100+ Ways to Market Your Online Business On a Small Budget


100+ Ways to Market Your Online Business, Even On a Small Budget | Looking for new ways to market your small business? Whether you’re just getting started or have been in business for a while, these tips are for you! I’ve grouped them in 2 sections: for when you’re starting out and when you’re ready to take it to the next level. Either way, there’s something in here for every entrepreneur and business owner to help build your brand and get more customers. Some are new, some you’ve tried, and others may not feel right for you and that’s okay. With so many ways to market your business, just pick one or two, test them out and tweak as you go. Click through for all the ways!
100+ Ways to Market Your Online Business On a Small Budget | Ready to market your business like a boss? I've got over 100 ways to do it! Just pick one or two to start, test them out and tweak as you go. With so many to choose from, you'll find marketing tips that work for you. Click through to see the full guide. Woo!

100+ Ways to Market Your Online Business, Even On a Small Budget | Looking for new ways to market your small business? Whether you’re just getting started or have been in business for a while, these tips are for you! I’ve grouped them in 2 sections: for when you’re starting out and when you’re ready to take it to the next level. Either way, there’s something in here for every entrepreneur and business owner to help build your brand and get more customers. Some are new, some you’ve tried, and others may not feel right for you and that’s okay. With so many ways to market your business, just pick one or two, test them out and tweak as you go. Click through for all the ways!
There’s no question about it. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, marketing can be intimidating.

What do you do first? How do you know what will work for your business? What steps should you take? I hear questions like these all the time, and I get it.

Marketing can seem like a moving target, especially when the way you approach it today is much different than yesterday and probably won’t look the same tomorrow. Just keeping up with the changes can seem like a full-time job.

And yet, what matters even more than HOW you get the word out about your business is your mindset when it comes to marketing.

Here’s how to think about it:

  • Pick one technique and follow through with it. Don’t try to do everything at once.
  • Use a tiny budget and test things out one at a time, then create a larger campaign around what works.
  • Don’t try to be all things to all people. Focus on finding the one perfect customer out there you were born to serve.

Now that you have the right marketing mindset, I want to share with you some ways to market your online business. These ideas work for any business type, just keep in mind that the best techniques for a start-up may look different from those for an established business.

Use these 100+ marketing ideas as inspiration for your business. I’ve tried to group them so you can pick what makes sense based on where you’re at in your business. Some of these you may have tried, some may be new, and others may not feel right for you and that’s okay. There are plenty of ideas to choose from, so pick a few, test them out and tweak as you see fit.

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Start with these ways to market your online business when you're starting out.

 

