7 (Almost) Free Marketing Ideas for Your Business

Modified: July 21, 2022 | Story by Katie Susko

Getting customers to your business right now is more important than ever. That being said, we understand that money is tight for many small businesses. We’ve gathered seven (almost) free ways to market your business during COVID-19, or any time of the year.

Unique Marketing Ideas for Your Business

1. Register with Google as a local business

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many businesses are still not registered with Google. Registering with the search engine giant will get your business listed in applicable search results. Most people with smartphones use Google regularly, so you’ll want to be listed. It’s easy to do on their website.

2. Send exclusive deals to your CVB

Most CVBs have deals sections on their websites that are very popular with their users, as most travelers are looking to save money while they are on vacation. Offer an exclusive deal to these users and you will have travelers from all over coming to your business.

On the DMCVB deals page, deals with discounts off of a total bill are very popular. Check with your CVB to see what types of deals get the most clicks to make sure you are catering to the audience.

3. Boost website views by starting a blog

Adding a blog to your website is an easy way to move up the rankings on search engines through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO means you write about the topics that web users are searching for so that you show up at the top of the search results. If you use certain keywords in your blog (i.e. best burger in Detroit), search engines will discover the page and serve it up to searchers. Think about terms you would search if you were looking for a certain type of business, then write blogs about your business that contain those terms. Starting a blog on your website gives you more chances to use different terms and keywords, therefore showing up in more search results.

4. Run a photo contest on social media

Ask your followers to post a photo of your business, product or service for a chance to win a prize. Not only will you get your followers engaged, but all of their followers and friends will see these photos of your business and will be curious to learn more about it.

For example, if you run a grocery store, you could ask your followers to post a picture of the best meal they made with your seasonal produce and tag your store in the photo. The user with the best photo could win a $50 gift card to your store. You’ll be shocked at how many of your followers will show off your business to win a prize!

5. Create a loyalty or passport program

Whether its through an app, punch card or a simple piece of paper, starting a loyalty program will keep your business at top of mind for your customers. Customers like to work towards discounts or free things, so offering one of these deals after a few purchases will motivate your customers to use your business.

If you’re a business with a lot of different product offerings, a passport program may work great for your customer base. For example, an ice cream shop could offer a passport program where the customer would get a stamp for every flavor that they tried on the menu. Once they have filled the passport, they would receive a free t-shirt or free ice cream sundae. Participants in this type of program will be the biggest supporters of your business as they work to fill the entire passport, and will likely bring friends on board with them.

6. Invest time in no more than two social media platforms

It’s challenging to keep multiple social media platforms updated – and sometimes it seems like such a daunting task that you end up not updating them at all. Right now, Facebook and Instagram are seeing the most engagement with followers, so stick to those two. Post multiple times a week to stay top of mind for your followers, even if it’s just a simple photo of the front of your business saying you are open from 9-5 today.

And especially during COVID-19, be sure to keep your hours of operation up to date on these platforms (with a date saying when they were last updated). Many younger customers will check your social media to make sure you’re open before checking your website or calling ahead.

7. Create a Facebook group for your loyal customers

Facebook Groups are extremely popular nowadays; and believe us – there’s a group for everything. So why not make a group for your most loyal customers? You can alert them to exclusive sales, ask for their opinions on business changes and merchandise, or just tell them how grateful you are to have them as customers.

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