Low-Cost Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses


Nicole Cruz

Feb 13, 2022


category folder



The primary assumption about marketing is that there’s always money to be spent. Whether through advertising, partnering with influencers, or getting the help of a marketing virtual assistant, any small business owner can quickly assume that spending is synonymous with effectively promoting one’s products or services.

This can be a dilemma for entrepreneurs who are just starting. When you don’t have the profit to create a large budget for marketing, it can mean losing the money you may never regain–especially if your paid promotion plans aren’t effective.

However, it is crucial to understand that not all marketing strategies will cost you a fortune–some budget marketing ideas will help your business grow, and some of them will even be for free. Are you looking to grow your business using affordable or free marketing strategies? Take a look at some of the great ideas below.

Low-Cost Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses: Strategies to Try

Keyword research for blogs using free tools

Are you running out of ideas for keywords for your blog posts? There are still many ways to market your business using free keyword research tools for blog post optimization. One of the strategies you can do is through search engine auto-suggestions.

How do you do this? You can simply type in a search term or a query in Google, Bing, or any search engines you use and look at the drop-down box that comes up as you type. You have to think like your customers when you consider search engine terms.

For example, typing in “Donut shop in El Monte” will reveal a drop-down box with other keyword suggestions such as “Donut shop in El Monte CA” or “custom donuts near me.” Adding such keyword terms to your blog posts will help boost your searchability for potential clients.

Although it won’t be as robust as a paid keyword research tool, you can still get some ideas on using keywords. When you have a better budget for promoting your business, you can use paid tools or find SEO services that fit your needs.

Think about the sales funnel

Sales funnel

The sales funnel is a well-known marketing concept that allows you to find high-spending customers with less effort. According to the sales funnel principle, there are different types of customer behavior per level, such as casually browsing, reviewing their options, or being ready to purchase.

To get the best results with the least effort, your marketing promotions should be focused on finding those ‘ready to buy’ customers through keyword search terms, targeted ads, social media posts, and other forms of tactics.

What does this mean? For example, if you are a course creator dedicating your time and effort to creating promotions, you should focus on customers who would likely use terms such as “best paid hands-on parenting course” rather than “free parenting course.”

Finding customers who are already in the buying mindset would help speed up acquiring profits through your marketing efforts.

Focusing on social media marketing

Many aspects of social media marketing can help your business grow at a low or no additional cost. Finding potential customers online is easier through social media when you capitalize on these features:

  1. Short-form video: Short-form videos are the rising trend in social media today. Almost anyone can create a viral 15-30 second video. People are easily consumed by people even if they are in a hurry or have idle moments browsing the social media platform. You can get ideas by browsing the “Reels” feature on Instagram or the videos you can find on TikTok.
  2. Stories: Social media stories typically appear on top of one’s feed as a 24-hour lasting update. This helps you stay on top of your audiences’ visibility, allowing you to have a free-cost marketing tactic to promote your offers constantly. Stories should be a mix of promotional, informational, or entertaining content to help in engaging social media users.
  3. Static posts: Although this main social media feature won’t get much visibility from outside your audience, static posts are still important when people view your profiles, especially if they are browsing or are already existing customers. Static posts should be high-quality, have good captions, and give people an idea of what your business is all about.

Efficiently scheduling and consistently posting these social media elements in your accounts is a free or low-budget marketing tactic that you can use to reach out to more clients.

Groups, discussion boards, or niche communities for local businesses

Group of people having a discussion

If you are a business owner that offers local-only products and services, you can significantly benefit from online or in-person communities specific to your current location. Here are some things you can do:

  1. Join local social media groups: There are various Facebook groups to find people within the same communities. These can include your city’s business promotion pages or a specific group of people that can significantly benefit from your products or services. It is essential to read through the promotion guidelines of each Facebook group. Some online communities prefer that you promote only on certain days or only on specific threads.
  2. Discussion boards: There are still many discussion boards to suggest your business for people needing help. For example, Reddit has its local threads called “subreddits,” where residents can post their concerns, and you can reply to give help or ideas by suggesting your business. Abiding by moderator rules can also be helpful to avoid problems with your account.
  3. Niche communities: There are some in-person communities where you can also promote your businesses without spending. Some may even pay you to share what you know. Being a speaker in an interest-specific webinar, seminar, or conference or offering a free mentorship session are some of the ways that you can reach more people in your local community.

Implementing business visibility strategies

Distributing business cards

Business visibility can both be done digitally or in person. The most effective strategy would be to extend your tactics on both ends, especially if your local community is someone who can benefit from your offers as well. Below are some strategies to try:

  1. Joining contests and promoting your business awards: Business awards give you the extra boost of credibility and trust among potential customers. You can place these business awards on your website landing pages, social media posts, or email marketing signatures to show how much your small business has accomplished. This will entice more clients to trust your business even without first-hand experience.
  2. Distributing business cards: There are many ways to promote your offers locally through business cards. You can reach out to non-competing local businesses and ask if you can leave a stack of cards. Local bulletins or community centers may also have these services so you can reach out to people. When allowed, you can also drop-in flyers, business cards, or other print promotions in people’s mailboxes or doorsteps in nearby neighborhoods.
  3. Directories: Some local print materials such as newspapers, directories, or magazines will offer your business to be listed for free. You can do so by contacting these publishing establishments. You can also use online search engine directories to list your business.

These are just some simple, low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses that you can use right away without breaking your budget. See which strategies apply to your company and take note of the results so you can refine your marketing plans.

Effective Marketing Solutions for Small Business

Small business marketing should be both practical and affordable. E-Marketing Associates offers a wide array of small business marketing solutions, including; SEO, web design, software for social media marketing, reputation management, business listings, and more. At E-Marketing Associates, we help businesses grow. Contact us today if you’re ready to take your business to a new level!

Ready to Grow Your Business?