Marketing On The Cheap: 3 Low Cost Lead Generating Ideas

Managing the money behind a business is tough. Employees, equipment, and the overhead operational cost of your business has to be met every day before you can pay yourself. So while we know that adding more money to well planned marketing will help to improve your business, it’s hard to part with that extra bit of money when your business is strapped for cash. Marketing is vitally important for growth and sustained business activity. When work is slow, adding to your marketing budget can help get more work. When work is busy, continual marketing allows you to be more selective with your clients, allowing you to choose the best potential clients from your pool of leads.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to drop thousands of dollars on a monthly basis for a marketing campaign. If you find yourself on a tight budget, we’ve got three simple marketing and lead generating ideas to get your business going.

Referral Cards & Thank You Notes

Starting Budget: $200 for 10000 business cards + Time = As low as $0.02 cost per referral
Referral Cards for contractors
Make word-of-mouth work for you. First, ensure that your customer was completely satisfied as you normally would, whether it is through simple conversation or straightforwardly asking for a review.

Once you know you have a client in your corner, a one-two combination of thank you cards and referral business cards cards are a cost effective way to grow your business on the backs of positive reviews. While your thank you card should focus on your specific job and interaction, it is important to also educate your customer about other services you offer as well as ask for referrals for business. When you leave behind your descriptive thank you note, also be sure to include additional business cards that can be given to friends and neighbors.

Incentiving your customers to actively refer clients may help to generate more word-of-mouth. Common referral rewards programs offer incentives for both the referrer and the referree, like “You Get A $50 Gift Card – And Your Friend Gets $50 Off Their Bill When You Use This Referral Card!” Contests are also a popular option, wherein each referral gets you one chance to win a larger prize – “Refer A Friend And You Can Get A $300 Gift Card!”.

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Postcards

Starting Budget: $495 for 5000 Postcards + $0.175 per Mailbox = As low as $0.28 per impression*
*Using general EDDM-Retail pricing from as of 07/2014

EDDM is the modern day equivalent to highly targeted door-to-door canvassing. Instead of paying your employees to walk the neighborhoods or beating the pavement yourself, EDDM – or Every Door Direct Mail – is a low cost method to get into every mailbox of a specific neighborhood and mailing route. The USPS web site allows you to select specific areas within zip codes or rural routes at roughly 1/2 the price of a regular first class postcard. This allows you to hyperfocus your marketing efforts into areas with highly desirable clients that may particularly need your services.

Getting Friendly With Social Media

Starting Budget: Free to Start + $$$ Promoted Social Media Content = As low as FREE
Social Media for Contractors
If you find yourself with an abundance of time but little marketing money, focusing on social media is a great way to make your business more credible and actively engage your community. While building up a fan base is important to your social media marketing efforts, be sure to remember that social media isn’t just about the numbers. Having thousands of fans outside of the area your primary service does no good to your social media efforts – it actually make hurt your marketing efforts. With the current trend of lower numbers of users being served your content, you want to make sure that only relevant fans are in your pool of potential users. We’ve talked at great length about a variety of social media tactics that you can try. Of course, if you get too busy with work and find yourself without enough time to manage your social media presence, we have a team of folks who are ready to help.

Do you have any low or no-cost marketing tactics that you’ve found successful? Let us know in the comments, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!


Chris Lonergan is the President of Footbridge Media.

With a background in web design, print design, and online marketing, Chris is focused on providing quality marketing and business solutions in the construction and service industries - helping small business owners to more efficiently manage their company and grow their operations.

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