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Andrew Frost, content marketing manager at Daisy Group, shares his top 10 inexpensive marketing ideas.

Marketing can often play a pivotal role in determining the success of any business. But during prolonged periods of financial struggle, it’s often one of the first departments within a business that suffers any cutbacks. However, tight budgets don’t necessarily have to mean no marketing.

Far from it in fact. While your finances may be incomparable to the riches possessed by the industry heavyweights, through intelligent marketing, your business’ profile can continue to grow.

The following 10 ideas are all relatively simple to introduce, but more importantly they will cost you very little, if anything at all, to implement…

1)  Create your own website

Worryingly, in an online driven business environment, there are still a vast number of SMEs that don’t possess their own company website. Not only will an online presence increase your audience, but it can also help develop trust in your business and boost sales. For a very small fee, websites such as Weebly provide the platform to create your own site, eliminating any cost issues.

2)   Start a blog

Creating a blog on your website is a simple way of communicating with your audience. Writing relevant and informative content on your site is a great way to appear knowledgeable about the industry you’re competing in, which in turn will increase a customer’s trust in your company. Regular contributions will also create an impression of a friendly and open business.

shutterstock_1748386733)   Use social media

Social media sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are extremely powerful tools that can connect your business to large audiences, and the best thing about them is that they’re free! More than half of the UK use social media in some form, so the opportunity to attract followers that are interested in your business, regardless of their location, is a tool worth utilising. The mediums can also be used to promote traffic to your own personal website.

4)   Use testimonials/reviews

It’s all well and good saying that your business will deliver something, but what your customer really wants to see is proof. Providing that your business does exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a pool of customers willing to leave positive reviews. Encouraging them to do so via a testimonials page within your website will help create a positive reputation for your business.

5)   Promotional gifts

Everybody loves a free gift. Whether it’s a pen, a pad or whatever item you could possibly think of, offering a potential customer something for zilch will increase the chances of them remembering your business.

6)   Networking

Businesses – whatever size – should never stop networking. Attending trade events, delivering workshops or entering online forums all present exciting opportunities to meet fresh people that can help form new relationships. But don’t just limit yourself to meeting potential customers. Conversing with fellow businesses could also lead to opportunities that may hold long term benefits.

7)  Connect with the local media

shutterstock_174760673Journalists are always on the lookout for stories, so if you’ve got some news to share, why not send it to them in the form of a press release? Relatively simple to produce, press releases have the power to boost your profile for the cost of absolutely nothing. To increase the chances of the media using your news, build relationships with them by introducing them to your business and then regularly maintaining contact.

8)   Reward existing customers

While the main principal of marketing is to obviously attract new customers, retaining your existing ones is equally of paramount importance. Caring for your customers through the use of loyalty rewards will not only encourage them to come back, but it will also increase the chances of them recommending your business to others.

9)   Create surveys

Surveys are crucial in discovering what your customers really think about your business. SurveyMonkey allows you to create low cost questionnaires that help to generate feedback in order for you to ultimately improve your overall service.

10)   Directories

And last but certainly not least, the traditional directory. Admittedly, customers may have moved away from picking up a copy of the Yellow Pages, but online directories still exist and they’re still very useful. Listing your business on any industry related directory will help boost the profile of your business.

About Andrew Frost

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