  1. Create a website. A simple one-page site or even a landing page will do the trick. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or take months to build. You just need a hub to drive traffic to. Tip: Use Wix or Squarespace if you don’t have the budget for a designer.
  1. Create a Facebook page. Keep fans engaged and get a bump in engagement with helpful and inspiring posts around your business.
  1. Create a LinkedIn profile. Treat it like your own personal website page so that people know exactly what you do and how it can benefit them. Add in keywords so that you show up during searches. Need some help? Check out this post for how to supercharge your profile.
  1. Create a Twitter account. Include a link to your website right in the description and use hashtags so people can find you.
  1. Create an Instagram account and start building your following. Use your amazing visuals and images to build your brand. Instagram is great if you have a graphic product or if you’re a photographer, designer or fashion stylist.
  1. Create a Pinterest profile and pin videos and images of your products and your business.
  1. List your business and URL on your personal Facebook and Google+ profiles.
  1. Create a Google My Business page. Select appropriate categories and upload photos of your business and include keywords in both your descriptions and in your images. Add a link to your website in your description.
  1. List your business on Yelp, with some photos of your business and a call to action. Send a friendly email to customers with a link and ask them to leave a review. Do this after you complete a project and your customers are thrilled!
  1. List your business on Yahoo Local, Manta, and other local directories to give you a leg up on local search.
  1. Communicate the same benefit-rich message everywhere…on your website, email, social media, business cards and more… so that people connect with your brand and understand the value of what you provide, online and offline. If you’re struggling with your core message, here’s a template that will help.
  1. Get creative with your business card so when you give it to people at networking events, they remember you. Don’t just list your name and phone number like other people do. Add a benefit-rich message with images and graphics and a free consultation or coupon on the back.
  1. Go to book stores and slip your new business cards into books that talk about your niche.
  1. Get in the habit of telling everyone what you do and what you’re working on. It helps reinforce it for you, plus you never know who might bump into at Starbucks or the grocery store.
  1. Call or email your family and friends and let them know about your business and ask them if there’s anyone they know who could use your services.
  1. Make cold calls. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call people. Marketing is a numbers game and the more people you call, the faster you get to yes, plus it’s great way to get comfortable telling people what you do.
  1. Send a personal email to 20 people you know, including friends and acquaintances, and tell them how excited you are about your new business and offer them a special discount or package just for the opportunity to work with them.
  1. Send handwritten letters to a special list of people that you crave working with and include a flash drive or a link to a promo video where you introduce yourself and your services.
  1. Send thank you cards with your personal signature to show people how much you appreciate their business and give them that personal touch so you stand out from the crowd.
  1. Over-deliver on everything that you do. People will remember it and tell their friends. 
    Idea #20: Over-deliver on everything you do for customers. They'll remember and tell people about it.Click To Tweet
  1. Start a business blog and remember to include keywords for SEO so that people can find you.
  1. Volunteer your services or products to a cause you really care about in exchange for a testimonial, then feature it on your website, blog, Facebook and email. Ask the charity or non-profit organization to include your link on their website too for extra traffic.
  1. Join groups and organizations around your interests and the hobbies you love. I personally like Women in Music and there are many others you can get involved with that reflect your interests.
  1. Give away a special gift or incentive to those people who were you very first clients to thank them for their business and to let them know how much you appreciate them.
  1. Ask happy customers for testimonials and then put them on your website so others can see the results they would get working with you. Social proof like that is so powerful!
  1. Give special deals to customers you absolutely love working with. You’ve worked hard to get them, now keep them! Let them know about new programs you’re running and offer loyalty discounts on their next purchase.
  1. Send a personal email to customers and ask them for referrals. As soon as you wrap up a project and your customer is thrilled, ask if there is someone they know who might benefit from working with you. You can even create a referral program, where you offer discounts.
  1. Offer free consultation calls. This is a great way for people to try your product out at no risk. Put it in your email signature, business card and on your website.
  1. Contact a shared work space near you and offer an educational workshop. Let them help boost attendance by including it in their newsletter.
  1. Have a grand opening party. Or a grand-reopening party. Or a one-year anniversary party. Or a 10th fabulous customer party! You get the idea, be creative with how you can engage your local community. You can even turn it into an online event.
  1. Partner with other businesses. Referral partners can be a great way to build your business. Try to find non-competing partners who sell to the same customers you do.
  1. Give a testimonial to a company you’ve worked with on their site or create a LinkedIn recommendation for an someone who has provided you value. Just make sure you can actually say something authentic, even if it’s to comment on how their great content has helped you.
  1. Be active on Google+. Join Communities and answer questions. Be engaging and ask questions too. It’s a great way to get your blog posts and content in front of others.
  1. Attend trade shows and conferences around your niche or interests. Walk the floor, introduce yourself and hand out your business cards. Bonus if you can find conferences that include time for open networking and socializing.
  1. Exhibit at industry trade shows. These can be expensive, so you may want to share booth space with another non-competing company. Create a press release around it and reach out to media with your booth number and info about the show.
  1. Organize a Meetup group and invite people in your city to join. Also reach out to other similar Meetups to let them know about your new group and ask if they’d like to join.
  1. Join industry organizations and networking groups in your area. They’re a great way to practice your elevator pitch and get comfortable talking about yourself. Be ready with business cards but let it be organic. Networking is just like content marketing – give first and then make the ask. Engage people in conversation before you go on about yourself.
  1. Join a local Chambers of Commerce. These can be great when you’re first starting out. Meet other professionals, participate in committees, and even offer to give presentations.
  1. Sponsor local charities and events to get super visible within your own community.
  1. Donate to local or national charities and get listed on their donor’s page with a link back to your website.
  1. Print some flyers and mail them to people in your area or put them up in local cafes and coffee shops.
  1. Go to strip malls and shopping centers and put the flyers on cars. You can even put them on cars parked in the street if you’re in a city. Tip: people will only pay attention if it really speaks to them, so play around with your message a bit.
  1. Give away branded promotional items, like t-shirts, mugs, hats, pens and key chains.
  1. Contact a niche publication and see if you can purchase a partial list. Filter it by region to keep your costs down. You already know they speak to your audience! Then send a personal email introducing yourself. Just make sure you nail down your message before you do this.
  1. Advertise your products and services on Craigslist.
  1. Create a shop page on Etsy where you sell your products and then create Pinterest pins to drive traffic to your store.

