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Marketing on a Budget: Tips for Small Businesses

People tend to glorify running a business and often leave out the bits that would probably turn most of us away in the first place. That’s okay, though; we’re usually stubborn enough that we’d probably ignore those bits even if someone were to shove them down our throats. Perhaps the biggest thing about running your own business that people gloss over is just how expensive it gets. From licenses to employees and everything in between, the expenses can rack up a hefty bill. One necessity, in particular, that can ruin an entrepreneur’s budget, is marketing. Luckily for you, however, this week we are bringing you part one of a series designed for Entrepreneurs that are marketing on a budget. Keep reading to get to the good stuff.

Marketing on a Budget Tip #1: Develop Quality Relationships

This may come as a surprise to you, but one of the biggest parts of being a business owner or entrepreneur is that you’ve got to talk to people. (Actually, if this comes as a surprise to you, you’re probably not in the business in the first place!) By building relationships with your customers, you increase the chance of keeping them around. Did you know it costs more for you to get new customers than it does for you to keep the ones you already have?

The best part about this budget marketing technique is that it can cost you literally nothing, depending on how you do it. Sure, you could pay for some programs like MailChimp for email marketing, but there are plenty of ways you can do this for free. Remember that your customers are human beings, too, and then treat them like it. Form personal relationships with them. Visit them at the office or send them a gift basket. We don’t suggest you make it seem too much like you’re sucking up, but, hey, a little bit won’t hurt!


Marketing on a Budget Tip #2: Craft An Elevator Pitch

The whole idea of an elevator pitch is that you’re able to pitch an idea during just the time it would take to ride an elevator with somebody. This concept can be hard for some people, though. We get so attached to our ideas that we often forget how to explain them entirely. Our brains turn into a pile of strawberry jello, and we take ten hours just to tell someone what we do.

There is plenty of debate regarding the length of the average attention span, but there’s no denying that it’s incredibly small. Human beings are busy and stressed creatures, and we’ll usually tune other people out immediately if we feel uninterested in what they’re saying. Basically, you don’t have long to prove yourself and your business to a prospective customer. Learn how to narrow down what you do to a couple of concrete sentences. On top of keeping people focused on your idea, doing this will also make you seem more confident. Everybody loves a person with confidence.

Elevator pitching costs literally nothing but time, so this is probably the cheapest budget marketing tip we can offer you. With that said, it may take a good amount of time to get it right, and you know what they say: time is money. Don’t let that scare you off, though; after all, you’ll actually be saving so much more time when you’ve got it right.


Marketing on a Budget Tip #3: Use a Referral Program

Word of mouth is one of the best marketing strategies you can utilize. What’s the best way to do this? Surprisingly enough, a referral program might be one of the most cost-effective strategies you could implement. The idea behind a referral program is that you offer some kind of reward to your existing customers in exchange for bringing in new customers. What’s more appealing than free stuff?

Note that you don’t have to break the bank when it comes to these rewards. Even just a little incentive could go a long way to help encourage customers to refer. I know I’d love five dollars off a service if I brought in a friend. In the end, even a larger reward would be paid back in full by the new customers being brought in.


Now that you’ve got some great tips that could cost you absolutely nothing to follow, it’s time for you to get out there and do it. After all, one of the biggest things that will keep you from making money is hesitation. Don’t be afraid to do a little research, but also don’t let the planning stage take over your business. There comes a point when you’ve just got to jump out of the nest and fly. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find it to be totally worth it. (And that other one time out of ten will just teach you what to do better next time!)