The following five small business marketing ideas can help you generate more business without spending a lot of time, money or effort. 

1. Form strategic alliances 

Forming a strategic alliance involves building a mutually beneficial working relationship with another business you have synergy with. 

The goal is to generate business for each other by reciprocal referrals or joint promotional opportunities (joint workshops, advertising on each other’s newsletter or website, etc.). 

When choosing business allies, look for businesses that take on your clients before and after you do in the process (for example, a graphic designer might partner with a printer), as this will increase the chances of both of you generating referrals for each other. 

A successful alliance must be a win-win relationship, so if you are just starting out, or don’t have a large database for your potential alliance to leverage, offer them something else of value such as a referral commission, or a product or service for free. 

2. Offer referral rewards 

Offering referral rewards and incentives to customers can be a great way to increase the amount of client referrals you receive in your business. Ideally, you want your rewards scaled so the more referrals they give you, the better their reward. 

Happy customers give the best sales pitches: they talk to people who trust them and they are passionate and excited, resulting in a higher conversion rate of referrals for you. 

Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.

3. Use social media

If you aren’t on social media yet, you need to be. It is a great way to engage with your customers and potential customers, build relationships, access customer feedback to develop more relevant products and services, make sales and up-sell existing clients, generate more traffic for your website and increase your business’ trustworthiness, expertise and goodwill. 

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest (to name a few) can all provide great exposure for your business. 

4. Send media releases 

Generating media coverage can be a great way to attract more clients and raise your profile and credibility. If you have a newsworthy story relating to your business, write a media release and distribute it to the media. 

So what is newsworthy? Here are some examples:

  • Have you launched a new product or service?
  • Do you have a significant success story (yours or your clients)?
  • Did you have any interesting results from a survey or research?
  • Have you achieved an important business milestone or an award? 

5. Give your knowledge away 

Your expertise is valuable to others, so package it up in a way that lets people see how much of an expert you are. 

Do speaking engagements, run workshops, write articles or an e-book, do an instructional video or podcast, and write a blog, report or checklist that is available to download on your website. 

This will help your potential customers see firsthand how you could help them. It’s good to reveal a few “tricks of the trade”, not everything of course, but enough to showcase your expertise and value to potential clients. 

The real key to minimising the time and money you spend on marketing (or any area of your business for that matter) is leverage. You want to find ways to leverage your own knowledge, influence and contacts – or find ways to leverage that of others by giving them an incentive to share their resources with you. 

What high-leverage, low-cost small business marketing ideas have worked for your business?

“ Offering referral rewards and incentives to customers can be a great way to increase the amount of client referrals you receive in your business. ”
 
Amanda Jesnoewski

Amanda Jesnoewski is the owner of Velocity Media and Communications and a specialist at creating sharp, persuasive marketing and publicity messages that engage audiences and generate results.

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