DOWNLOAD THE PRINTABLE PDF!

 

Next, use these ways to market your online business and double sales!

  1. Create a Gravatar so that when you guest post and comment on blogs and forums, people see your picture next to your author bio instead of an anonymous pic.
  1. Grow your Twitter followers. Look at what your competitors are tweeting and who their followers are, then post similar tweets and follow their followers. Many of them will follow you back once they see your tweets. For the exact steps I used to grow my following, check out this post.
  1. Hold a high value, information-packed webinar where you give people a ton of value and show them how to do something. This will help you build your list and showcase your authority. Bonus: Create a Facebook ad and drive signups to a landing page for your webinar.
  1. Build a mailing list. Email lists are one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to grow your business and increase your revenue at the same time.
  1. Subscribe to HARO (help a reporter out) and get alerts when media are looking for ideas in your niche, then pitch a story around what they’re looking for. This tip works well for online businesses with a national or global audience.
  1. Use Twitter to find journalists and editors. Follow them, retweet their tweets, and then pitch them your story! Look for handles of big-name and local publications. Bonus: Use Followerwonk to do your research.
  1. Create a freebie. It can be a checklist, cheetsheat, blueprint, ebook or video series. Just make sure it’s got loads of valuable content that people would pay for.  Let people download it in exchange for their email address.
  1. Turn your Pinterest profile into a business account. Add branded watermarks to your images and use rich pins so people recognize your business and your brand.
  1. Find pins to share related to your business and then use Tailwind to schedule them so you can scatter your pins throughout the day.
  1. Hold your own local event or host an event with a non-competing business and then promote the event to your subscribers and on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.
  1. Use your mailing list. Stay top of mind and build deeper relationships with your subscribers by reaching out to them at least twice a month.
  1. Get busy on LinkedIn. Use it, especially if you’re B2B. Make connections and start conversations with people you want to work with on LinkedIn. Since people keep their profiles current, you’ve got a huge database right there! This post gives you some power tips on LinkedIn prospecting.
  1. Participate in 2-3 Facebook groups every day and give away as much value for free as you can so people start to see you as the expert. Check the group policy before posting anything too promotional or salesy.
  1. Join LinkedIn groups. Look for ones in your industry or topic-related that are active and have real conversations happening, not all promotional.
  1. Publish your own book with loads of great value and mail it to businesses in your community. This way they’ll always have it around and will start to think of you when they need the services you provide.
  1. Use Leadpages to create a landing page for your freebie and let people know what they’re going to receive by downloading, with your form right up top so they can see it right away.
  1. Use Facebook ads to drive traffic to your freebie landing page and use the same bullet points for consistency. Start with a small budget until you get the conversions you want. This post will help you get started with Facebook ads.
  1. Create your own Facebook group. Participating in Facebook groups is a great way to boost your visibility, and creating your own group will skyrocket both your engagement and your business over time.
  1. Create your own LinkedIn group. Members automatically view group managers as experts, so groups are a great platform to share, network and promote your business.
  1. Guest post on other people’s blogs. Reach out to popular bloggers in your industry who have a lot of traffic. Tip: a lot of comments usually means high traffic.
  1. Hold Facebook contests. Contests are a great way to build your list. Pick a prize that your fans will go crazy for and make it really easy to join. Check out this post on how to create a Facebook contest.
  1. Optimize your site for search engines. Overlook this step and you’re missing out on a big opportunity to get traffic to your site. The right tweaks to things like page titles, tags, keywords and content can magically boost your rankings and even get you on the first page of Google! I go into more detail about SEO here.
  1. Create a promo video and upload it directly to Facebook for a boost in organic reach.
  1. Create a promo or content video and upload it to YouTube and Facebook. Use search keywords and your branded keywords in your title, tags and description to make it easy to find and share.
  1. Turn a post into an infographic on your website and add social sharing buttons to encourage sharing. Then promote it on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Flickr, and submit it to infographic directories like Submit Infographics.
  1. Comment on popular blogs and include your website so when people read your comment they can find out more about you. Bonus tip: include a link to relevant content, like an ebook or a cheat sheet and enjoy an increase in subscribers.
  1. Create a Quora profile and answer questions that pop up around topics you know. This way you can showcase your expertise without being pushy, and as you impress people with how much you know, they will naturally want to take the next step and find out more about you.
  1. Create an epic piece of content. Use BuzzSumo to research the most popular content in your niche. You’ll see the number of shares for each social media site. Then create your own post on the same topic, only make yours better…longer, use more pics, more descriptive… things like that. This is a fast way to put yourself on the first page of Google!
