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10 Cheap Ways to Market Your Business This Year

So here are 10 cheap ways to market your business this year.
by Brad Leese, May 07, 2014 Austin Media Slingers. It's "Slinger Tactic!"

Get free business cards from Vista Print and leave them everywhere and with everyone. Offer a discount or coupon and make sure to include all your contact info like your website, email address, phone number, name, business name, type of business, maybe an easily remembered slogan and if you have one, a logo. Vista Print offers free business cards where shipping is the only thing you have to fork over. Yes, it says Vista Print on the back, but if it really bothers you, pay a little extra and put something else back there like a calendar or just list your website address again. Also be sure to check out the other free products they offer and their business community page located here:

Head over to MailChimp, sign up for a free account, create an email collector (contact form) and then place the widget within your website to collect your interested visitors info. Once you have one or more signed up, head back into MailChimp, create a free email campaign and send out a newsletter about your business' promos, updates, news, etc. It's free for those with up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send out up to 12,000 emails free per month. See this one bit of advice that just saved you at least $10 or more per month with other like services.

Pick a charitable event, local art show, or other related/unrelated event and offer one of your products or services as a prize, donation or auction item. This not only gives you some free press, but you get to help someone or a group. It's a sure bet that the winner or recipient of your product or service will remember your business and spread plenty of word-of-mouth advertising about you and your amazing business to everyone they know.

Be king of your own empire...well, not exactly, but you can be a part of a really cool online community full of business owners just like you. Introducing 'Empire Avenue', a tool that helps drive network engagement by building relationships with the most reputable people in the world. It's free to join and use, of course there is a paid version, but you get so many benefits as a free member that I've never felt I needed to become a paying member. If you join and need help getting started, let me, I'm always happy to help.

Write a blog. I know, everyone always says just "write a blog" and well, you should. Its great advice that everyone should take and something that will not cost you a dime, not even a penny. Find something that you are passionate about like your business and write about it. Maybe you are a photographer, so post pictures from your last job with a little verbiage to describe what's happening in the picture. Or you might be a realtor, a blog is a great place to write about one or more of the properties you are representing with links to each listing. And if you offer something else, no problem, just write anything that lets your readers learn about you, your products or services and any news like sales, promos, coupon codes, etc. Blogger and a host of other services like WordPress offer free as well as paid blogging options.

Do something nice for someone, give them your business card and walk away. This is a suggestion I actually read somewhere and although a good one, their example of buying a drink for someone and then walking away seemed a bit weird. So instead, if you see someone in need, maybe holding a door open while they pull a stroller through or picking up something that they've dropped, then handing them your card and walking away might just work better, plus it's a free idea, which is just better and cheaper.

Post on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram page/wall, a coupon or coupon code to save a little bit off your product(s) or service(s). Even a few dollars off can make a huge impact and create some nice, free traffic to your business and website.

How about offering a free class or mini-seminar to your community or interested customers? You can create posts on your social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. to announce the event. Also printing up a few flyers that you can ask local business' and government agencies to post in their windows or on their bulletin boards works too. Most businesses are more likely to allow posted ads for free events than for paid ones.

A referral program for your existing or past customers is a great way to get lots of word-of-mouth advertising about your biz. You don't have to pay cash for the referral, in my businesses, we offer special coupons, gift bags with fun stuff inside, gift cards to local restaurants and even something free for the most referrals in a year's time. You might even ask another business to go in with you and offer each other's products or services as "thank you" gifts.

A simple "thank you" can go a very, very long way. Buy some cool 'Thank You' cards that reflect your business then hand write a note to say how much a customer's business meant to you. I used to do this for a lumber yard that I worked for by sending a 'thank you' note to the spouse of the contractor for letting their significant other shop with us. Sounds cheesy, but it kept them coming back, oh and offering a free pair of gardening gloves, a coffee mug or a coupon for $10 off their next purchase didn't hurt either.

So there you have it, ten ways to market your business on the cheap. This year holds plenty of potential wins for every business, as long as you can find a way to get the word out about your service or products.  Making it both cheap and cost-effective will help you find the most success and won't break the bank in the process.

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