The dream of every entrepreneur is that as soon as the business is setup, their inventory gets sold out online within hours or to get customer walks-in more than that can be handled! Unfortunately, getting customers for a new business is a difficult task. It is tougher if you do not have access to funding, especially when you are bootstrapping your business. This is the time to get creative and figure out cheap and innovative ways to market your business.

Here are 25 marketing hacks to increase sales and build your brand for your new business

Get branded merchandise – Put your business logo on merchandise  like key chains, T-shirts, caps, pens and give it away to everyone. Give it to customers who walk-in at your store, giveaways on social media contests and at events, etc. This will spread your brand name and logo creating brand recall.

Create viral content – Thanks to the viral nature of online content, your message can reach out to millions across the world, all you need is creativity! Create viral hashtags, align yourself with causes you believe in or simply create fun and humorous video or visual content for your social media that is in tune with your business image.

Give free samples – If you are a product based business, then the best way is to give away samples to prospective customers as well as media influencers. Several Instagram influencers speak about your product if they like it! If you are a service based business, then give coupons for customers to experience your service. You can give these for contests and at consumer events.

Get into blogging – You should start an industry or niche specific blog. It need not be always about your products but about issues/products/tips related to your product. You can be the industry thought leader and customers can start looking for your advice. You can even guest blog on other popular blogs. Just make sure your blog design is attractive and keeps the customers hooked on to the page.

Engage on review sites – Every product category has review websites today. Make sure you keep a tab of where your product is mentioned especially on sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Glassdoor, Homeadvisor, and Tripadvisor. Take bad reviews seriously and engage with all kinds of customers, this will build your reputation as a company which listens to its customers.

Maintain an updated website – A website is your best spokesperson, you can flatter yourself and brag about your product here! Most buyers visit the official website to get the best info about products. Create a user-friendly website design and load it with information. If possible integrate your blog on the website itself, so it helps with SEO.

Leverage email marketing – Customers love getting exclusive deals and discounts from brands. In fact, that is the only kind of information they require from brands. Make sure you give out frequent discounts and deals through emails. You can also announce new product launches, openings or events through emails. Get an attractive email design template from a crowdsourcing website like Designhill for maximum impact.

Flyers are still in – Flyers and handouts have been in use since the dawn of printing! They still are one of the best marketing methods. Experts at Designhill say that unique design and good content are crucial for successful flyer campaigns. You can print many and spread them through door to door, placed at local shops or even distributed at events.

Be present in the press – For all the good reasons of course! Even if you can’t hire a PR, keep sending out press releases about new and happening things at your company. Press loves a good humanitarian story or a story about the odds! More specific niche and business media will like to cover your story too.

Become a Facebook Pro – Facebook is still the biggest platform you can get to build your brand. The various features it allows to interact with customers is amazing. Make sure your branding is consistent and invest in social media page design like Facebook Covers and Logo design. You can even use Facebook ads to target your customers in a specific and low investment way.

Sponsor community events – If you are a local business you need to be visible in your efforts to make a positive change in the community. You can sponsor local events like walkathons, children’s plays or sports events. You can get involved at various levels depending on budgets – giving free merchandise, sponsoring gifts, giving your time, etc.

Outdoor publicity – You might not have enough to spend on billboard hoardings, but you can certainly make your own car or vehicle your advertising space! Get an attractive vehicle wrap printed with your brand and paint the town red with it!

Personalize customer service – Your new business needs to treasure its first customers because they are your word of mouth channel. Give them personalized thank you notes or send them gift coupons for their next purchase. Remember to wish them on special occasions regularly so that you remain on the top of their mind.

Conduct workshops – Several customers are wary of workshops as they try only to sell their products. You can create a refreshing change by organizing a small workshop where you give authentic knowledge or guidance about your particular industry. Don’t oversell and you may find customers knocking your door for more!

Send business gifts – If you are a B2B business like a stationery supplier, for instance, you can send business gifts like business books, planners, diaries, etc. to the persons in charge of decision making. Big companies frown on this practice so make sure the company you are sending this to has no such rules in place.

Use your office space – If you have an office space or store space, you can let it out to use for charities or no profits sometime during the day. You will have a lot of footfalls this way as well as good PR.

Human billboards – You can hire part time workers to carry your business signs, or you can even create a mascot for your business which the person can wear and move around in your locality. Add a fun and creative element to the design!

Create a referral program – A referral program works the best for customers spreading the good word. For instance, your existing customer can get 20% off your next service if they bring in 2 new customers. The more lucrative, the more customers it brings in. It’s better customer acquisition cost than advertisements in the newspaper.

Create contests – You can create both online and offline contests depending on your business. You can create contests like ‘Drop the answer in the store box’ or ‘Pick a gift when you drop your answer.’ This way you can combine contests as well as footfalls.

Participate in festivals and events – Be it small towns or large cities, they have their own versions of community events and festivals. Be present in these festivals and set your own stall. You can even give away freebies or your merchandise to visitors to the stall. Make sure to have your business cards handy.

Create a video content channel – Customers love watching brand stories on Instagram or youtube provided they are funny. For example, if you own a dog grooming shop, regular video updates of your dogs can be fun and generate a lot of interest.

Don’t forget cold calling – If you are in a B2B business, you have to take up cold calling. It is not possible to reach out to new customers regularly without cold calling. Make sure you have a crisp elevator pitch ready for the phone call.

Be present on directories & product listing sites – Product listing sites like Craigslist and local directories are an important part of reaching out to new customers. Even if it is a paid ad try to get a lucrative spot on the directory.

Partner with local businesses – Other local businesses are your support system. Make sure you get into mutually beneficial partnerships with other businesses. If you own a bookstore, you can partner with a coffee shop and provide them a few books free while they keep your brochures or discount coupons on their tables.

Give annual gifts – You can create unique branded merchandise like yearly calendars or special subscriptions to your service or product. Create something that your customers will look forward to have, something of a collectible.

These 25 marketing hacks are bound to bring you more customers and create a successful brand for yourself!