Small businesses often translate to small budgets. Working with less media buying power requires a high level of creativity. Consider these creative marketing ideas to help stretch your dollar and grow your brand presence.

  • Prioritize. You can not do it all. Pick 3-5 marketing action items and focus your dollars.
  • Find out why your current customers chose you. Then direct 60% of your budget to cultivate those areas further.
  • Retention, retention, retention. Retain customers, keep them engaged with permission-based news with relevant information, create referral driven opportunities/rewards.
  • Deliver above the bar service. Word travels. Two kinds of people share their experiences. The first is a raving fan. The second is someone you just sorely disappointed. Work on being the first type.
  • Consider freelance/contracting out. You can concentrate your marketing efforts without co-mingling daily operational needs that can distract an internal person. Set the amount you are able to afford and create clear expectations.
  • Publish strong content consistently.
  • Invest in Facebook and Google ad campaigns. Set budget limits.
  • Implement tools to capture leads routinely. Generate a lead database. Talk to them monthly. Electronic blasts, mailings, reminders…Be careful. Keep is relevant and frequency reasonable.
  • Be a savvy social networker. Consider contests.
  • Implement retargeting and automation campaigns.
  • Know your audience. Focus groups, surveys, think tanks of volunteers.
  • Know where your customers are coming from geographically and who they are demographically. Narrow your dollars to your unique geodemographic target. Keep an eye on growth areas and choose one medium to track response in those.
  • Breathe new life into older content. Then recycle it.
  • Partner with like businesses.
  • Use low cost, high impact branding at local events. Balloons, water bottles with stickers, bags of candy with tags or labels, pinwheels with tags, flags with stickers, glow bracelets, Stickers on people. Whatever. Have fun with it. Get familiar with the Avery website and create any kind of label for anything. Tie tags on anything. Viola.
  • Guerrilla marketing. Post flyers in star bucks, library, and common places with people traffic and cork boards.

A word of caution. All of these items take time. More time is often what is needed to make limited budget ideas really soar. Be realistic. Schedule time to work on key goals. Being strategic and focused is critical. Sometimes hiring experienced help, can also help.

Like anything, what you like to do will always be easier to implement consistently over time. In a small business, the long-distance run usually wins over the sprint. Play your strengths and invest in what interests you. If you are an extrovert, then focus on attending events and using free time to build relationships that build the business. If you are a numbers guru, hone your data and avidly watch it. Pounce on the upticks and opportunities you find. If you are a writer, then write and publish. You get it. Now get to it.