30 Budget-Friendly Marketing Tactics for First-Time Entrepreneurs

Marketing doesn't need to cost a fortune to be effective. Use thesed simple tactics to attract new customers and grow your business.

Marketing doesn’t need to cost a fortune to be effective. These simple tactics from Elaine Biech will come in handy when you’re ready to attract new customers and grow your business.

When you’re just starting out, your number-one priority should be marketing. You want to make a name for yourself, grow brand awareness, enhance your brand image, and build your reputation. But you have little money!

What can you do to find clients and persuade them to choose you? Don’t worry! There are lots of marketing tactics that are simple to execute (and they’re either free or very close to it).

“The first step is to change any preconceived ideas you have around marketing,” says Elaine Biech, author of The New Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond. “It doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. And it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive.”

“There are many ways to get visibility and impress prospects that cost very little,” she adds. “Some of these tactics are common sense. Others might be too unusual for you. It’s okay. Pick and choose the ones that feel right and let them spark your own ideas.”


30 marketing tips to help grow brand awareness and land new clients

Keep reading for 30 tips to help you land new clients (and get a leg up on the competition too!).

1. Attend professional conferences to grow your network. Take a bundle of business cards. Give everyone two cards: one to keep and one to give away.

2. Join local professional and industry organizations.

3. Plan to meet three new people in every networking situation.

4. Contact your college peers and ask for an introduction to an organization of interest.

5. Submit press releases to the media regarding your major client engagements, awards, published articles or books, or appointments.

6. Agree to be interviewed on a podcast. Share it with potential clients.

7. Write articles for professional journals and magazines. Contact editors to obtain an editorial calendar of topics for the year.

8. Ask your current clients for referrals.

9. Create a mailing list and an email list. They should include everyone you meet in the line of business every day.

10. Blog regularly at your company blog, personal blog, or both.

11. Invite potential clients to a mini-presentation to get an idea of your expertise and services. Sometimes called showcases, these are often held in local hotels where food and beverages are served to encourage a more social atmosphere.

12. Host a summer picnic. Buy T-shirts for your employees, colleagues, or even clients to wear at the picnic.

13. Create a list of success stories you have had with past clients, such as an effort that resulted in a savings of $3 million each year and shortened the time from concept to catalog by 11 months. Perhaps they could be used as case studies on your website.

14. Find a reason to call special clients (e.g., birthdays, anniversaries, personal and professional milestones, etc.).

15. Every time you meet a potential client, even a remotely potential client, follow up with a personal note.

16. Speak at civic and professional organizations’ meetings and conferences.

17. Collect testimonials and online reviews from customers, experts, or influencers and use them to spice up your marketing.

18. Use your email signature line to promote a new service or a book you’ve just published.

19. When you are not given a project, send a thank-you note saying you appreciated being considered. Compliment them on their choice—your competition.

20. Send articles that will interest your present and potential clients.

21. Send a card for atypical holidays: Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Groundhog Day, or Independence Day.

22. Tie a client message to a holiday—for example, “We’re thankful to have you as a client” (Thanksgiving Day), “We’re lucky to have you as a client” (St. Patrick’s Day).

23. Send a lumpy envelope for a holiday: a gourd for Thanksgiving, candy hearts for Valentine’s Day, a four-leaf clover for St. Patrick’s Day, a sparkler for Independence Day.

24. Send birthday cards for both people and companies.

25. Send “congratulations” cards for promotions.

26. Send personal, handwritten thank you notes.

27. Pass your extra work on to a trusted colleague. It will come back to you.

28. Help your client locate other consultants who can do work you are not qualified to do.

29. Enter your client projects in industry award competitions.

30. Use Google Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook Live, or YouTube Live to create and deliver free how-to-do-something videos.


“You’ll be surprised how quickly marketing your services becomes second nature,” concludes Biech. “Some of these tactics might not seem simple or even doable at first, but great consultants are able to seamlessly blend many of them into their daily work. Before long, you’ll feel like a seasoned marketing pro—and you’ll have the business to show for it!”


Elaine Biech is the author of The New Business of Consulting: The Basics and Beyond. As a consultant, trainer, and president of ebb associates for more than 35 years, she helps global organizations to work through large-scale change and leaders to maximize their effectiveness. She has published 85 books, including the Washington Post #1 bestseller The Art and Science of Training. She is the recipient of numerous professional awards and accolades, including ATD’s inaugural CPLP Fellow Honoree, ISA’s Broomfield Award, and Wisconsin’s Women Entrepreneur’s Mentor Award. Learn more at elainebiech.com.


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