As a small business owner, you are joining the ranks of millions of entrepreneurs who are in search of cost-effective marketing strategies that can offer big returns. Although small business owners may not yet have the luxury of a big marketing budget, their small-scale operation is their advantage. Start small with your marketing plans but think big when it comes to how you want your business to grow! We’ve listed out four of the most cost-effective marketing tips to help your business thrive in today’s golden age of marketing. Establish an Online Presence You don’t need a high-calibre marketing department, nor do you have to be a marketing expert, but what you do need is an online presence. Underestimating the importance of a digital infrastructure such as a website can be costly. Small businesses in the UK reportedly miss out on £20,000 per year in growth revenue by not having an online presence. Now that we’ve entered the ‘Industry 4.0’ era, user dependence on digital technology has only grown, and kickstarting your online presence should become increasingly imperative. An online presence introduces your company, its products or services, and its people to a breadth of customers globally. Limited funding and insufficient time can’t serve as excuses for you to avoid establishing an online presence. Free websites such as Wix, WordPress, and Facebook Pages are cost-cutting options when purchasing a website is not yet an option. The price of purchasing a domain may be daunting and creating a website will indefinitely require you to invest your time and energy; however, the pay-off in the long run will be well worth it. Build Relationships via Digital Marketing Tools Forging relationships is the lifeline of a small business, and digital marketing may well be the most efficient and cost-effective resource available to you. For this marketing tip, we advise that you first establish an online presence before focusing your marketing strategy on digital marketing channels. Digital marketing encompasses channels such as social media and e-mail marketing, where both tools are ideal to generate revenue and support relations-building initiatives. However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to which digital marketing channel is best for your company; the upside is that you can test it out since Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and MailChimp are all free. What you should avoid is creating a presence on all digital marketing platforms without properly investing in it with regards to content. The more important objective is for you to explore your options, assess the progress, and focus on the digital marketing channels that are most effective in marketing and customer engagement. Incorporate Traditional Marketing Channels While online marketing is an increasingly important tool to incorporate in your business module, small business owners should not entirely desert traditional marketing. The reason that traditional marketing has not died out entirely is because businesses still need it. No matter the marketing activity, traditional marketing channels including flyers and posters play an important role. For small businesses, distributing flyers and placing posters at a neighbourhood grocery store can be highly beneficial in reaching out to targeted audiences. Visiting exhibitions and trade shows and using exhibition stands specifically made for these events is also a great way to get your name out there. The problem with traditional marketing channels tends to be difficulties in measuring return on investment. As such, you should consider tear-out coupons in your next poster design or coupon codes in your flyers, as they’re bound to give you an improved system of measuring your return on investment. Partner Up! Business partnerships are great tools to implement simply because you are joining forces with a fellow small business owner who’s likely seeking to grow. To get started with your next business partnership, business owners are required to tap into their networking skills and put on their entrepreneur cap. We offer three business partnership strategies that you can consider for your next business move: cross-promotion, co-hosting event(s), and product bundling. Each strategy requires you to analyse and answer questions to narrow your decision such as the ones listed below: Who are my target customers? What do my customers need? What products/services would complement my own? Your business partnership should strive to become a win-win solution for both companies, and the simple solution to this is to be smart about your decision. Here are a couple of scenarios that forge a mutually beneficial business partnership: A small business selling organic beauty products can partner with the neighbourhood drug store that sells over-the-counter makeup brands A fruit seller can partner with a business that sells packaged healthy meals such as salads and sliced fruits If you’re a photographer, you can partner with a baker in your surrounding neighbourhood. You can even offer free photography for the baker in return for flyer displays at their store. When done correctly, you can elevate your brand’s local presence and expand your product distribution channel, which are significant marketing boons!