40 BIG Ideas for Small Business Marketing

Updated December 26, 2023

Table of Contents

You want to stand out to your customers as King of the Jungle, the Mighty Duck or the Proud Peacock with the brightest plumage, but you’re a small business with an even smaller marketing budget. How can you grab BIG attention without spending big money? ZOO Media Group is all about helping your business become the Top Dog. Our business branding strategies and small budget marketing ideas are designed to help you compete with King Kong corporations.

Become a Blogger – Search Engine Optimization

BIG Ideas for Small Business Marketing

If you want to rule the small business marketing jungle, add good content on your site. “Content is King” in a world where properly optimized articles contribute to website hits. Blogs allow you to show off your expertise, to promote your products and promotions, and to relay industry news while using effective search engine optimization techniques.

For blogs to work, the content must be well written, engaging, consistent and relevant! Blog posts sporadically throughout the month detailing your last vacation won’t bring readers to your website (at least not the ones you really want).

Post weekly about engaging, interesting, and relevant content with searchable titles, and you’ll quickly find your website hits rising. Also include a comment area and respond to readers’ comments. Try commenting on other blogs too. And interact with bloggers in your field, show them your expertise, and grow your network by sharing interesting and relevant articles. For more tips on setting up a successful blog click here.

Find your Forum – Networking

Find relevant forums on social media and local business networking groups and get involved. Discuss and network with fellow industry professionals. But avoid spamming the forum! A frequent insightful discussion is the goal – not postings about semi-relevant articles or off-topic content.

The pluses of Google Business Profile – Search Engine Optimization

Take advantage of the internet and small business branding strategies with Google Business Profile. Add posts with links to your new blog, upload photos, promotions, and include all the information any customer would need to know about your business. Google Business is a great vehicle to optimize your website, get your word out, get client reviews and get you on the map.

Google Business Profile

Unique & Cool Business Cards – Brand Building

How creative is your business card really? Just like in the animal world – to attract customers, you need eye-catching plumage. You need to get particularly creative when finding small budget marketing ideas, so it’s important that you design a unique and memorable business card. How well does your card represent your business? Will it standout? Are you using the back of the business card to add to your messaging? Do you want to include a coupon? And always remember to carry your business cards with you and give them out generously.

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Appreciation is KING – Customer Service

Customer service isn’t just about attracting clients – it’s about earning their loyalty, respect, and ongoing business. Improve efficiency and friendliness, and you’ll quickly find new customers coming your way. And while you are bringing in new clientele, show your previous customers that they’re just as important to you! Show appreciation with regular contact using thank you cards, email marketing and loyalty programs.

Stylized Email Signatures – Branding

Signing off an e-mail or e-newsletter isn’t the same as signing off on the annual family Christmas card with a picture of the kids on the front. When it comes to small business marketing, it’s all about the fine details. Create an email signature with your name, position, contact information, and a bit about your business – a brief list of your products or services is a good idea too.

Embrace Social Media – Social Media Marketing

Social networking is a great way to expose your business to a wider audience. It’s okay if you don’t have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok or LinkedIn in your personal life, but for your business to compete with the other fish in the sea, it should have a comprehensive, frequent social media presence. Make sure your social networking content is relevant, branded, and professional. And remember to include links to your blog articles and website to increase potential visibility.  For Instagram, use Linktree to add more links.

Build Relationships – Networking

Have a personal presence! Networking doesn’t just happen online. Meet other experts in your field at events and trade shows or try to find opportunities to speak at conferences. And don’t forget to bring your cool business cards!

Reward your Customers – Customer Appreciation

Who doesn’t love a rewards program? If customers have to choose between your business and another, they’re much more likely to go for the one that offers the most benefits. So developing a well branded and engaging rewards program can produce customer loyalty and big dividends.

Article Marketing – Search Engine Optimization

People love an expert. And what better way to show your expertise through writing good articles on relevant and up to date topics? Try to get published in trade journals, industry websites, or other relevant printed and online publications. And ask for a link to your website or blog too.

Access Review Websites and Portals – Search Engine Optimization

One of the best ways to boost your online presence is through other websites. Include your business on review sites like Trip Advisor, Epinions.com, Yelp, and others. Next, find local business portals to add your business to. This type of link building strategy is a must for new businesses and websites.

