For small business owners, marketing can be a tricky thing. In part because small businesses just don’t have the marketing budget large companies do. For another, it’s hit or miss on whether a small business owner is marketing savvy.

But a lack of knowledge should never stop you. Here are five easy things you can do to build name recognition for your business which will lead to growing your business down the road.

Be Honest and Accountable

This one can be easy.

For most small businesses, there’s a lot of competition out there. Odds are your business isn’t the only one of its kind in your city, in your neighborhood or even on your block. That means you have to stand out in another way and that’s where honest and accountable comes in.

When it comes to honest, be upfront with your customers. Offer them the best product for their problem and if you don’t carry it, offer to get it for them.

Being accountable goes hand-in-hand with honesty. Making a mistake is easy, owning up to that mistake is what’s hard. If you mess up, own up to it and fix it. Customers know when they are being lied to and trust me, they will remember it.

Reach Out to Your Customers

It’s one thing to connect with your customers at your place of business or on a job, but it’s another thing to reach out to them where they are. That’s the beauty of social media, take advantage of it.

Answer Facebook posts. Retweet compliments on Twitter. Like an Instagram photo posted by a client. These are simple, one-minute items that can go a long way to creating lasting relationships. What’s more, it shows clients and potential clients that you are listening to them.

Create Something Valuable

Your website or social media platforms can be more than just selling yourself, they can also offer value to your clients. Create a how-to (kind of like this one) or answer a common question that you get from clients.

While you’re not directly selling to a potential client at that point in time, you are letting them know that you’re a source of good information and great service in the future.

Find Your Customers Where They Are

I know this sounds stupid and vague, but it’s actually very useful. People Google everything or they use a forum to find an answer they cannot find on Google. Find a way to be the person delivering that answer.

Search Reddit, Quora or Yahoo! Answers for questions that you have an expert answer for. Then start typing. Craft an informative and well thought out answer. When you prove yourself to clients even before they hire you, making the eventual sale is easy.

Find a Cause

Think about what you believe in: your kid’s little league, the fight against cancer, your local senior center. Then think about how you can help. Sponsor a little league team. Serve root beer floats at the next Relay for Life. Host a Friday night dance for seniors.

Whether you spend a little or spend a lot, the point is you’re showing customers that you care about what they care about. You’re integrating yourself into the community and you’re letting them know you’re a person, not just a nameless, faceless company.

The best thing about these suggestions is most of them cost a grand total of zero dollars, but they are invaluable for your business.

One of the keys to creating a lasting relationship with your customers is to show them that your business is run by people who care about their wants, needs, and desires.

I have no doubt that you’ll succeed.

Written by Erika Towne