Your business needs you to be successful at getting the word out about your products, services, and story. While wearing multiple hats and working to grow your team, taking the time to keep marketing moving in the right direction can be difficult. To get you moving on marketing again we’ve gather 50 of our favorite free and low-cost local marketing ideas.
Donate To Charity Events
Donating gift cards to charity auctions is a great way to get exposure and help a local charity. The more loved the restaurant the more money the charity is able to raise and the more exposure you get.
Create a Referral Marketing Program
Word of mouth testimonials from existing clients are extremely effective at generating phone calls and orders. Create a referral marketing program to incentivize past customers to tell their friends and get rewarded for it.
Use Sidewalk Chalk
Create some public art on a sidewalk. Even better, get your neighboring businesses to do the same, right next to yours to create something notable for people to look at, and share with their friends.
Join A Business Networking Group
Expanding your network of business professionals increases the number of people who will refer your business to others. Find a large group that meets regularly and has an attendance requirement for the best return on your time investment. Contact me to get a recommendation based on your business and location.
Find A Referral Power Partner
Some businesses are natural referrals for the clients or customers of another business. For example, auto body shops often refer business to injury attorneys and chiropractors. Find a business serving the same customers as you and build a partnership.
Update Your Yelp Photos
Many people will find your business on Yelp. Take the time to make sure the information is complete and the photos look great.
Build Relationships With Local Influencers
People with large social media followings made up of people that like the products or services you offer can help you get access to a new audience. Start interacting with their content and eventually you may ask to collaborate.
Create A Facebook Live Video
Facebook is really over-promoting live video streams these days. Take the time to do a quick live video message to push a notification to your page followers to help deliver your message.
Upload A Presentation to SlideShare
Spreading your content and message far and wide online helps you gain exposure to new people who may be interested in your product or service.
A repeat-buy coupon for your product or service is a great way to get a customer to come back to you again, or to refer their friend to you.
Providing stickers to clients, customers, and kids are a great way to spread the word about your business in a way that is, well, sticky… Yep, I said it.
Suggest Customers Take Pictures Of The Food
The more posts your customers are making on social media highlighting your business the more exposure you’re getting to new potential clients.
Host A Photo Contest
Ask customers and the community to submit their photos (maybe of local food), judge them, and give away gift certificates. If you get community coverage for the contest you’ve been successful.
Setup Google My Business
Google My Business listings are the most important online listing for your business. Google handles over 80% of online search traffic and making sure Google has what it needs to show you off is really important. See or create your Google My Business listing.
Send Email Newsletters
Email newsletters, sent on a periodic and predictable basis with really, really, really, really, really interesting content to your email list will generate sales and awareness. Sign up for our newsletter for an example.
Post to Instagram With Hashtags
Hashtags help indicate the topics represented in an Instagram post and many people search by topic for interesting posts. Take advantage of this search traffic on Instagram to build an audience.
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Use Facebook Events
The Facebook Event is a great tool to get the word out to people on Facebook about your event. A FB Event should be a part of any public event marketing plan. We create them as part of our event marketing packages.
Start A Video Blog
Video is the new picture. People prefer to watch videos over reading articles, listening to podcasts, and scanning social media. Share your expertise and you may find that you become a video influencer yourself.
Post To Social On A Schedule
Figure out which social platforms have your potential customers and start posting to them at the same day(s) and time(s) every week. Building a following takes time up front but decreases your ongoing marketing expense over time.
Meet Your Local Reporter
There is undoubtedly at least one small newspaper in your community. Meet the reporter and build a relationship so that when you have news you’re more likely to get local coverage.
Post To Pinterest
Have a visual product or service? Post images to Pinterest so that people looking to save ideas about what you do can find you later. Pinterest visitors have a great purchase intent.
Develop Your 30 Second Intro
Get really, really good at delivering a 30 second pitch that covers who needs you and what pain or pleasure you’re solving for.
Get A Vanity Facebook URL
Once you hit the follower threshold you can ask for a “username” on Facebook which updates your page URL, making it easier to share on marketing material.
