If you’re a small business owner you know how difficult it can be to market and promote your business. Not only does it take time to create the marketing materials, copy and graphics but it also takes some know-how about where to promote your business.

If you have someone in house who can manage your marketing needs that’s great. Trouble is most small businesses don’t have someone in house and have to manage the marketing and promotional tasks on top of all the other business responsibilities. It’s easy for them to get pushed to the back burner so don’t let that happen. Here are some surefire ways to promote you small business on a budget and without taking up too much of your time.

1. If you don’t have a website, get one

Some marketing tasks can wait but building an easy to navigate, informative website isn’t one of those tasks. All of your marketing efforts will be dependent on a website so don’t even think about doing any of the others on this list until the website is built.

2. Install a blog on your website

If you already have a website but no blog you’re throwing away an opportunity to connect with potential clients and you’re missing out on an easy way to increase SEO and gain traffic to your website. Once you’ve installed the blog be sure to update it regularly. I recommend at least twice a week but even once a week is better than nothing. Click here if you’re in need of ideas for blog content.

3. Business Cards

A business card is a great way to promote your business for pennies. Vistaprint and other online printing sites offers inexpensive business cards and other printed promotional products. Use this link to get $10 off your first purchase. Leave them at the coffee shop, pin them to the bulletin board at the grocery store and hand them out to all your friends. Make sure you include your name, number, email address and web address on the card. Need help creating a logo or design? Contact us and we’ll help get you started.

4. Join a professional group

Marketing on the internet is easy and you can do it in your slippers but there is still no better way to network than face to face contact. Join a group like the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, Toast Masters or the Kiwanis to meet people who might need your product or services or who might refer you to those who do.

5. Send out a good press release

New outlets are always looking for good stories. Send out a press release with information about upcoming events. Make them unique and newsworthy by finding an interesting angle to promote. Include a good quote and a picture and be sure to include information about your website. Don’t forget to include contact information in the event a reporter has some questions for you.

6. Teach a class

Consider teaching a community education class in your neighborhood. You can teach them about the products or services you offer or teach a class on how to start and manage a small business.

7. Use eBay and Craig’s List

If you sell a product like books, hardware or anything physical consider using eBay and Craig’s List to reach more customers. eBay charges a small fee and you will need a Paypal account but Craig’s List is free.

8. Send out flyers to everyone who could use your product

Create a simple flyer offering a discount on your product and mail it to everyone on your mailing list. If you don’t have a mailing list start collecting address at the store and on your website.

9. Make cold calls

Everyone hates doing them but they are a great way to drum up business.

10. Use your car as a billboard

Use your car to market your business. Include name, product or service, phone number and website so people can get more information.