Small Budget, No Problem: Creative Marketing Ideas for Small Business

Small businesses can make up for their smaller budget with creative marketing to grow and maintain their consumer bases.

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Unlike large corporations, small businesses simply don’t have the budget to drop a few million dollars into advertising and promoting their brand. This doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t engage in marketing. Small businesses can make up for their smaller budget with creativity and efficiently grow and maintain their consumer bases.

Let’s look at 12 marketing ideas for small businesses:

Creative Marketing Tip #1:
Partner with Complementary Businesses

Regardless of what industry you’re in, it’s impossible to provide everything your customers need. This doesn’t mean you need to turn them down when they ask for services you don’t provide. Partnering with business in fields that coincides with the products or services you offer can be an extremely useful way to grow both of your customer bases. As a bonus for referring your clients to them, they’ll refer their clients to you–it’s a win-win.

Creative Marketing Tip #2:
Offer Deals Via Social Media

Offering your social media followers exclusive deals and valuable information is a great way to encourage them to engage with whatever it is you’re offering or saying. Along with that, social media deals provide an incentive for a new potential customer to follow and interact with your brand. An example of this is offering a free trial of your services for “liking” your Facebook page.

Creative Marketing Tip #3:
Create Branded T-shirts

Having your employees and community members wear t-shirts with your company’s name or logo on them is an excellent way to spread brand recognition in your community. You could also offer them to your customers as a prize for a contest, or you allow them to purchase directly from you.

Creative Marketing Tip #4:
User-Generated Content Contest

creative marketingSocial media-based contests are an excellent way to get audiences to engage with your brand, and they don’t cost a lot to run. Increase customer interest by asking them to share a picture on your page of them using your product. This user-generated content can be valuable to you later, as it can be used for marketing campaigns down the road.

The reward for the contest winner can be your product, or even promotional merchandise as said previously. This will also help you ensure that your contest entrants are people who are interested in your brand, and get quality results.

Creative Marketing Tip #5:
Host Community Events

Hosting an event is another great way to get people through your doors. Whatever your business, host an event that is related to your product or service offerings–for example, product demos at a retail store, an author visit at a bookstore, or a guest speaker at a health center. There are plenty of options, depending on what type of product or service you provide, and having people come into your facility is an unbeatable way to gain new customers.

Creative Marketing Tip #6:
Attend Networking Events


Local networking events are an excellent way to get to know other people in your industry and related fields. Consistently attending them can help you establish partnerships, gain new clients, and get your business’s name out there into a trusted community of professionals. Trade shows or conferences are also a great way to make new connections.

Creative Marketing Tip #7:
Put Your Flyers on Campuses

If you operate close to a college campus, having students pass out flyers on campus is a great way to spread awareness about your business, especially when your product or service is relevant to that demographic. This could also be done at large events or other highly-populated community centers. Include promo codes on the flyers to encourage the recipients to make a first purchase, and to help you track your turnaround rate.

Creative Marketing Tip #8:
Engage in Twitter Conversations

A great way to increase and capitalize on your social media reach is to search hashtags relevant to your business and engage in some conversations around them. Trending hashtags will have thousands of people talking about them, so choose a few that are location-specific, and engage in a short, genuine dialogue. The best part about using social media this way is that it’s free, and it establishes a relatable, humanistic voice for your business.

Creative Marketing Tip #9:
Set Up a Loyalty Program

Creating a loyalty or rewards program is a great way to keep your current customers happy, and significantly increases the chance they’ll be repeat customers. One of the best forms of these is a referral program, where you make a special offer to current clients who bring or refer their friends to your business. People love getting rewards, so this is a method never fails to work effectively.

Creative Marketing Tip #10:
Influencer Partnerships

Influencers in your community and industry can be very useful and cost-effective ways to assist your small business’s marketing. You can offer influencers free products or services, or even compensation, and in return, they will put you right in front of your target audience. Influencer marketing is one of the most authentic ways to get a good name out there for your business, as they are usually very passionate about your industry, and have already built trust with their following.

Creative Marketing Tip #11:
Use Your Email Signature as Ad Space

While it can often be forgotten about, advertising your small business on your email signature is a valuable, non-invasive way to share information about your business to everyone you communicate with via email. Your email signature should always include links to your website and social media, and for some small businesses it might even be wise to display your latest blog post, which you can set up through email signature programs like Wisestamp.

Creative Marketing Tip #12:
Get Involved in a Community Parade

IMG_7684Local parades are another great way to build relevance in your community and get eyes on your brand. Even if you don’t necessarily build a float, you can organize a group of enthusiastic walkers to display your business’s name and logo. If you want to go even further, you can have them pass out promotional products as they walk by, or cards with promo codes and your web address to encourages purchases on your website.

These are just a few of the many creative avenues you can take to market your small business. With a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking and time, we’re sure you could come up with even more. Don’t let a small budget restrain you–with a bit of creativity; there are endless ways to get your name out there.

Ashley Bauer

Ashley Bauer is a content marketer and writer at Rush Order Tees, a screen printing company that provides promotional merchandise to small and large businesses.

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