by Rachel Christian, CEPF®, Matt Reinstetle

Updated April 21, 2023

Small business owners are always looking for ways to save money, and marketing is no exception. How do you stand out from the crowd and tell the world about your amazing business — without spending a fortune?

Don’t let a limited marketing budget hold you back.

There are tons of free and low-budget ways to market your small business, including social media outreach, internet ads, content marketing, in-person networking and more.

Small business marketing strategies aren’t rocket science. They just require some time and effort.

With the right marketing strategy and tools in place, you can attract potential customers for your company without breaking the bank.

We’ve compiled a list of small business marketing tips and ideas to help get your company noticed before, during and after launch. No marketing agency required.

Just starting out? Check out these small business owner tips for advice and inspiration for fresh entrepreneurs.

13 Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Marketing is an essential part of any business. Small businesses, in particular, need to focus on low-cost marketing strategies to help build brand awareness, generate leads and increase sales.

Here are 13 marketing tips for small businesses to get you started.

1. Create a Logo and Brand

If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you’re going to need to look the part. It might be tempting to create a generic logo and use a website template or stock photos when launching, but that isn’t necessarily good in the long run.

“I think many small business owners skimp on this step, and that’s a big mistake because if you don’t look like a real company, customers and clients are not going to trust you,” says Sherry Bonelli, owner of Early Bird Digital Marketing.

Freelance websites such as Fiverr and Upwork connect business owners with graphic designers who can create a custom logo, color palette, business cards and overall design for your business. This can cost anywhere between $300 and $500.

2. Make Your Website SEO Friendly

You need to make it as easy as possible for people to find your website.

Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is the process of increasing web traffic from search engine results.

SEO plays a crucial role in helping local and small businesses get discovered online.

Several factors determine a website’s search engine ranking, including posting well-written blog pages that establish your topic credibility on a regular basis and using keywords associated with your business.

Here are some other tips to optimize your website:

There are a lot of free blog posts, courses and resources out there to teach business owners about SEO marketing efforts. To learn more, check out free resources on sites such as Moz, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

You can also sign up for a massive open online course about SEO and follow marketing professionals you admire on LinkedIn.

3. Launch Business Pages on Google and Yelp

If you’re planning on opening a physical location, such as a restaurant, don’t forget to create a business profile on Google — a free listing service that provides your essential info, such as a street address and phone number. It also allows your business to show up on Google Maps and the local section of Google search results.

A Google business profile also comes with analytics you can use to better understand how customers contact your business.

Creating a business page on Yelp — and monitoring your reviews — is also key. Positive Yelp reviews help you rank higher on Google search results.

You can claim your business on Google and Yelp for free, add details and upload photos.

When owning a company, you should watch what your competitors are doing with their social media platforms. “If a competitor is using Pinterest and it seems like they’re gaining a lot of engagement, then Pinterest might be a place you want to go,” says Kim Randall, owner of KiMedia Strategies. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

4. Promote Your Business on Social Media

You can count on using the major social media channels — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn — to promote business news and engage with your target market.

Not only are social media platforms free to use, but they also let you reach a large audience quickly.

Depending on your audience, you might decide to integrate TikTok, Snapchat or YouTube into your social media marketing strategy, too.

Keeping an eye on your competitors’ social media platforms also gives you insight on your target audience.

“If a competitor is using Pinterest and it seems like they’re gaining a lot of engagement, then Pinterest might be a place you want to go,” said Kim Randall, owner of KiMedia Strategies, a small business marketing firm.

Some keys to marketing your business on social media include:

It’s also important to interact with your audience on social media and respond quickly to direct messages.

Check out these expert social media tips for small businesses to hone your marketing strategy.

5. Find Free or Low-Cost Marketing Tools

Money may be tight in the early days of your small business, so it helps to use free or low-cost marketing services.

Below is a list of programs and tools that can help your marketing budget stretch.

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