Go beyond SEO with SEM

Search engines are not only about building relevant content for organic SEO purposes. Use search engine marketing (SEM). Search engines like Google will display your paid online ads to the web users that are interested in your products or services, and hopefully direct new traffic to your website. Pay per click ads are a great way to get exposure, and you only pay when your ad is clicked. And you can set your max spend in advance, so you don’t blow your budget!

Fly them around town – Local Advertising

Promotional flyers are time tested and proven to be effective in gaining an audience for your business. Design an eye-grabbing flyer and post it around town on mailboxes, doors, windshields, and light posts. When it comes to an engaging flyer, use a small amount of copy with a vibrant design, and your audience won’t be able to resist checking it out. Inexpensive guerrilla marketing techniques like this can sometimes produce a significant response.

Give your Flyer Wings – Advertising

To gain added exposure with this marketing strategy, let your flyer spread its wings! Post your flyer at events, in conference bags for attendees, and place them on community boards to reach an even larger audience. Avoid restricting your flyers to the 10-mile radius around your business or home. If you don’t want to take the time to post the flyers yourself, consider using Canada Post for unaddressed admail to targeted neighbourhoods if your budget permits.

Digitize your Flyer – Email Marketing

While your flyer is growing legs in the real world, create a digitized flyer for your online followers. Build up an email database of prospect contacts and current customers. Once compiled, you can create an e-newsletter for your readers. Include news, insider information, and special offers and coupons to show your customers you appreciate their continued loyalty. E-blasts allow you to reach outside the geographical confines of your area and into the wilderness beyond! But be sure to get consent and abide by Canada’s anti-spam legislation.

Create a Charitable Reputation – Networking & Brand Building

Donating to charity is one of those win-win marketing strategies. You can build a positive reputation in the community and can feel great about it too! Donating your products or services as an auction item for charitable events and foundations also boosts the visibility of your business. Attending these events or sponsoring them can also provide an excellent networking opportunity to meet other community-minded business owners in your area and help build your brand.

Advertise in Classifieds – Advertising

Classifieds aren’t just for newspapers anymore. With the advent of the Internet came a new way to digitize small business marketing. Whole websites now exist that are devoted solely to classifieds. You’ve certainly heard of a few – Kijiji and Craigslist, for instance and now Facebook Marketplace. Post free ads for your products and services and gain added exposure.

Find Allies in the Jungle – Partnerships

Partnerships have benefits. Find businesses that are similar in concept or in your field of expertise and partner with them. Create alliances in the city so that when locals are looking for services, partner businesses can recommend you.

Bring Back Bartering

How solid are your prices? Can they be flexible? The more flexible your prices are, the more potential you have to close the deal. And if you’re willing to barter or even trade with your customers and potential clients, this can help you get your products and services out there.

Call the Press – Communication

Are you having an open house? Doing any renovations? Maybe you’re having a big sale? Write to the press. Press releases are another great small budget marketing idea that is often neglected as old fashioned or irrelevant. This could not be further from the truth. Press releases can be published both online and offline. When you write a press release for your business, you can create a buzz and also control the publicity surrounding your company.

Organize a Hang Out – Networking

Get social with potential clients and existing customers as well as other local businesses. Organize a networking hang out to let business owners and clients get to know your products or services a little better while building new contacts in the community. This could be online, or in person at your business or a local watering hole.

Exchange Links – SEO Tip

With so much of small business marketing going online, it’s time to create allies via the web. Share links from your website and social media properties with other businesses in your community. Link building is a tried and true SEO strategy. There is power in numbers!

Publish a Free Report – Communication

Just like press releases, developing free reports are one of those marketing strategies that can help you control how your business is viewed online. Publish a free online report or white paper to build your company credibility and to inform prospects about your industry, company history and what makes you unique.

Encourage Sharing – Social Media Tips

Sharing is caring. Social media and networking sites have added a whole new meaning to this old adage. Encourage your readers and audience to share your blog posts, pages, contests, and anything else you have online. This is the best way to expose your brand to an even larger audience.

Have fun with Film – Video Production

Okay, so maybe you won’t be using 8mm film (the heading did rhyme though), but creating online videos can go a long way to adding personality and energy to your brand. Show your customers your expertise in the field, while adding interest to your products or services.

