Thinking of marketing ideas for a small business can be difficult – because you don’t have the luxury of spare cash. What little budget you have to spend on marketing, needs to work for you – as it might be the only money you have, so the last thing you want is to waste it.

Here we are going to talk about little or no cost marketing ideas. Things that cost less than £50. Now we have to point out, when you’re marketing with little/no budget, then you have to spend time instead – so yes, they’re quite labour intensive – but if you don’t have the cash to spend, then you have to put the hours in instead.

#1 Facebook Group Marketing

Now this doesn’t mean bombing on in there, spamming the group with your wares, and buggering off again. If you do that, you really won’t see anything for your efforts. Nobody likes to be spammed or sold to, especially if they’ve got into a group to ask for help, and all they got instead was people trying to flog them solutions.

It takes time to build up credibility and a reputation, but it is possible. And you do this, by showing your expertise, giving rock solid advice – when people see you commenting and sharing your knowledge to help people, they can and do, notice your superior level of expertise. So when someone does eventually ask for recommendations for someone who offers what you do, your name will already be held in high esteem and you’re likely to get tagged by other members.

Some groups will allow you to post links to your website or Facebook page, if it is a relevant and helpful response to the post. For example, if someone asked what a Facebook Pixel was and we posted a link to our blog that explains what a Facebook Pixel is, most groups would probably let that pass.

#2 Blogging

Blogging is great for SEO, and if you’re a natural content creator with time on your hands, learning how to blog effectively, generating content that people want to share (because it’s genuinely useful!) helps drive traffic to your website, helps build awareness of your business/brand, and if you do run paid advertising campaigns then you can retarget that traffic with paid Facebook Ads.

Blogging however is an art – and many people write blogs, like they’re writing a 3,000 word essay for their old uni lecturer. Content that is designed to be read on a phone / screen, needs to be easy to follow, digestible and laid out in a logical format.

You can learn more about Blogging and SEO on our Ultimate Digital Marketing Course. 

#3 Networking Events

If you have time on your hands, but not many customers and not a lot of budget to advertise, then local networking events can be a great way to get out of the starting blocks.

Networking is often delivered as part of a Chamber of Commerce or FSB membership, for free if you’re a member (membership does have a cost, but it’s usually less than £150 a year for a small business) Other paid-for networks such as BNI and 4Networking will allow you to attend a tester session for free, so you don’t have to commit until you’ve tried it.

Many of the great and worthwhile connections I have made over the years, have come from business shows – so if you’re in the London area, check out The Business Networking Show, created by Brad Burton, which is free to attend and jam packed with incredible value for a small or Startup business owner.

#4 Linked In Marketing

You may be wondering why we have said ‘Linked In’ and not ‘Facebook’ or another social media platform – but if you’re a service based business, then realistically, you’re going to get more from Linked In than from Facebook if you don’t have a paid ads budget.

Facebook is brilliant for business, and with paid ads, it’s an incredibly effective way of promoting your business – but if you have a small page, few followers, and no money for ads, then being honest – it’ll be a long hard slog to get anywhere fast. Linked In on the other hand, you can make progress a lot quicker.

Now, Linked In success does not come down to adding connections and then spamming their inbox – similar to Facebook Groups, you’re going to have to take time to get to know your connections, engage with their content, and post your own engaging content too. Build up that awareness of who you are, what you do, and show just how sh** hot you are at what you do!

Need more help marketing your small business?

Why not check out some of our online Courses. Our Courses are No Nonsense, No Fluff, jam packed with real, practical tutoring that is designed for small business owners. We do not charge a lot – we could – but we don’t, because if we did, it would literally contradict the very reason we were founded in the first place! (To provide small businesses with the stuff they need but can’t afford!)