Are you having a hard time getting the word out about your small business? Many small business owners do. About 543,000 businesses are started every month. That’s well over six and half million a year! But the sad news is that 30% of these new businesses don’t last two years. While there are a number of reasons small businesses don’t make it one of the chief culprits is bad – or lack of – marketing.
If you want your small business to succeed you need to find ways to make it stand out and be a strong brand. How can you do this? Here are seven tips that could help and they all cost either nothing or very little.

1. Give your product away

This might sound counterintuitive as in how could you build your business by giving your product away but it does work. For example, if you have a food product then go to all the farmer’s markets you can and give it away along with your card. If you have a great product and we assume you do, you’ll soon have bunches of new customers showing up at your store wanting more .

2. Attend networking events and make presentations

There are undoubtedly numerous networking events in your city. Attend all you can and, if possible, make presentations with information related to your business. Do you sell website design or are an expert in something like SEO? Design your presentations around tips for maximizing a website or on-page SEO and you’ll soon have people coming to you that need help and are willing to pay for it. The same thing goes for any small business. Just figure out what the people that buy your products need to know and then create a presentation around this.

3. Volunteer to be a leader

You probably already know this but social and civic organizations almost always have a hard time finding leaders. Serving as a leader in one of these organizations can require a lot of time and effort but the best way to get something out of one is not just attending but volunteering to serve in a leadership role. It would be really great if there were a group in your city devoted to entrepreneurship. If you were to take a leadership position you would be rubbing elbows with and connecting with some of the brightest minds in your area.

4. Create free podcasts

Some small business owners have found podcasts to be a great marketing tool. As an example of this one businessman we know regularly interviews other business owners, turns the interviews into podcasts and then offers them free on his website. These interviews help him form meaningful connections with people who might wind up proselytizing for him, plus he’s found this to be a great way to get educated in topics that interest him.

You don’t have to confine yourself to interviewing other business owners either. Think about doing podcasts as sort of audio emails and build them around information that would be useful to your target market. Keep them short and punchy as long podcasts can be difficult to get through. Be sure to invest in a good software program to record them and a high-quality microphone. Pick a quite room to do your recordings so they won’t be filled with extraneous noises that could turn off your listeners.

5. Send weekly emails

One of the best ways to stay in a relationship with your customers is to send them a weekly email that provides valuable information. Don’t use the emails to sell and be sure to keep them short. We’re all busy and have short attention spans and none of your customers will want to spend five minutes wading through a 1,000-word email even if it does provide amazing information. Again, think in terms of the information your customers would appreciate and might even pass on to others.

6. Sponsor a charitable organization

It’s likely that there are organizations in your area that would not be expensive to sponsor for a year. If you have a product or service that fits well with one of them you will get some great exposure every time it sends out a letter or email and whenever it meets. Both the people that work for the organization and those that attend its events will appreciate and remember you for sponsoring their favorite club or team.

7. Create your own event

If you can’t find events to attend where you could “meet and greet” fellow small business owners, create your own. One woman in Atlanta couldn’t find an organization that met her needs so she created a networking event called Atlanta Under 40 to connect with other young entrepreneurs. This idea proved to be so successful she is now franchising it in other cities.