plenty of video editing software available for beginners.

Use Employees as Brand Ambassadors

The original marketing strategy is word of mouth. Customers are more likely to purchase a product or service when they hear about it from a friend, family member, or even a stranger. Most people trust other people over brands. When you encourage your employees to act as brand ambassadors, you tap into their entire network. For example, host a friends and family sale every so often. Encourage your employees to share it! Use the connections you already have in place.

Recycle Old Content

Don’t be afraid to make the most of the content you already have at your disposal. If you had a hit on one social media platform, repurpose it on other channels! Or, repackage the content into another channel. For example, take a popular blog post and use the same information to make a video or infographic. There is no penalty for re-promoting your older content.

Host a Giveaway

Okay, this one might require you to give away a free product or service, but it will most likely be worth it. Giveaways are popular on social media right now because they work! It requires minimum effort and can get lots of eyeballs on your business. You don’t have to offer a high-price item. People love free stuff, no matter what. There are several ways to host a giveaway, but the main strategy is to ask participants to like, follow, or tag your business in one of their own posts.

small business marketing

Small Business Marketing at SEO Design Chicago

If you need more help with small business marketing ideas to help your business grow, contact SEO Design Chicago today. Our marketing services are most likely cheaper and more effective than you realize. We help you cover all of your customer bases.

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