Create Contests – Marketing

Everyone loves a good contest. Contests can bring in a wave of new traffic to your site, as well as to your social networking properties. Contests can even help build your contact database for e-newsletters. It’s a great way to get your small business marketing ball rolling. Examples of contest themes include draws, instant win, trivia, art, writing, photo, and video contests.

Spread the Brand Love Around – Promotional Giveaways

Little things can travel immense distances in a person’s pocket. Invest in take-away branded promotional items, like pens and magnets. And think outside the box, too. Is your company a gardening business? Why not give out a small packet of seeds with your logo and name branded on them? Or maybe a little hammer key chain for a construction company? Keeping your brand on people’s minds will go a long way to cultivating new business.

Become a Sponsor – Event Marketing

When you sponsor an event, your brand gets posted all over the facilities, mentioned in speeches, and placed on event materials. If you want to have big time airtime while having a little fun, put your money towards event sponsorship.

Or why not consider sponsoring a local youth sports team? By doing this, you’ll get your brand on their jerseys, and can feel good about supporting children in your community.

Start an Affiliate Program – Online Marketing

Similar to marketing partnerships with other businesses, affiliate programs allow you to set up online allies. Through an affiliate program, another website owner agrees to feature your products and services on their site for a small fee, or you can promote another company’s products while you receive a fee for each sale or referral. These arrangements can boost online traffic, and help your site climb in search engine rankings

Ask Customers for Testimonials – Brand Building

Unfortunately, not every prospective customer will take your word for how great your business is. They might, however, listen to other customers. Create a section on your website for customer testimonials. Include actual statements from customers, such as emails. Direct your customers to your Google Business, Yelp, Trip Advisor, or LinkedIn review pages and ask them to add testimonials.

Host a Webinar – Brand Building

Webinars are a great way to show off your expertise in the field, and to engage potential customers concerning your services or products. It’s small business marketing that’s easy to do, tons of fun, and it’s a great way to build relationships while educating a large audience.

Become an Expert – Personal Brand Building

Answer questions in Yahoo Answers, Wiki Answers, Ask Answers, LinkedIn answer, and Mahalo Answers to build credibility in the online community. As your audience begins to notice your expertise and professionalism, they’ll be more likely to use your business.

“Thank you” Coupons – Customer Appreciation

When you send out customer thank you cards – whether it’s for appreciating their loyalty or just for filling out a survey – offer coupons. Giving 10% off a first purchase won’t dramatically affect your budget, but it will help create a loyal and appreciative customer base.

Create an Elevator Pitch – Brand Building

Find your individual selling proposition and run with it. Start using it in your marketing materials and sales pitches to show potential customers why your product stands out. Think of it as creating the most unique song among a tree of birds. How can you stand out from the flock?

Reach out to Your Audience – Direct Sales

Your audience won’t always come to you unsolicited; you need to reach out to them. Consider cold calling potential clients or consumers in your area. Or, go back to basics with door-to-door sales. These guerrilla marketing strategies demonstrate to people that you’re confident and excited to show off what your products and services can do!

Dress up Your Transportation – Brand Advertising

Magnets don’t have to be limited to your fridge door! Give your small business marketing mobility and let your brand travel with you with a well designed car wrap. Your car is a free (and moving!) billboard for your company’s brand. If you can’t afford a full vehicle wrap, car decals and door magnets can be an effective way to alert more people to your business.

Van wrap design London OntarioCar wrap design London OntarioCar wrap design London Ontario

Road and Lawn Signs – Brand Advertising

Signs help you grab pedestrian and driver attention. Whether on the roadside or on lawns, eye-catching and branded signs show potential customers that your business is popular. When you’ve completed a job, ask the customer if you can put up a sign on their front yard. It’s a way for satisfied customers to promote your business to new potential clients in the area.

With the information provided in this article, you can now market your business confidently and successfully while keeping a tight grip on your budget. But there’s still more to learn!

To truly show your colours in the wild world of business, contact the London, Ontario marketing and graphic design experts at ZOO Media Group to help you transform your small budget marketing ideas into increased brand awareness and big time growth for your business.