Cheap Ways to Promote Your Business – Online and Offline + Video

Unfortunately, there have been many small business failures even though they have had unique products or services with excellent location to market them.

Contrary to popular belief, this situation can be linked more to inadequate marketing and promotion rather than an economic downturn.

So often, some small business owners tend to overlook the importance of exposure and promoting their businesses.

Here are some ways to promote your business without investing a lot of money.


Low Cost Ways to Promote your Business Offline

1. Customer First

Provide a great service and others will tell their friends and colleagues of your service. Providing a great service is the No1 way to build your business. The best form of advertising is free – that’s word of mouth.

If you’re an excellent business with superior customer service, your customers will tell everyone they know about their experience.

Unfortunately the opposite is also true. Provide a crap service and they will tell their friends and colleagues that you did not live up to their expectations.

2. Encourage Testimonials

Whenever you provide a great service to customers get them to give you a testimonial. If you have a website selling products then you can automate this process by using a testimonial/review service such as trust pilot or reseller ratings.

These reviews can help to promote your brand but they also give you an insight into where you are not performing as well as you want to.

3. Sponsor an Athletic Team or an Event

Try contacting your school system or community centre to find out what type of sponsorships are available. For the most part, these organisations have limited funds and are usually receptive to accommodating you.

Beyond just advertising, it can also get you involved in your community as well as providing an opportunity to build long-lasting relationships.

4. Offer to Speak to Several Different Organisations

There are many professional and community organisations that are always looking for speakers, especially local business people. Besides the publicity for your business, it’s an opportunity to showcase your personality and knowledge of your products or services.

Don’t let your customers forget you. Be certain to always have promotional items to hand out such as hats, pens, magnets, mugs, and calendars. These articles are usually economical ways to promote your business and, equally important, are subtle reminders to your customers every time they see your name.

5. Offer a Discount Loyalty Card

They are a great way to reward customers for their loyalty and persuade them to keep using your business. Loyalty cards also offer a sense of belonging and a greater attachment to your company as a supplier.

They also help to encourage extra sales.

Think of the McDonalds Coffee tokens that let you get a free cup of coffee when you have drank 6. (Not a loyalty card as such but tokens can be collected in a number of ways)

Promote Your Business on the Cheap

6. Turn up at a Local Community Event

Turn up and give away branded balloons. Happy Kids = Happy Parents. Happy parents are more likely to warm to your product or service giving you an initial foot in the door. You can then distribute Promotional Cards to the parents at these locations.

If balloons and children don’t match your brand then choose something that is more in keeping with the product of service that you are selling.

7. Volunteer in Your Community

Make an effort to join a committee, coach an athletic team or sign up to help people in need. Doing so, not only demonstrates your commitment to your community, it also puts a face on your business.

People like to buy from people. Try to build close relationships with your clients and potential clients.

8. Reach out to a Local Television or Radio Station

Some media outlets like to introduce businesses to the community resulting in free exposure for your business.

Additionally, you may receive an invitation to be interviewed.

9. Organise a Seminar

Conducting periodic seminars is a chance to share your business expertise and it’s also a format to introduce you in a different setting to potential customers. These days, people are careful when making buying decisions and are more likely to buy from someone familiar to them.

10. Distribute Merchandise

Why not purchase some promotional merchandise for your current clients to keep your brand in their eyes all year round. Promotional desk clocks are a great way to do this. They are in front of your client all year round and they only need to glance up to see the time, along with your contact details in plain sight.

Promote Your Business on the Cheap

11. Custom Vehicle Livery

Get vinyl graphics or a magnetic sign for your car or van to display your logo wherever you go, this does not fit all businesses but can be good for companies that are “out on a job” regularly. You will be surprised how many people actually see your logo on your vehicle and subconsciously record the information.

12. Use Every Outgoing Piece of Paper, and Every Electronic Document as Business Promotion

Whenever you send an email make sure the signature has a banner showing your latest offers. Use coupon codes if you have them, so you can track which source the leads came from. Keep the offers fresh and always seek new offers from suppliers to use in conjunction with this kind of marketing campaign.

