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Small business marketing ideas that won’t break your budget


The Florida Small Business Development Council (FSBDC) exists to provide assistance with marketing and business plans for small businesses. Here are a few marketing ideas to try that can be done for little to no cost:

Perfect your elevator pitch: You should always stand ready to talk about your business. Spend some time creating a brief elevator pitch, meaning a summary of your business in a short version, that not only details what you do, but also gives the listener a reason to want to learn more. Once you pique their interest, you’ve got about a minute to sell them. Practice your pitch until the words flow easily.

Request an online review or testimonial: In a survey conducted by Ask Your Target Market, an astounding 90 percent of respondents indicated they have checked online reviews about a business. This means it’s highly likely some of your prospects have already scoped you out before they appeared on your radar. Ask your best clients to rate your business or leave a review on Google or your social media pages. Incentivize them with a high profile prize drawing, or offer a coupon or other small reward to everyone who participates.

Ask for referrals: Referral marketing is possibly the single most cost-effective marketing tactic you can employ, costing you as little as zero dollars and a few minutes of your time. However, there are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to asking customers to share their contacts with you:

* Do only ask happy, satisfied customers for referrals.

* Do provide an incentive to both the referral and to the person referring if their lead converts.

* Do make it a regular habit to ask for referrals.

* Don’t continually badger the same clients for referrals. They may feel that’s all they mean to you.

Retain your current customers: Talk to your customers about other products and services you offer. The key is to provide value as many different ways as possible so you can remain their go-to choice whenever they need something you offer.

Marge Cirillo is the Florida Small Business Development Council consultant for St. Johns County. She can be reached at or (904) 209-1295.


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