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10 Small Business Marketing Tips

Frugal marketingSmall business owners have to market their businesses smarter than before these days – With the recession looming with no visible end, every single penny counts. Many small business owners today are bootstrapping and going frugal.

If you are interested in low budget but effective marketing, I have some tips to share you – Here are 10 marketing tips to help you find (more) customers and close more sales, quick:

  1. Don’t advertise like the big guys

    Unlike us the smaller counterparts, big businesses advertise to build brand name and nurture future sales. We simply don’t have the budget to do so. Instead, DIY your advertising and/or outsource it to low-cost advertising companies, even freelancers. Make sure you always include an offer in your advertising that get prospects to be more inclined to respond.

  2. Always offer lower cost alternatives

    Prospects simply want to hang on their money as much as they can, as long as they receive satisfying result. They want lower price for the best result they can get. Instead of burning your own business in a price war with your competitors, consider creating a “ight” version of your services or products by stripping out non-essential features that will keep yours appealing to a certain segment in the market.

  3. Alternatively, offer a premium version of your service or product

    Not all prospects want cheap prices. Many are willing to pay a premium to receive high quality product or service. On contrary to the point above, you can actually combine several products or services into a premium package that is offered at a higher price tag.

  4. Go online

    My favourite part :) You should go online for either promotional purpose or selling your products or services. It’s low cost, easy to learn and easy to do. Blog for your small business enhance your branding, while setting up a website will reach more customers from a rapidly growing number of online shoppers. Don’t forget to use available social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to build a community that can get you marketers and business evangelists.

  5. Try unconventional marketing methods

    Spy on your competitors, and learn what they are doing in common. If you do your homework well, you may find an innovative idea or two that will increase your profitability while avoiding competition. One idea: Conventional mail box is not obsolete, yet – You can sponsor your local event flyer (ask for an exclusive sponsorship) that will generate considerable sales leads in exchange for a small amount of money.

  6. Use the power of perception to make your business seems bigger

    Customers perceive the value of your products or services. They also do perceive the reliability and dependability of your business based on certain measures. One of the most common measures is company size. Being a two person business doesn’t make you less trusted than your larger counterparts – Setting up an answering machine system that shouts “professional” will do the trick. One tip: Create many “virtual departments” in it, such as marketing department, IT department or customer service department, and have them redirected to your phone – “Inflate” your manpower from two to twenty in no time :)

  7. Reduce the size of your ads

    Smaller-sized ads will let you advertise more for the same budget. Plus, short marketing message does perform better than the longer counterpart. This reminds me of Twitter that push marketers to create 140-character marketing message, yet extremely effective :)

  8. Offer giveaways and freebies

    Nothing is more compelling than giveaways and freebies. Some argue that freebies are expensive. To certain extent, I agree. However, choosing the right promotional products will cut your cost-per-lead significantly, as unique and free items tend to have emotional bait in them – Having your promo product with your company messages in it neatly placed on a CEO desk is viral marketing :)

  9. Do a joint-promotion with other small business

    Ask non-competing small business owners that serve similar target market to do a joint-promotion. Cross-selling each other products or services will give your customers highly related offers, in which will usually produce more sales than marketing on their own.

  10. Benefit from your relationship with your customers: The power of word of mouth

    Your existing customers know and trust you – They are your great tangible and intangible assets you already have in your business ecosystem. It’s basically easier to get more business from them than from new prospects. You should “lavish” them by creating special deals – only for your existing customers and make them your PR people – Their endorsement is indeed very effective in term of cost and result than any other advertising campaigns.

The tips, if done properly, will give a better cost-per-lead ratio to your small business.

Ivan Widjaya
Marketing on a low-budget
Image by ozmafan.

About author

Ivan Widjaya
Ivan Widjaya 2650 posts

Ivan Widjaya is the Owner/Editor of, as well as several other blogs. He is a business blogger, web publisher and content marketer for SMEs.

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  • Cheers, Roxie!

  • Wonderful tips Ivan! This is really perfect not just for thrifty entrepreneurs as well as small businesses. Very beneficial and both money and time saving. One of the greatest tips. Thanks for sharing this helpful and worth-sharing information.

  • Vic,

    Agreed. That’s what so great of online business and online marketing. No boundaries, no status symbols, no hierarchies. The web is everybody’s playground. However, having a budget for online campaigns does help a lot, though…

  • Hi, great list here. Among the 10, being online can give small business an equal ground for marketing against its big competitors. Well, when the competition is on the Internet, we can have a flat world. We can apply guerrilla tactics which are low cost and even at no costs.

  • Cheers, Pamela!

  • Great ideas for start ups! Thanks for the tips. I will try some of them and let you know how it turns out.

  • Leigh Ann,

    Thanks for the thumb up! To add, short ads tend to convert more based on a premise that since they are short, they should infuse curiosity, intrigue or controversy to be effective.

  • This is excellent advice. I particularly agree with downsizing the size of your ads. I have been a print media buyer for years specializing in classified advertising nationwide. They’re cheap and advertisers can afford to run multiple times for the price the they can only advertise a larger ad only one time. It really expands their reach. The goal of a classified isn’t to sell a product or service, but to generate a lead. That is easy to do with a 20-25 word ad. Once a reader responds, the advertiser can easily convert them providing they are offering a good product/ service at a fair rate. Great article for the times!

  • Morgan,

    Cheers for sharing your thought!

    Indeed, cross-promoting with other small businesses is often overlooked. As you said – partnering with others will bring the best of each party; which is excellent!

  • Hey Ivan!

    I love #9. I absolutely love working with other small businesses. It’s a win-win for all, especially if we’re able to combine our powers to help out our customers.

    I also love #5, as the more extreme and different methods of marketing are getting noticed more than the traditional ways.

    Great post!

  • Go online, that’s my favorite too… and apparently the SBA (Small Business Administration) too. They just announced a partnership with Google Places to educate small business owners I have a like to the video:

  • Apa kabar, Pandeg? Thanks all the same :)

  • thanks for tips..

  • Good luck, Walethia!

  • Walethia

    Thanks for the advice. These are tips I can apply right away.

  • Thanks :)