Referral Programs

Businesses rise and fall every day. In Canada, over 80 percent of small business start-ups fail within their first year of operations. You might have a great product or service but that won’t matter if people do not know that you exist. This is where marketing comes into play and where businesses usually hesitate to spend money.

The important thing businesses need to realize today is that they do not need to spend a lot on marketing considering how many cheaper options with similar results are available. Sure, advertising on commercials and billboards is great but today, you can get even better results by trackable channels. That is the beauty of digital marketing. It’s time to explore the possible marketing strategies you could use independently or even combine to maximize response and interest.

The following are 7 great ways to market your small business with a limited budget;

1. Referral Programs

Referral Programs

Once you have a few happy customers that use buy your products or use your service, you can make them ambassadors of your business. Referral programs are smart and business today aren’t shy about asking their customers to spread the word. It simply starts with friends, family and colleagues and eventually spreads to more people every day. To make this program even more effective, add in some incentives with value for your customers like referral discounts, gifts and special offers. This gives them motive which sets up a target for them to achieve. For your business, it means more customers along with dedicated existing ones.

2. Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Content marketing has become very popular in the marketing industry and it seems like every one is doing it for low cost and high returns. The important thing to understand is that quality is more important than quantity so high quantities of average content won’t being about the goods you are looking for. If you are able to write your own content, then you’ll be saving money and promoting your business at the same time. Keep in mind that the content should not be just about your product or service but also about solving problems for your audiences, advising and suggesting things to make a better impression. Finally, it’s not about just creating quality content but also sharing it across different channels for maximum results.

3. Free Samples or Trials

Free Samples or Trials

Prospects are more likely to buy your product if they can experience it before paying for it. Free trials and sample improves the probability of people spending on your product or service. This not only builds initial trust but it also generates relevant feedback regarding your product. For example, there are many food conventions every year in different countries feature a variety of frozen and fresh food products. Setting up stalls or visiting trade shows in different locations is a great way to promote your business especially on a tight budget. Moreover, many paid apps and online services also offer free trial accounts for users to try out the service before upgrading their accounts to paid ones to offer convenience at a minimum cost and better chance of customer paying.

4. Coupons and Active Promotions

Coupons and Active Promotions

Coupons are great for businesses aiming to attract new customers. Research indicates that customers are willing to move on from existing products and services if another service offers them coupons and active promotions. Plus, coupons also generate customer return visits especially when you set up limited time offers or flash sales. For example, many restaurants like fast food franchises hand out coupon books with a year limit for customer to avail different deals and buy one, get one free offers.

5. Real-time Marketing

Real-time Marketing

Promoting your products using real-time events is one of the most effective ways to get customers drawing and channeling their emotions from notable and trending events like holidays, changes in weather, occasions and social media buzz. For instance, offering Halloween themed freebies to your audiences upon purchase is great in the whole month leading up to the main event. For small businesses, it is important to use cost effective channels like bulk texting and Halloween themed guerrilla campaigns.

6. Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross-Channel Marketing

Social media is the best medium to promote your small business. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great for mass audiences. Plus, if you can afford to spend some money on social media advertising, then it is even more effective than when doing it for free. To direct interested prospects, you can execute cross channel marketing to lead them to your website or engage in peer-to-peer communication with emails or texting.

7. SEO


If your business is on the top results of search engines like Google, then you have a better chance of customers buying your product or using your service. This is simply due to the shift in consumer trend as now most people do their shopping online by searching for products. SEO compliments your content marketing improving customer engagement. Sure, it is a bit difficult to understand but you can always get some help online or seek advice from a SEO consultant.