Every business, large or small should have a defined marketing strategy with measurable objectives and an actionable plan. In this blog, we share 29 free or budget-friendly marketing ideas that every business should use.

1. Perfect your pitch
Whether you’re a small business or large enterprise, it’s really important that everyone who represents your business has perfected your company and product pitch. Ensuring that everyone in your business can deliver a consistent, seamless and powerful 60 second elevator pitch is essential.

2. Make your email signatures engaging
Your email signature is a perfect place to share news, marketing promotions, details of upcoming events etc. Make sure you change it frequently to inform your contacts what you’re doing, what special offers are coming their way or where you’ll next be able to meet up with them.

3. Make your business cards do more than say your name
Your business cards are a hidden gem for sharing much more than your company name and contact details. It’s surprising how many companies don’t make full use of their business cards and only print on one side! Your company business cards should reflect your company brand, and convey what your company does as well as provide the essential contact details. Anyone in your business in a customer facing or lead generation role should use every opportunity possible to hand out their business cards to potential new clients.

4. Directory listings
Local online directories, industry listings, you name it, you should ensure that your company is listed consistently on all directories that your target market may go to search for your products and services. Not only will this help interested parties locate you but it will also add to your overall SEO rankings.

5. Be a content marketing king
Writing informative, engaging and relevant content is a must for any business now-a-days. Make sure that your content is powerful though. It’s better to create less content that has real meaning to your audience than to churn out loads of content that isn’t original or engage your audience.

6. Get vlogging
Video is huge right now and it doesn’t have to cost the earth to start producing your own video content. Whether you move from traditional blogging to vlogging on a regular basis, produce the odd product demo or a meet the team series of videos, your audience will love it. Video content earns better Google rankings too, so set up your phone, download your free vlogging app and start talking.

7. Re-purpose your content
You’ve written a blog, posted it online, seen some engagement, now what? There’s nothing wrong in re-purposing your content, turn you blog in a webinar, your webinar into a white paper, your white paper into a press release. There’s nothing wrong in taking this approach and creating a new piece of content that will engage another segment of your target market.

8. Record a podcast
Share useful and informative content via a series of podcasts that your users can automatically download when you post a new one to your site.

9. Run a webinar
Webinars allow you to share content with a live audience without ever needing to leave your offices. Attendees can listen, watch and ask questions.

10. Organise a Tweetchat
TweetChat is where the world comes to chat. A Twitter chat platform which allows users to participate in real-time hashtag conversations.

11. Guest blog
Ask your partners and industry publications if you can guest blog on their website and invite like-minded individuals with complimentary products to guest blog on your site.

12. Email marketing
Some might say that email marketing is ineffective now-a-days but I beg to differ. Email marketing is still a highly relevant and useful marketing tool. Used correctly, email marketing can attract new prospects (invite them to sign up to your email newsletter when they first visit your website), nurture their customer journey with you (ensure you share your engaging content marketing and target your messages to match their areas of interest), and then keep them engaged and informed long after their first purchase with you. The secret is to balance frequency with original, education and relevant content and the odd promotion here and there.

13. Get social
Social media is an essential marketing tool but you must choose your social networks wisely and have a very clear plan as to why you’re using that network and what outcome you’re looking for. Typically, you can assume that Facebook is more for B2C or end user customer markets and LinkedIn is for B2B or business markets. Both are good for lead generation and engaging your audience. Twitter, in my opinion, is more for educating the market, gathering market information and monitoring the social chatter within your industry and by clients. There’s also Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube… the list goes on. You don’t have to be on all of them but you do need to know why you are on the platforms you are on.

14. Join LinkedIn Groups
Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and post to them regularly. This isn’t an overt selling medium so make sure you post relevant, informative and engaging content, ask questions and answer other’s posts. The idea is that you’ll rise as a thought leader, sharing useful content and engaging with helpful information and advice. Then, when the time comes, you’ll be top of the list for anyone looking for your products and services.

15. Recommendations and reviews
More so than ever before, referral and influencer marketing are important. Consumers and potential clients seek reinforcement about your company, products and level of service through asking others or through client testimonials and reviews. If you have happy clients, ask them to provide a short testimonial for you to post on your website, better still ask them if they’ll let you write a case study and post that on your website, social networks and even industry media. Make good use of Google Reviews, Social Network reviews and ratings, industry-specific review platforms such as TripAdvisor for the travel industry and so on, to ensure your brand and reputation precedes you.