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Give Holiday Gifts
Show appreciation to your best repeat customers by giving them something special during the holidays. It may be a gift card, a special add-on, or a free meal.
Create An Infographic
Represent what you do in an infographic that is relevant to your community, city, or some specific cause and promote it to those with a matching interest.
Invite New Photographers
Photographers looking to get in to food need food to take photos of. If your food is photoworthy, make sure local photographers know you want them to come in and take photos. Ask to get the photos and ask them to share their best on social media.
Send Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Surveying your current and past clients can help you learn how best to improve your service. It will also show those clients and customers that you care about their experience and some will become repeat customers simply because you are asking. If you’re doing this via email, consider MailChimp.
Publish Interesting Social Media Content
People on social media are using their phone to waste time. Spend the time to create content worth checking out for someone looking to be entertained. If you need help, get help.
Volunteer At A Community or Chartiy Event
Charity events are a great place to build awareness for your small business and it benefits a great cause. Your team can help you identify great events or organizations to work with.
Interact on Reddit
Reddit is the largest and most active online forum company on the internet. There’s an app or website you can interact with. Sharing valuable content to a topic group is a great way to add traffic to your website.
Leverage Your Employees
Ask your employees to become brand ambassadors to spread the word and gain customers for the business. Consider a friends and family promotion from time to time to really get this going and spread the word on Facebook.
Setup A ChatBot Online
Close the gap between visiting a retail store and visiting your website by setting up a free online chat program. They’re easy to start using and provide an easy way for website visitors to contact you immediately.
Hire A Trusted Website Partner
Take the time to test a Craigslist post for your product or service to find out if there are buyers looking for you there.
Write a Pulse Article on LinkedIn
LinkedIn should be a required social network for business owners and employees. You can get some extra visibility with your network by writing a Pulse article and asking employees to share it.
Create A Local Treasure Hunt
Hiding something of reasonable but low value that is branded to your business and spreading the word about a treasure hunt for it is a great way to gain local publicity and awareness. Plan it before you announce it.
Submit An Article To The Paper
Write an article for the local paper written just like the articles you see in the paper. It can be news, a celebration, or highlight relevance of a national topic to the newspaper audience. Written like an article, your submission is more likely to be published.
Ask For Reviews
Choose a platform and have servers ask for reviews from customers that are pleased with their service. Bonus points if you create an incentive program for your servers who get named.
Create Great Online Content
Great content on your website gives search engines something to show people looking for your business. Promote your content to improve your Local SEO search positions.
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Host An Event or Class
Promoting an event is a great way to spread the word about your business to a different audience. Consider participating in events organized by the local city, chamber of commerce, or downtown partnership.
Hold Business Card Drawings
Collecting customer business cards is a great way to build a marketing list for your business. Email marketing and phone calls are a great way to reach out to people who enter your drawings.
Apply For Business Awards
Business awards can expose your business to a new audience and are a great trust builder when logos are placed on your website or marketing materials.
Update Your Chamber Business Listing
If you’re a member of a chamber of commerce or downtown partnership, make sure your business listing is up to date. This is one easy way to improve SEO.
Write A Gift Guide
Near gifting holidays (for example Valentines Day and Christmas) people search for gift ideas. Give yourself the opportunity to make a gift sale by writing an online gift guide for your product or service.
Collect Cell Numbers & Email Addresses
Text marketing is starting to take the place of email marketing because open rates are much stronger. Collect both contact keys so that you can send marketing messages.
Create Better Business Cards
The feeling of a business card is the biggest initial differentiator. A roofer with a sandpaper back on their business card created with project glue and sand will stand out from every other roofer.
Be A Radio Show Guest
There are many radio shows constantly looking for guests. Look up the interview shows you hear on the radio to find out if they are seeking guests, and if so, who.
Give Away Samples
Stand out on the sidewalk or at a local high traffic area and present samples to those that walk by.
Monitor Your Competitors
Watch the online presence of local competitors so that you can take the best ideas and leverage them for your business. Over time, what you see will give you new ideas that others haven’t tried.
Give Away Balloons At Local Events
Balloons are sticky marketing when given to kids. Hand out balloons at parades, festivals, and other community events.