Answer by Greg Longmuir:
It really depends on the business, retail product vs service. Is it online or offline? We are all used to the tools provided to gain new customers but even Facebook costs money to get those people to like, then, you have to keep them interested. Just because you get 1,000 likes doesn’t mean they are going to follow or produce an ROI for life. One thing that does get branding and customers inexpensively is Guerrilla marketing! Cheap and inexpensive and only costs time. I have hung flyers in 100s of supermarkets (each one has a poster board and works) Diners, Gas stations and any other place that accepts advertising for free. Flyers on cars in parking lots, spoken to superintendents of apartment bldgs to distribute my flyer and paid a small % for the lead should they purchase. After some time you will get eyes on your brand and will be recognized when you add a little funding to advertising. Getting customers you already have to recommend is huge, offer something for forwarding your email to friends and family. If you are a service business just adjust the targets and get written endorsements from clients and use them in your portfolio. Back all this up with a blog or page with expert or great information to establish credibility. Just a few with virtually no money. As marketers we must always remember it does not always take a big budget but just hard work and effort.