Marketing is expensive, but it’s also necessary. If you want your business to grow, then you need to invest in marketing. Word of mouth is great, but it’s rarely enough on its own, and you will need a lot of momentum to generate enough customer leads without any marketing resources.  

The good news is, there’s a lot of budget-friendly marketing methods that work for all kinds of businesses.

  1. Always carry business cards. Whether you’re a website designer or are marketing a backup generator service, then carrying business cards is a very quick way to exchange information. They also work to add some credibility and professionalism too. You could meet a potential client, vendor, or employee almost anywhere, so be prepared at all times. If someone asks what you do, give them your card. If they’re ever in need of your services, they’ll have your details already, making them much more likely to use you instead of your competition. 
  2. Network. Networking works online and in person. Leverage your network as much as you can, and you should get better results. Your network already knows and trusts you. Reach out and let them know about your business and what you can do for them. A single Facebook or LinkedIn post can be a good way to do this, so people are aware of your services. They might then check out your business, or tag in friends they know are looking for the services you offer. A recommendation from a friend can be very helpful. 
  3. Offer incentives for referrals. If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have the budget to set up a full referral program. However, you can offer incentives for referrals. Let your clients know that if they send a referral your way that becomes a customer, then you will reward them with something like a discount off their next purchase. Offer this when you need new clients, and send email reminders about this perk if the business is looking a little slow. Send this email to clients who haven’t worked with you in a while too, as it may work to remind them to hire you again. A referral from a client generates valuable, warm leads. 
  4. Work with other businesses. If you’re a small business, this is even more effective. Partner up with a vendor or a business in a complementary industry that shares your target audience. This could be agreeing to refer clients to each other, offer package deals together, or go in together to provide prizes for a contest. 
  5. Start writing. Content marketing is largely free, unless you choose to outsource it, and will help you to rank for keywords, keep your site content interesting, and establish your expertise in your industry. Content also shows that your business is active. Create a blog on your site, and update it regularly. Blog posts should always have a goal in mind, like prompting email signup or an inquiry about a new product or service.