  1. Promote your blog everywhere, even on sites like Reddit, Digg, Delicious, Scoop.it, BizSugar – you’d be surprised how much of a bump you can get in traffic.
  1. Use Periscope to broadcast a live video to your potential customers and let them get to know you personally, as if you were in the same room. Make sure your video is packed with content. Think of challenges and tutorials you can stream.
  1. Create a Q&A post where you interview other people in your industry with a link back to their website. Then let them know about the post and encourage them to share it. Tip: Look for bloggers with a decent following if you can (and do it anyway, even if you can’t!).
  1. Allow comments on your blog and then take the time to read them and respond to them. If you see common questions or themes, you can always use that as inspiration for your next blog post.
  1. Create a speaker demo reel and offer to speak at conferences and associations in your niche. If you’re new to speaking, try joining a local Rotary Club and offer to speak there first before branching out to a wider audience. Bonus – bring a friend to your first talk and ask them to record you.
  1. Turn your content into a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation and upload it to Slideshare, then include it in your LinkedIn profile so members can see it.
  1. Hold a telesummit. Showcase your expertise, build your fan base and grow your mailing list at the same time!
  1. Offer a free email course and promote it on your website and social media, then feature it in your newsletter and include share buttons so people can share it with their friends.
  1. Feature your newsletter sign up where visitors can see it right away. Try putting it at the top of your site and throughout your content, or use a popup or welcome gate so that people can’t miss it.
  1. Upload promo videos onto your Facebook page for a boost in organic reach, especially if it’s already active with a good fan base.
  1. Join affiliate programs. If there are online tools or products you love and use every day, sign up for affiliate programs and talk about them on your website, with a link back to the product’s site. When someone clicks on the link, you get a commission.
  1. Offer a content upgrade. Turn a blog post into a checklist or cheat sheet and add it as a download in the middle and at the end of your posts. This is one of the most powerful ways to grow your mailing list, especially when people love all the value you provided. Leverage it! 
    Idea #86: Need another way to grow your list? Create a content upgrade.Click To Tweet
  1. Use your Facebook timeline cover photo to promote your new blog post, webinar or freebie and enjoy the boost in engagement and newsletter signups. You’ve got prime real estate here (it’s the first thing people see on your page), so no sense wasting it! Include a call to action so people know where to click.
  1. Add live chat to your website so that visitors can ask questions and get them answered live. This makes it super convenient for them and at the same time you keep them engaged longer so they don’t leave.
  1. Start a podcast. Interview experts, authors, bloggers and influencers and also feature your own content.
  1. Invite others to post on your blog. Guest blogging like this can be great for you and other bloggers too. Build out your blogosphere and enjoy the boost in traffic!
  1. Create a weekly Q&A video series. Use the videos to answer common themes and questions around your niche, then upload them to your website, YouTube and Facebook.
  1. Add social sharing buttons on your blog or website. The more shares you have, the more people will want to share too because they will see you as an authority. Tip: Use Shareaholic or SumoMe.
  1. Add share buttons to your blog images. This way when people hover over them, they can easily share to Facebook or Pinterest. This works great for infographics too.
  1. Create an industry round-up. Make a note of your favorite new tools, tips or content you come across each month, then feature them in a Round Up series in your newsletter.
  1. Create press releases and send to local media. Pay attention to the editorial calendar for local magazines and newspapers, then pitch your story around special segments or trending topics.
  1. Give bloggers in your niche a free sample of your product and ask them to review it. The more mentions and links back to your site, the more traffic and exposure you have!
  1. Use Feedly to collect other people’s content. Pull in your favorite blogs and online sources so you have them all in one place. When you find articles your audience would find interesting, share it right from here.
  1. Use Buffer to schedule content. Instead of sharing your Feedly posts immediately, schedule them to go out with Buffer so you can spread your posts out.
  1. Use Hootsuite to keep track of mentions and schedule original content you want to send each month.
  1. Create IFTT recipes for Feedly, Buffer and Twitter so that when a new article is added to your Feedly, it immediately goes into your Buffer queue for Twitter.
  1. Upload an exclusive, information-packed video to a private page on your site and then send a link to your subscribers. Make sure your video has some extra valuable tips they can’t find anywhere else on your site!
  1. Create a 5-day challenge that helps people achieve something they want to do but have been putting off. Make it simple and actionable, so they really feel like they’re getting closer to their goal just by completing the challenge. Then promote your challenge in Facebook groups, on Periscope and on your site. Let your subscribers know about it.