16. Network
Relationships are key. People buy from people. You’re definitely more likely to promote your business, generate more leads and grow your brand awareness by getting out and about and networking with your industry and target audience. Networking can come in many forms and guises, from local business networking groups to larger industry and trade events. You could look to host your own event.

17. Create a media list and engage through PR
When you have some news that your industry or target audience would find interesting, write a press release and send it to your media list. You may have different lists such as local press and media as well as industry publications. You could contact the media beforehand to ask what sort of news they feature in their publications and double check how they like to receive press releases. Some publications love to feature case studies and finished projects, so make sure you get good photography to accompany your press release.

18. Radio interviews
Just like speaking engagements and PR, radio interviews are free marketing. Approach your local radio stations and ask if they’ll have you in for short lunchtime radio interview. This is your time to discuss your business, market and the challenges your target clients may be facing. Once again, it’s not a direct sales pitch but can definitely open your target market’s eyes to the fact that you and your products and services are available.

19. Telemarketing
The good old cold call still has a place in our marketing strategies. Although I like to see telemarketing as part of the overall marketing journey and if used consistently and correctly it can bring many reputational and financial benefits.

20. Make sure your website is optimised for search engines
SEO is a marketing essential and can seem like a dark art at times. At minimum, if you don’t have the budget to engage an SEO specialist, there are many good SEO essentials that you can ensure you do on your website from adding H1 tags and meta descriptions to labelling photos and using a good spread of keywords.

21. Harness the power of Google
From listing your company on Google my Business to making sure you use Google Analytics to understand more about who is visiting your site, where they are coming from and at which point they are exiting your site, Google offers a wealth of free to use business tools to help you market your business.

22. Offer a free download on your site or a free discovery session
Everyone loves something for free. So why not offer them a free download of a white paper or a free Discovery session. In exchange, visitors to your site will happily leave their name and email address, which you can then use to market to on an on-going basis. It also means that you now have your first opportunity to speak to them and understand more about their needs.

23. Become award-winning
Whether you’re just starting is business or have been trading for many years, you should still aim to be an award-winning business. Some awards are more prestigious than others so choose the type of awards wisely and make sure you fully understand the criteria for entering. If you win, then make some noise, issue a press release, post it on social networks, create a blog or vlog and use the award logo on your email and website footers. If you don’t win this time, don’t get disheartened, learn from the experience and enter again next year.

24. Run a customer satisfaction survey
It’s critical that you keep your existing customers happy and have their feedback as to why they are happy. An annual customer satisfaction survey will not only let your customers know that you care, it will also enable you to gather valuable insights into your business so that you can continue to make improvements and retain your all-important clients.

25. Support a charity
Not only will you and your employees feel positive about giving something back, it will also demonstrate to your existing and potential clients that you are invested in giving something back.

26. Find your voice
Whilst exhibiting at industry events can come at a hefty price, speaking at events is usually free and often raises your speaker’s profile with the audience. As long as you’ve got something educational, informative or thought-provoking – don’t treat this as a sales pitch (that can come later). In an ideal world, you’d also have an exhibition stand, so that if people want to talk to you afterwards they know where to find you but if budgets don’t allow, then make sure you hang around at the end of the speaking session and put your contact details on the screen.

27. Visit industry events
If you don’t have the budget or resource to exhibit at an event, then visit anyway. Events are great for networking, gathering information, education and keeping your finger on the industry pulse. Different member of your team will attend for different reasons (i.e. sales for lead generation, engineers or product managers for market intelligence etc.). Just make sure everyone completes a post-event report so that all that valuable information is fed back into the business.

28. Harness partnerships and partner marketing programmes
If you have technology or industry partners, make sure you are making the most of those partnerships. Use their logos on your website and product literature to reinforce that you are partners and ask if they have any partner marketing programmes that you can utilise. Many provide financial kickbacks or marketing tools to help you market and promote their products and services as part of your overall solution.

29. Develop a partner referral programme
Provide a financial or other reward for any of your partners or clients who refer you and bring new business in.

This blog post was inspired by Mumpreneurs MK.

No matter what size your business or how large your marketing team, it’s easy to overlook the many free, yet effective marketing ideas you can use to grow your business. If you’d like to discuss any of the marketing ideas in this post further, get in touch with us, we’d love to talk.

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