There are a thousand and one ways to market your business these days, and you need to take advantage of several different marketing channels to make an impact. But why pay more than you need to? Most small businesses have tough budget constraints that make marketing endeavors extremely challenging. Too many make the mistake of only building their website, but don’t ever drive traffic to their domain.

It doesn’t matter how great your website is if no one sees it, though. Without a steady stream of visitors, that website is essentially a wasted opportunity that still has a lot of potential. If you want to market your business on popular advertising and social media networks but have a tight budget, take a deep breath and relax. There are a lot of different ways to market your business at a low or reduced cost, and some of them are even free.

Free Consultations

Free consultations are one of the best ways to get your foot in the door with new clients. They are a mainstay of most service-type businesses, such as construction companies and law firms. More often than not, it’s not possible to nail down the explicit cost of a service or project. But offering a free consultation will remove risk for the customer, so they don’t have to worry about wasting money up front.

Leads Through Referrals

Do you know which type of advertising is cited as being the ‘most powerful?’ That’s right: word of mouth.

If you’re not already asking happy clients and customers for referrals, you could be missing out on massive chunks of business. A lot of companies even set up referral programs that give customers a discount or free perk for referring others to their business. People tend to trust their peers, friends, and relatives more than they trust commercials and digital ads, so word of mouth referral is a great way to inexpensively market your business.

Converting Evangelists

The goal with any business should be to please their customers by solving a core need or problem. Everything else comes second. If you can please your customers in such a way that casts your business as the superior product or service in your industry, you’re going to convert customers into evangelists, who will spread the good word about your business, which helps increase exposure and bring in new business.

Run a Contest

There are a lot of creative ways to generate hype for your business, such as running a contest. You can offer your product, service, or a discount to the winner(s) of the contest. In addition, contests are great for informational websites that produce user-generated content.

Free Giveaways

Who doesn’t like free prizes? Some of the most effective (and free!) digital marketing campaigns have leveraged free giveaways. A lot of businesses that produce content have grown their email lists exponentially through free offerings. Free giveaways and promotions serve as a form of lead magnet, whereby the user gets free content (perhaps an ebook or similar piece of content) in exchange for an action, such as entering their email list.

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In addition, some websites offer significant savings and discounts to people who like, share, or interact with social media content.

Take League of Legends, for example. They run a free online multiplayer game, though they make money through an optional store where players can purchase new characters and skins. One of their promotions gave users a free limited-time character skin to users who liked their Facebook page, and it didn’t cost the business (Riot Games) a single dime.

Free Ad Money

A lot of search engines and marketing platforms run special promotions for first-time users. This is usually more typical of PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising, and they’ll often offer a free $50 or $75 free ad-spend for new users. PPC isn’t appropriate for all types of businesses, but free advertising should always be taken advantage of. However, sometimes users only get the free ad money if they commit to purchasing a specified dollar amount of advertising.

Final Thoughts

Small businesses usually need to stretch their marketing budgets as far as they can to maximize value.

If you don’t know what your doing with your digital marketing campaign, you might end up making some expensive mistakes. Instead of trying to learn a new skill from the ground up, it’s often worth your time and money to reach out to a qualified digital marketing professional. They can help you save time, save money, and reach your target audience in ways that you didn’t even know existed.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.