Getting the word out about your business is one way to make sure it succeeds. Indeed, many aspects of your business may depend on it. And what better way than to come up with some free marketing ideas to attract new customers.
Overall, small business marketing can mean many different things: from advertising and public relations to promotions and sales. In other words, marketing is a process in which your business is introduced and promoted to potential customers. Sounds good, right?
But there are so many marketing ideas for small business these days—with many varying costs and associated expenses. The cost of traditional advertising—whether a Facebook ad or direct-mail campaign—could put you in the red, for example.
But not all marketing tactics break the bank. So if your marketing budget is slim or non-existent, be sure to check out the below list of free marketing ideas—or at least inexpensive marketing ideas for small business—that can help you spread the good word about your business.
Develop a customer referral program.
It’s often overlooked, but word-of-mouth marketing for small business is a super-powerful way to market your business. There’s a reason why word of mouth is number one on our list of free marketing ideas. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
One way to boost your word-of-mouth marketing is by introducing a customer referral program. Try offering your existing customers something—a free sample product, complimentary service, discounts, or some other low-cost reward—for referring new customers. Having your customers tell their friends and family about your business can be incredibly valuable. Plus, a customer referral reward can help you show some customer appreciation to existing customers, as well.
Send out a customer satisfaction survey.
A customer satisfaction survey is not only a great way to learn about your customer base, but it’s also a great way for customers to remember you exist. Surveys have taken their rightful place as number two on our list of free marketing ideas.
Consider it like rogue email marketing—though this can also be done totally analog in your storefront or on the street. Customers will appreciate that you asked for their opinion and they’ll feel invested in the results of the survey, which will translate into better loyalty over time. You might learn a thing or two about how your business might improve along the way. Win-win.
Tell a story with data or milestones.
This might be one of our favorite free marketing ideas for small business.
Crunch the numbers on your business and see if any significant story comes through the data—maybe you’ve done business with over 1,000 clients in your area, or perhaps you provide your service at a percentage higher than industry standards.
Publish the results online or put a sign out in front of your store. People respond well to numbers—they’re an easily digestible data point. For example, “The community loves us” will be outperformed by “Over 2,500 satisfied customers in our area!” every time.
Conversely, say an academic study is done revolving around your industry. Use it to relate to the utility of your business by publishing it online and highlighting the most important parts.