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5 killer low cost marketing ideas for your small business

Written by Spencer Durrant on February 12, 2016 in Strategies & Tips


A million questions about marketing exist for small business owners with a limited budget. How can you expect to get the best bang for your buck? Let's take a look at a few ways you can find low cost marketing help to get your brand in front of as many people as possible.

Related content: How to structure your SMB's customer rewards programs

Facebook CPM campaigns

I just recently wrote a post that details this entire process, and why Facebook ads have tons of value. For $1 per day, you can get your ad in front of about 1,000 people. Right now, I'm currently consulting a Colorado-based startup, and we're seeing some big returns already on Facebook ads. 

The first week of February, the new company saw a 500% increase in likes, and over 3,000 organic impressions, along with another 2,000 paid impressions. Not groundbreaking numbers by any means, but considering we spent all of $15 on those ads in the first week of February, that's a pretty solid ROI. 

Now, some small businesses have a ton of success on Facebook, and others can't seem to find any traction. It's all about where your audience spends most of their time. If you follow Facebook best practices and still aren't seeing the ROI you want, consider switching to Twitter or Instagram. Again, it all depends on what network your audience spends most of their time on.

Go local

Here in Utah, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting some kind of company on the "Silicon Slopes" that provides marketing, SEO, or social media services. While you may not be located in a tech business hub like California or Utah, there's still a very high likelihood that a local marketing company exists in your neighborhood. 

The benefits of going with a local company is that they'll have an intuitive understanding of what marketing techniques work best for your geographic area. You'll also likely find more affordable pricing from a local marketing company than a national one. 

Take advantage of Reddit

This is a marketing opportunity not enough companies are exploiting. Reddit is the 32nd most popular website in the world, and 9th in the United States alone, according to Alexa. What's great about Reddit is the fact that it's extremely niche-focused, and, according to Wordstream, its users "bristle at any obvious marketing content." 

The way to use Reddit is simple - find the subreddit that most relates to your business (the above linked Wordstream article gave examples of subreddits dedicated to unicycles, penmanship, and lockpicking) and start posting only truly great content. Anything overtly promotional won't get attention, but content that resonates with users in the subreddit will hit home and convert. 

Reddit is free, and you can easily schedule an extra 15 minutes into your daily social media routine to take advantage of this unique, completely free, marketing opportunity. 

Related content: The importance of auditing your social media efforts

Don't forget your old content

Content is king in today's marketing world. Be it written, video, or audio content, consumers are consistently looking for helpful, informative, and relevant content to help influence their buying decisions. The problem is, this content costs money. You can't get away with buying a 500-word blog post from a content mill these days. You need content that resonates, tells a story, and truly sells people on your brand without actually selling them anything. 

So what's a low-budget small business owner to do? It's simple - recycle your old content. 

This will take up some of your time, but that's still cheaper than hiring a real content company or freelancer to do the work for you. Take a look at all your existing content. Chances are that you have old eBooks, whitepapers, and blog posts that you could turn into different types of content. Webinars, video tutorials, even infographics can be repurposed and/or repackaged. Chances are a lot of the followers you have now haven't seen content you published a year ago. This newly packaged content will be fresh to them, and even your big base of long-time followers will appreciate the repackaging and reminders of the great content you've produced in the past. 

Run a referral rewards program

This is one of the pricier options available, but it pays off in the long run. This same type of marketing effort is ran by businesses of all sizes, and it's incredibly simple: offer your current members something of high value (free shipping on their next order, 40% off their next purchase, etc.) if they refer a friend to buy something from your store. The only catch is their friend had to buy something from your store, not just visit the store, in order for your existing customer to get their referral reward.

This works on two fronts. One, you get existing customers acting as free marketers for your brand. You're not spending a dime (except what it costs to send an email to current customers announcing your referral rewards program) to get your customers talking about your store, and you'll recoup the loss you take on giving them steep discounts when their friends make a purchase in your store. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it still works. 

Coming up with low cost marketing ideas isn't as difficult as it's made out to be. It just takes a bit of creativity and a willingness to think outside the box, and you'll easily be able to identify marketing solutions that don't cost you much, if anything at all.

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