13. Use Promotional Cards

Add printed coupon codes to promotional business cards. Showing your offers.

Send them out with invoices and give them to potential clients/customers.

If you run a café or similar then distribute them to local businesses as menus that they can keep on their desks without taking up much space. Include phone numbers and email addresses so that orders can be mailed or phoned through.

14. Pitch News Ideas About Your Industry to Local News Outlets

Newspapers radio stations, and television stations. Pitch ideas to Web news sites. Propose that one of your employees be the expert interviewed in the news piece.

15. Send out Catalogues with Orders

Whenever anyone orders from you include a catalogue or sales flyer in with the order. This is likely to keep them coming back for more, and introduce them to the rest of your product range.

At promo gifts you would be surprised the amount of customers that used to buy pens from us and mouse mats and other merchandise from another company. Educate your clients so that they know all the products and services you supply.

Promote Your Business on the Cheap

16. Write a Press Release

Target local or relevant websites. newspapers, magazines, radio stations and even television studios if you are able.  Write a press release about an event in your company, if you don’t have an event to write about then why not run one?

17. Offer MultiBuy Discounts

Offering multi buy discounts will increase the amount of goods you sell. Everyone likes to think they are getting the best deal available, and will often spend a little more to get twice the amount of an item.

Even if you only make an extra 10% it’s better than nothing!

18. Up sell Your Products

You need pens? Excellent Sir, would you like boxes with those? Would you like extra refill cartridges? Maybe a matching Mechanical Pencil?

Getting the best deal for your client can often mean adding on some suitable extra’s either for free or at a discounted rate.

They are happier with their purchase as they get more for their money and you get a slightly larger order. Everyone is happy!

19. Offer a Free Trial

If your product or service is subscription based, then try to offer a free trial to entice customers to try you out.

This is a great way to bring clients over that are currently using one of your competitors services or products

20. Offer 100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee

Stand behind your product or service with guarantees. People want to know that you believe in the quality of your products

The best way to show this is by offering guarantees to that effect.

Promote Your Business on the Cheap

Cheap ways to Promote your Business Online

21. Create a Website for Your Business

More and more, consumers are using the convenience of the internet for their buying needs.

If you already have a website, make sure that you keep it updated with pertinent information such as hours of operation, special promotions, and events.

Likewise, having a website is a chance to publicly tell the story about your business.

22. Setup a Blog that Specialises on your Field of Expertise

Don’t just start a blog and write for writings sake, or just for the sake of content. I’ve been there and it really does not produce something readable or remotely interesting. Don’t  just adding posts for the hell of it.

Know your subject and spend time on your posts. Try to learn a bit of HTML so that you can actually style the posts to look half decent.

If you really have zero writing skills you can use a service like constant content or text broker to buy unique content. (But be warned, it can get expensive buying content).

23. Get your Social on

Setup business pages on social networks. The main ones to concentrate on are Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedin and maybe pinterest.

Use a service like if that then this to publish your blog posts to them all. Publish links to your social sites on your website so that clients know where to connect with you.

24. Facebook Competitions

The wife is a dead sucker for these. “Like and Share” for free stuff are constant passers through my feed.

If you have some products you can give away then run a competition on facebook to share them to their followers.

This can be a great way to build up your followers and add “likes” to your facebook page. (a “like” gives you permission to display future updates on users feeds)

25. Twitter Competitions

Retweet and Follow to win a prize is a great way to build your twitter following.

Another great way is to use some software like tweetadder to follow others automatically.

Just make sure you have a human voice on your twitter account to talk to clients and potential new clients.

Promote Your Business on the Cheap

26. Add Videos to YouTube and Flickr

Youtube is one of the best ways to distribute promotional videos. You have to be imaginative or educational or your video won’t perform.

Try to be relevant to your business and offer free advice, education or something that is funny/sharable.

A Flickr account gives you a place to compile all your business photos and allows you to link back to your site.

