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The ‘Next-to-Nothing’ Marketing Guide for Small Biz

September 23, 2010

in Business

Marketing a blog, a brick and mortar based store, or even an online store isn’t an easy task. It’s going to take time, effort, and of course, it’s going to take money as well.

Most of us out there don’t have deep pockets like this mega corporations do. We can’t go out there, throw a 30 second spot commercial during the Super Bowl, and watch the millions come in.

Instead, we need to come up with creative marketing efforts that aren’t going to cost us that much. While being creative isn’t in everyone’s blood, I wanted to give you some simple marketing ideas that you can use, when you want to get the word out about your business.

Ways You Can Market for Next to Nothing

#1 Search Engine Marketing/Optimization (SEM/SEO): This doesn’t take that long to learn and when you get it nailed down; you can draw some fantastic, targeted traffic to your site. Most of the [intlink id="3168" type="post"]SEO techniques[/intlink] to get you to the top 10 for specific keywords really aren’t going to cost you that much money. I guarantee that if you hit the right keywords, you will see a great ROI.

#2 If you offer any type of service or product, use Craigslist to your advantage. You don’t want to spam the site, but instead, post on a weekly basis. I have gained many clients from posting a simple ad here. The key is to make sure that your ad sticks out above the rest.

#3 Participate in message boards: A great way to gain creditability in the online space is to participate on forums that relate to your business. This is going to take a long time to do, but it can reap some fantastic rewards. If the forum allows signature links, put a nice link to your site here.

#4 Reach out to bloggers online: Like I’m doing right now, you can reach out to bloggers that are in your niche online. Offer them a creative, unique article, and ask for a simple link back to your site. Just make sure you don’t make it too spammy, as 99% of the time, it won’t get published.

#5 Flyer neighborhoods: I’ve found that this marketing tactic works wonders for services. A while ago, I helped consult with a seal coating company. I told them that we should create some cheap flyers and put them on driveways that may need seal coating. Needless to say, business was up this year from a simple advertising technique like this!

#6 Network with others: Sites like is a great resource to meet people in your city that do what you do. This is a great way to form a relationship and share ideas. While it really isn’t a marketing effort, it may open the doors to other options.

Other ideas you can use:

  • Give customers incentives to bring in other customers.
  • Offer free classes at your business. (offer up sell afterwards)
  • Create a blog and update it daily.
  • Offer loyalty cards.
  • Be creative to capture the local news attention.

Have motivation, be determined, and anything is possible. Hey, once you get big enough, maybe you will have deep pockets and you can advertise like the rest of them!

Image Credit: Koka Sexton

Las Vegas Keynote Speaker November 17, 2010 at 7:35 am

The best ideas for marketing comes in a different view,it depends on the marketer how he handle the business.This one right here says a lot and hopefully marketers will try to look at it in order for them to have more knowledge.

TJ McDowell@Photography Education October 11, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Once you establish a few “customers” (however you define that word for your specific business), you can start going over the top with good treatment for them. It’s a lot less expensive to turn your existing customers into referrers than it is to get completely new clients.

Hasham from Sell Property Fast September 28, 2010 at 8:15 am

Every business needs its own marketing strategies and as long as it can, it must be cheaper but of course have its quality. SEO is the best marketing way that I can see. It’s free and but it will definitely help you out!

Nath @ Ipod 4 Touch September 25, 2010 at 2:19 pm

meeting and discussing with fellow bloggers is important to share ideas , about SEO , marketing etc . Also participating in messsage boards like digital point forum etc makes u new webmaster friends

Rick LaPoint | Internet Marketing September 24, 2010 at 7:17 am

It’s good to see someone talking about methods other than SEO. For the little guy, traditional marketing techniques can be a lot more effective, especially in the beginning. Bloggers may like to stay at home in front of the keyboard, but getting out there in the physical world can have many benefits.


lizcutten September 25, 2010 at 8:10 am

Exactly. So many people stress on SEO, but there are so many other ways to promote your website ventures. As long as you picture your website as a business, you should be doing pretty good!

Patricia September 23, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Some great tips there for us newbies so thanks. I am finding one of the ways I am getting known is by commenting on other blogs. Also I joined a blogging community and they are helping spread the word about my site.
Also another way I am getting local people to know me is I have had business cards made up (with my blog logo on) and I have given them to some good networking family and friends. They actually asked for them so soon as I monetize my blog; guess who will be doing a lot of the selling for me??!!
Patricia Perth Australia

Henway September 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm

SEO is definitely a great ROI simply b/c you’re targeting people who are actually searching for a product that you got.

I also think giveaways are also a great idea of getting your brand out there. You don’t need to give away the farm, just something simple that cost as little as $10 may be good enough, or a free e-book, or something.

lizcutten September 25, 2010 at 8:10 am

For sure. SEO is by my favorite, but I have some success with Craigslist when helping a friend, etc. Can’t argue with you there! :)

Jeff September 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I am still very new to the biz. I have learned alot but, I am still not where I want to be. I really will check out your tips. I hope that it will pull me from the bottom of the ranks to at least the middle. I liked your suggestions.

Sherryl Perry September 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

Great tips. The more ways you can get your brand out there – the better. People like to do business with people they know. The more they see your brand, the more they think they know you.

Another free service that’s often overlooked is eBay Classifieds.

Kathy September 23, 2010 at 7:43 am

Some of the best ideas for marketing come when you think outside of the box. There are plenty of ways that people can market their websites if they learn to forget what they already know for two minutes.

I remember one occasion where I saw a sticker that someone had stuck to the outside of a gas pump. Every time someone pulled up to fill up their gas tank, there was a chance that they would notice that sticker.

Rude – yes. Effective and cheap – probably yes and yes.

Ryan Biddulph September 23, 2010 at 7:03 am

Hi Liz,

Simple and powerful tips here.

I practice all except Craiglist and flyer advertising but will consider them in the future. I am *big* on reaching out to fellow bloggers; just check the “Top Commentators” widget on many blogs ;)

Thanks for sharing your insight.


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