1. Content Marketing
So even if you don’t have the funds hire the best copywriters in your space, you can accomplish those two things. Focus on what you know – you’re the expert, right? So show your audience that.
Video marketing is absolutely huge right now, and for good reason – overall, video grows revenue 49% faster than non-video content, and 52% of marketers have cited video as the type of content with the best return on investment (ROI) .
One of the most popular formats right now is live streaming , which allows you to broadcast a video in real time to your audience. It’s an incredibly effective way to engage and connect, and reach your target viewers organically.
Another great aspect of using video is that it’s another means to reach a broad audience without breaking the bank. Because at the end of the day, you don’t really need fancy equipment or graphics, you just need an emotional connection.
6. Promote Your Social Proof
When it comes to marketing, social proof is invaluable. It’s way to capture the attention of a wide audience using the evidence of just a few. For a small business, consider using the following:
- Testimonials – having a strategy designed to collect testimonials is a great way to utilize social proof. Because they come from your clients, not your brand, people will be more likely to view them as credible
- Ratings – anytime you receive a 5-star review, promote it wherever possible – your website, social ads, etc.
- Badges and Awards – remember those business awards you’re signing up for? When you win, display your badge on all of your marketing materials to further your credibility
- Social shares – if your articles are receiving significant comments or shares, it’s a good idea to display the number with your share buttons. Be cautious though – you don’t want to display low numbers, so make sure you’re consistently receiving a hefty number before you turn your share numbers on
31 Free or Inexpensive Small Business Marketing Ideas
1. 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 small business 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 appreciation to existing customers, as well.
2. 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 small business 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.
3. Tell a story with data or milestones.
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.
4. Make your own infographics.
Infographics are visual and easy to understand, which is why many people love to share them. You can use online services right in your browser, such as Visme—no software or design skills required.
You can also step it up a notch and pay for a freelance designer to create a set of infographics for you—which would come in as a relatively inexpensive small business marketing idea.
5. Publish distributed content.
Most people are familiar with the wonders of social media marketing, but many sites—like Facebook and Twitter—are pay to play, often with steep costs to reach the audience you want. And although you can still invest in publishing on those sites, consider alternative content distribution networks when you’re searching for free marketing ideas.
For instance, Reddit is an old-school social network that bills itself as the “front page of the internet.” To market on Reddit, you need to find a niche—known on Reddit as subreddits, or message boards—related to your industry or business. There, you can find scores of people already interested in what your business has to offer—if you do it correctly. You don’t want to overtly advertise on Reddit without making it feel authentic to the community, so study your subreddit thoroughly before opting to post.
You might also consider LinkedIn: The business-focused social network is often overlooked but can have a great impact. By joining professional groups, participating in industry conversations, and sharing your own content, you can reach the right kind of audience that will bring you business. While this small business marketing idea will take some time on your part, it doesn’t have to cost money.
6. Engage in one-to-one marketing.
Sometimes referred to as 1:1 marketing, this is a customer relationship strategy aimed at boosting personalized interactions with customers. Examples run from sending handwritten postcards to valued customers or personalized birthday emails. The only thing this will cost you is your time, but otherwise, it’s a free marketing idea. Finding a good customer relationship management software can also help automate this process.
7. Hold an online contest.
Prizes don’t need to be extravagant—a couple of free products or complementary services can be enough to get potential customers to invest a few seconds of their time in applying to win.
8. Develop an industry partnership.
Team up with a business that complements yours (one that isn’t a direct competitor, of course) for a joint project. You can do this by hosting a joint special event or online giveaway. They can be for a short period of time or extended for as long as you want. Either way, partnering with another business will give you access to their customer base and vice versa. This kind of access would cost you big bucks otherwise.
If keyword research is the foundation of your SEO strategy, on-page optimization undergirds the rest of the search infrastructure. On-page optimization includes everything from optimal keyword density to site load speed that helps Google evaluate and rank your page. Great keywords won’t deliver results without good on-page optimization. Here’s a look at the basics:
Page titles should have an H1 tag (most content management systems do this automatically) and include a keyword and your brand name, if applicable. Limit your title to about 55 or 60 characters, which is all that displays in search results.
While metas aren’t technically factored into search, they do give the searcher more information, entice them to visit, and often serve as a call to action. Limit them to about 150 characters or so.
Adding schema markups is one of the most powerful ways to boost your website in the SERPs. Schema tells the search engine what your content means, not just what it says, which changes the way the content is indexed. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper makes it easy to add schema markups to your site.
While there is no “optimum” keyword density percentage, there are some best practices to follow, such as including keywords in the title, meta, and anchor text, and avoiding keyword stuffing on the page. Use natural language and aim to drop the keyword at least once in the first 100 words of copy on a page.
Social media has a prime place in small business SEO; Google bots make a direct connection between your website and your social media profile pages . Include relevant social icons on your web pages—it not only improves your search, it adds credibility for visitors who land on your site.
Be sure to look at all your pages, including landing pages, product pages, and your company blog and implement SEO best practices across the board. Don’t forget ALT tags for images on your site; while the impact is small, the cumulative effect could make a difference in your rankings.