How To Think Outside The Box When Marketing Your Small Business


As a small business, chances are you don’t have access to a substantial marketing budget. But just because your budget is small, doesn’t mean you can’t gain the exposure your business needs to grow.

When you have access to any marketing budget, it’s easy to invest it into the mainstream channels including pay-per-click and paid social. Many small business owners invest in these paid channels because they feel paying for traffic is the most foolproof way to generate awareness and website visitors.

But, is there a better way to invest your marketing budget?

The short answer is yes.

There are three main things that the majority of small businesses lack: time, resources and technical know-how. So in order to address these restrictions, you need to invest your budget wisely and you need to use your time effectively.

According to Small Business, four in ten small companies don’t make it to the five-year mark.

Let’s make sure you’re not one of the four!

Encourage the user to share your content

Sounds obvious, right? I’ve witnessed e-commerce stores operate like this and it works really well.

As an example, let’s say you have a free guide on offer. When the user gets to the thank you page, encourage them to share your eBook offer to unlock another piece of content. You need to offer something more enticing say a free hour consultation or an extended demo trial.

This is a great way to encourage content sharing amongst your audience. This strategy costs you nothing but your offer. It’s a great way to get your content in front of a wider audience.

Partner up with an influencer

Approaching influencers with a fantastic content idea or an ‘ask me anything’ social campaign concept can be the start of a mutually beneficial strategy. Both parties gain brand exposure.
Try approaching influencers that complement your products or services. If you pick influencers just based on their sheer number of followers, you won’t necessarily see the results you want.

The size of their social following is almost irrelevant. As long as their audience is engaged in the content the influencer shares.

Only work alongside influencers that are relevant to your audience and offer valuable insight for your audience. It was reported in the 2016 Demand Gen Report that 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. So this strategy is perfect for enhancing your digital presence.

Make use of free and cost-effective tools

There are so many tools on the market that will help support your small business. You just need to locate the best ones for your needs.

Some marketing tools you should check out include:

  • – A drag and drop content design tool. After all, your audience won’t engage with an eBook if it’s lacking in quality design.
  • – A free project management tool. This helps you track how long certain tasks are taking, helping you plan your time for future campaigns.
  • – Social Media Management platform. Schedule and monitor up to three social accounts for free! Keep on top of mentions and keep your profiles constantly active.
  • – Haven’t got a spare pair of eyes for proofreading your content? No worries, Grammarly’s got your back. Spotting grammar errors including punctuation, misspelt words and more.
  • – Boost your content to an audience waiting to share it with their networks. Perfect exposure for any new or small business with a small budget.
  • Hellobar.comCapture leads on your site with Hello Bar’s sleek and simple forms. Drive traffic to a specific landing page or build your email subscriber list effortlessly!

Survey your current customers

Instead of wasting your budget on paid campaigns mass-marketing to everyone, why not find out what your audience is looking for?

Surveying your current customers is free of charge, just setup a basic Survey Monkey questionnaire and find out what questions your customers came to your site with. This task is surprisingly insightful. It gives you the inside track to your customer’s purchasing journey.

Once you know what triggered their purchase with you, you can build highly-relevant campaigns. Now you know how to target them and the content they enjoy consuming, you’re onto a winning strategy.

All for free – even better!

Keep learning

What better way to think outside the box than to carry on learning new skills? Learning more about how to market your business using best and new practices can give you the edge over your competition.

There are many free and reliable resources online including:

Digital Garage by Google
Think with Google
Alison – Free online courses
Moz blog
HubSpot certifications

Get everyone involved in a creative meeting

If you’re using the same marketing tactics you used last year, you’ll probably get the same results.

Going back to what you know, is easy. It’s having the courage to take a different perspective that will help your small business grow.

Get everyone in your company involved in a creative brainstorm meeting. Encourage everyone to put at least one idea forward to discuss. Just because someone works in the accounts department, for example, doesn’t mean they don’t have a fresh marketing idea.

If your team members are a little shy, introduce an incentive to get the ball rolling. Any idea, no matter how stupid it seems, is welcome.

Stale marketing will just continue to drain both your resources and budget, with little to no return.


It can be easy to follow the crowd when it comes to spending your marketing budget. But as a small business where money is tight, it’s important you do invest it wisely.

Take a step back and evaluate if what you’re currently doing is returning the results you want. And if it isn’t, it’s time to take a fresh approach to your marketing.

Be bold and experiment, it’ll pay off – promise!

Author Bio

Helen is a content marketer at HelenJ Marketing. She helps both new and small businesses create content that engages the right audience. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.