27. Join Relevant Online Communities

Contributing to your niches communities is a great way to spread the word about your brand. You can also demonstrate your level of expertise in your market and gain the following and respect of others within your companies area of business.

28. Run a Survey of Your Customers

Find out what ticks all the boxes of your customers when it comes to service and expectations of your company.

You can use an online service like survey monkey for this.

29. Give Away Free Stuff

One of the most popular pages on our blog are the pages where we give free calendar templates and free wall planner templates.

Everyone loves free stuff and this helps to get you back links and traffic when users are looking for things.

30. Add your Business to Local Search Listings

Adding your business contact details to local search listings on places like google places and yelp can offer a large amount of rewards depending on the business you are in.

Beware if you provide a bad service you may get negative reviews.

But sticking to No1 in the list will ensure that you never do. Take the time to ensure that your entry there is accurate, and that there are direct links to your website and phone number.

Promote Your Business on the Cheap

31. Publish Discount Coupons on Coupon Websites

A list of popular coupon websites. Adding coupons to your site can be a great way to increase conversions. It also creates back links to your sites that help by adding new traffic and fresh hits.

32. Sell your Products and Services on Ebay.

You get a lot of free advertising and your products/services get under a lot of potential customers noses.

Ebay listing are relatively low cost with the main cost only being applied if you actually sell your products.

33. Sell your Products on Amazon or

These websites enable you to sell your products and pay the sites commission on your sales.

Amazon is the largest supplier of this kind. Selling both it’s own products and that of other smaller companies.

34. Offer an Affiliate Program

An affiliate program is basically when someone clicks on a banner or a link from another site and they buys something from your site.

You would then pay the affiliate a commission on the sale they produced for you.

The best thing about affiliate programs is there is little cost involved unless goods are actually sold.

35. Look on Fiverr for Ideas (Use with caution)

There are many weird and wonderful gigs available on Fiverr to promote your business. Best thing of all they only cost a fiverr.

We commissioned this sharpie marker video to promote the sale of branded sharpie markers on our site.

I’m sure you can find something on there that fits your niche.

You can then use the video to publish on your blog as a talking pieces or to promote your products or services.

Promote Your Business on the Cheap

36. Start a Newsletter

Launching a complimentary newsletter to your existing or prospective customers is an excellent opportunity to share useful tips and information.

In fact, it’s also another way to convey your knowledge and experience.  You can get some great advice over at the mailchimp blog on this subject.

You need to be careful that all your email addresses are Opt in and follow the correct procedure.

In short, promoting your business even in tough economic times enhances the likelihood of growing your business.

Some other Great posts on this subject:

If you want us to add your link to the list please post in the comments below.

Do you have any experience with any of the methods described?

Have you found other Methods that work well for you?

Please do comment below if you have anything to add to the list!

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Comments (7)

  • You are so right. So many businesses don’t realize the potential benefit for giving promotional gifts as a form of promoting your business. In today’s world you have to utilize all the “tools of the trade” to be successful.

  • Wow David – this is an exceptionally well written article and provides any business with a whole host of out of the box areas they can utilise to increase their marketing efforts, both online and offline. You are 100 percent correct though that so many business basically sit around wondering why nothing is happening rather than thinking of new and innovative strategies to promote themselves.

    • Thanks Gareth, a lot of time and research went into it. I think writing one really good on topic post every few weeks is much better than hashing out one a day with less research.

      I was resisting the temptation of putting the Top 36 ways to promote… etc as I’m hoping to keep adding ideas to the list.

      What have you found to be the most productive method of promoting over at go promotional? (other than the obvious promotional merchandise!)

  • Wow, what a great list! It’s awesome to see that your not only focusing on online promotion. So many people are caught up in promoting their websites and blogs that they forget real life. Thanks for sharing!

  • I absolutely agreed with your post. Promotional gifts is a greet way to promote and advertise a company branding or products. IT related gifts like usb flash drive and portable power bank is practical promotional gifts in the technology age.

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