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Who doesn’t like free marketing? As a small business owner with a limited budget, it is crucial to managing your overheads. With that in mind, here are some of the best free (or inexpensive) small business marketing ideas.

1. Networking:  LinkedIn is the largest business social network, which makes it perfect for generating new connections.

2. Join the Hashtag Trend: When you’re updating your social media, take a look at the trending hashtags to see how you can use them to increase your reach.

3. Search Engine Marketing: Now that you have a powerful business website, you should make sure it is visible to people searching for what you’re selling. In order to speed up the indexing process, submit your URL to Google and Bing.

4. Online Directories: Link building is an excellent way to create inbound links, and online directories are the perfect place to list your site.

5. Brand Your Signature:  Add a logo and a link to your website in your email signature. It will not only make you look like a serious professional, but it will also increase your branding message.

6. Promotional Business Cards: Create a business card with a coupon code or specific discount that can be used on your website. Print them yourself or buy them from a discount printing service.

7. Follow-up = Fortune: After sales service is as important as that leading up to the sale. Treat clients with care and respect, and you will see them return, or at least send other potential clients your way.

8. Create a Newsletter:  Email marketing is powerful, and many platforms allow limited free accounts which you can use to send attractive newsletters and build a subscriber base.

9. Free Consultation: If you’d like to close more sales, it might be an idea to offer a free consultation, with no strings attached.

10. Create a Vlog: Another great way of establishing authority is to create a video blog. Record entertaining, informative videos that answer questions about your field of experience.

11. Create a Tip Sheet:  People love tips, so create a list of tips that you can share on your blog, or print out to distribute around town. Ensure that your business details are on there somewhere!

12. Tag Influencers: Draw people’s attention by tagging them in social media. Don’t over-do this, and make sure it is relevant to them.

13. Guest Blogging: While your own blog can establish authority, guest blogging can help you reach a wider audience, especially if you post to blogs with a sizable readership.

14. Contribute to Local Press: Write an article and send it to the editor of your local newspaper.

15. Share Your Expertise: Create a free short course and print up posters to put on bulletin boards.

16. Giveaways:  Increase your readership and spread your brand by creating a contest with your own service or product as a prize. Don’t ask for traditional entries, but rather get participants to share your content.

17. Donate Old Magazines:  If you have many old books and magazines you no longer use, consider donating them. But first, buy a stamp or stickers with your business contact details.

18. Buy a Soda: If you’re in a store or restaurant, pay for someone’s drink and leave a business card with them. Don’t hang around to pitch them – just walk away!

Like our ideas? We’d love to find out what works for you. Please let us know in comments.