I could keep going… but I think I’ll cut it here.

With all these ways to market your business, there’s definitely a few that will work for you, whether you’re a startup or have been in business for a while. Just pick some that seem like they may work and try them out. I recommend a minimum of 3 months to test each one. This will give you enough time to experiment, edit, tweak, revise and update so you can measure how well each technique works for your business.

 

Download the cheatsheet: 100+ ways to market your business

 

 

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12 replies
  1. Kurtis Stephens says:

    Hi Sandra,

    This is a fantastic post – I’m really happy I found it! There are some great ideas on here, especially for small businesses and startups. It’d be one of the most complete guides that I have seen.

    I have recently launched a startup business in marketing. The competition is fierce in this market, which makes standing out a challenge. But hey, who goes into business not expecting it to be a challenge? I’m learning so much everyday, and posts like this really reinforce great techniques to get seen!

    Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    • Sandra Clayton
      Sandra Clayton says:

      Thanks for your comments, Kurtis. Competition also = demand, which there’s no shortage of when it comes to small businesses who need marketing help. Wish you the best of success with it!

      Reply
    • Sandra Clayton
      Sandra Clayton says:

      Thanks for the comments, Kurtis. Fierce competition also = demand, which there’s no shortage of when it comes to businesses that need marketing support/help. Wish you the best of success with your biz!

      Reply

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