If you’re a small business owner or a freelancer, your marketing department probably consists of… well… just you. And that’s fine, as any fledgling organization needs to save cash wherever possible. But growing your brand and attracting new customers is still essential to growing your business, a few marketing ideas will come in handy.

You don’t need to bring in the Mad Men of Madison Avenue to attract new customers. In some cases, a little DIY marketing can go a long way. Still not convinced? These cheap marketing ideas might change your mind.

1. Publish Killer Content

Give your customers value by publishing content that answers their questions. Become a thought leader in your field by creating informative and insightful blog posts and videos that people turn to for the information they need. Once consumers know that they can come to you for reliable advice and facts, they are far more likely to trust you with their cash.

2. Leverage Social Media

You’re fortunate enough to be running a small business in the age of free social media. The world is your oyster when it comes to free marketing ideas! Create engaging, eye-catching and informative Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts to attract the kind of followers who will buy your products. Also, take part in discussions and groups on LinkedIn and Facebook to develop both a following and a reputation as a thought leader.

3. Reach Out to Other Thought Leaders in Your Industry

Reach out to bloggers and other publishers in your industry and suggest a reciprocal arrangement whereby you both post a positive piece about the other’s services. Imagine you’re selling sneakers online. In return for an athletics blogger publishing a great review of your e-commerce site, you could throw a few pairs of Nikes their way. Not literally, of course.

4. Share Your Wisdom with Other Business Leaders

Although you may not realize it, you’re probably a fountain of knowledge in your industry — and people may want to hear what you have to say. Volunteer for speaking engagements at local commerce organizations and industry body meetings. When people realize you know what you’re talking about, they’ll want to meet you. And that’s when you make contacts and meet potential customers.

5. Offer Referral Incentives

This is a great marketing idea. Small businesses benefit greatly from word of mouth. If you can turn your existing customers into your own army of marketers, you should see your sales soar in next to no time. As well as providing exceptional products and customer service, you can persuade customers to spread the word by offering them incentives for doing so. In many cases, a small discount on future purchases might do the trick.

6. Publish a Regular Newsletter

Choose a pertinent subject from your industry every month, and discuss it at length in an email newsletter. This reminds your existing customers that you’re still around and doing business. And if the content is good enough, customers will share it — and do your marketing for you. Provide readers with value, and your weekly or monthly newsletters should drive sales organically.

7. Compete for Industry Awards

Put your business forward for prestigious industry awards. Not only does this get you in local newspapers and industry websites, but it also gives your brand added authority. And don’t worry if you can’t find any local awards — there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from holding your own!

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