If you want to compete in today’s business environment, you need one thing: traffic.

Your customers have to know you exist, believe that you have the right product or service for them, and take the initiative to visit your website or store and make the sale. But if you’re on a budget, getting this traffic can sound like a daunting task. Until now.

There are strategies for marketing your business on a budget, and you’ll  discover that some of the most effective marketing strategies are available to you at no cost whatsoever.

1. Sending informative press releases

Informative press releases that engage the reader are a great way to position your company as a trusted authority and leader in your market. Unlike a traditional corporate press release announcing what’s new with the company, write your press release with the intention of letting your readers know how your news greatly benefits them—not you.

For maximum exposure, submit your press release to a number of online distribution services (there are both free and paid services) and fax and e-mail your press release directly to the attention of reporters that have expressed interest in your topic.

Well-written press releases can provide your company with thousands of dollars of visibility…for little or no cost. Just think, with the right press release, you could find your company being mentioned by radio, newspaper or television…as well as getting prominent placement on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

2. Become a contributing author

Whether you’re writing an article for a magazine, newspaper, blog or website, the more information you share with readers, the more likely they will view your company favorably when making a purchase decision.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar famously says, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

They key when writing an effective article is not to sell yourself (or your company)—but rather to write with the interests of your reader at the forefront of your message. Once you understand the problem that your target market has, begin to present them with an actionable solution that will get them closer to their desired result. The more you help them, the more likely they’ll want to do business with you.

3. Doing joint-venture marketing

Joint-venture marketing, also known as strategic alliances, is an agreement or partnership made with another company for a share in the revenue that you bring one another or in exchange for a mutual benefit that will help grow one another’s businesses.

Joint-venture marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies on the planet, and it is frequently used by companies such as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Apple and countless others. Yet many small business owners fail to realize that this opportunity equally exists for them. Heck, even Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer used joint ventures when he was asked to repaint a white picket fence. He got a group of other boys to paint the fence for a share in the profits while Tom pulled up some shade under a tree!

Locate the companies that your ideal customers are doing business with and approach them with an offer to form a joint venture, perhaps requesting that they endorse, recommend and refer their clients to your company in return for a share in the upside revenue. With joint venture marketing, the only time you have to pay someone else money is after the sale is made and the cash is in your bank.

Using these three marketing tools, you can successfully grow your traffic on a budget.

Source: OPEN Cardmember Charles Gaudet is a provocative marketing expert for entrepreneurs and small business owners wanting to out-think, out-market and out-earn their competition. He can be found at PredictableProfits.com.