3 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for a Small Business

Digital Marketing
3 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for a Small Business
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: March 29, 2024

You can save several thousand on brand promotion. DIY inexpensive marketing ideas for a small business are excellent solutions for growth without putting a dent in your budget.

There are plenty of creative and affordable small business marketing ideas that will work for your company. These may have a slower and lower return on investment at the onset than expensive strategies. However, they can serve as a solid foundation for your future marketing initiatives’ success.

These inexpensive marketing ideas for a small business aim to communicate your brand value to the right people. Here are guide questions you can answer to determine which methods will be viable for your brand:

  1. What demographics comprise your target consumer base?
  2. Where are they located?
  3. Which online platforms do they frequent?
  4. How can they find your product or service offers conveniently?
  5. What factors can affect your target audience’s purchasing decisions?

3 Creative & Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for a Small Business

Starting and growing a small business takes time and effort. And realizing your company’s full potential requires financial investment and a potent workforce. Plus, there is the pressure of marketing your brand properly. You want to maximize your gains even with limited resources.

Digital marketing may be challenging. But it is within reach if you have goals, the right direction, an extensive understanding of your industry, and adequate knowledge of technology. You just have to identify the strategies that will work most favorably for you.

Below is a curated list of inexpensive marketing ideas for a small business:

  1. Word of Mouth
  2. Online Tools
  3. Events
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1. Word of Mouth

Your customers are some of your most valuable marketing vehicles.

It starts with delivering exceptional products or services to encourage repeat purchases. Providing a great customer experience and meeting buyer expectations will increase the likelihood of receiving positive reviews and recommendations through word of mouth. This helps ensure you reach a larger audience.

Take every opportunity to get people talking about your business. Here are ways to open doors for marketing your brand by word of mouth:

  1. Win prospective clients by emphasizing the benefits of transacting with your brand.
  2. Ask for referrals openly.
  3. Ask customers to share their experience and leave online reviews.
  4. Promote yourself and network in person or on the web.
  5. Use impactful sales presentations when speaking with people about your business.
  6. Practice cold calling without overselling.
  7. Advertise your brand and display a business card holder at home and on your car.

2. Online Tools

Grow your online presence and get the most out of free digital tools. Carry out these inexpensive marketing ideas for a small business:

  1. Build a professional website using a user-friendly web builder. A business web page with comprehensive information about your company is vital. This will increase your chances of coming up on searches. After all, over 50% of website traffic is rerouted from organic searches.
  2. Post worthwhile blog articles on your site regularly. This can help drive organic traffic and attract qualified leads. Additionally, it is a truly inexpensive way to establish reliability and credibility.
  3. Visit the web pages of other businesses in your industry and leave comments on relevant blog posts—without spamming. Choose those that your target customers will likely visit.
  4. Create a Facebook business page and update it consistently. Use a vanity user handle for your URL.
  5. Set up an Instagram business account with a shopping page. Choose a memorable username. Develop an appealing aesthetic.
  6. Tweet about your company. Engage your followers through retweets and mentions. Follow influencers and industry experts for learning.
  7. Use Pinterest to promote your website. Link your pins to your site and other social media pages.
  8. Build a LinkedIn profile to connect with other entrepreneurs and like-minded professionals.
  9. Make fun, informative TikTok videos.
  10. Build a genuine connection by acknowledging comments and responding to inquiries on social sites.
  11. Repost product photos from customers. User-generated content (UGC) showcases authenticity and appreciation for clients who make the time to talk about your brand through product photo uploads.
  12. Conduct social contests. For instance, you can solicit product photos from clients. Pick a weekly or monthly winner for the best photo and award a prize to the sender. Be sure to recognize all photo entries and post them as UGCs. Another example is to do a social draw or raffle.
  13. Give discount coupons, shipment vouchers, freebies, and incentives for website purchases.
  14. Start a free product trial program.
  15. Create a client appreciation or VIP rewards program for frequent buyers.
  16. Explore Tumblr, Reddit, Foursquare, and Quora to see if any of these lesser-known niche platforms may work for your marketing initiatives.
  17. Plan an editorial and social calendar for your online content.
  18. Optimize your digital content using SEO. Use strategic keywords on your blog entries, other web pages, and creative captions. 71% of marketing specialists agree that keyword optimization is the top optimization method.
  19. Create simple YouTube videos. They can be how-to guides for your products or services, interesting trivia about your business, and informative industry news. Embed these videos on your blog posts and link them to your social pages. This way, you can reach diverse user categories across various platforms. Video marketing can help you acquire 66% higher quality leads annually. It also raises brand awareness, helping you achieve up to a 54% increase in brand recognition.
  20. List your company on credible online directories.
  21. Set up Google Analytics. Review your site and social performance through insights and website reports.
  22. Invest in email marketing. While the strategy may be demanding in terms of time, a free monthly newsletter is a great first step. You can increase the frequency as you grow your subscribers. Ensure you get an email signature that reflects your branding and messaging—from the color palette and brand logo inclusion to essential company details. Find a balance between the visual aspect and information. Your email signature should leave a good impression without being overly done.
  23. Start an easy-to-use affiliate marketing program.
  24. Invest in SMS marketing. 75% of consumers prefer receiving offers via text messaging. It is efficient and has a high open rate. Moreover, SMS recipients can respond on the go wherever they are. They can take action on your offers more quickly.
  25. Leverage targeted WhatsApp broadcasts for multimedia messages not supported by regular SMS. Create catchy graphics to share with your contact list. Include links to specific web pages.
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3. Events

It would not take a lot of funds to join social events. Introducing your brand at business gatherings is another one of inexpensive marketing ideas for a small business.

Consider taking part in these get-togethers for entrepreneurs:

  1. Attend trade fairs and shows. In-person networking is just as important as an online presence. Monitor these special events for small businesses in your local area. Book a booth or table to exhibit your offers. It sets the perfect atmosphere for marketing and promotion.
  2. Host an event. You can also collaborate with another startup or an influencer to co-host the event. Spruce it up and run a contest. Ensure you run the appropriate event. Make it family-friendly to appeal to a bigger crowd. Whether done on your own or co-sponsored, this is an exciting way to get people intrigued by your brand.
  3. Register for a business owners’ conference.
  4. Organize a business workshop.
  5. Apply for reputable industry spotlight awards.
  6. Throw a virtual party. It is convenient and workable, allowing you to reach a large number of prospective clients. You can open it to the public or make it more targeted and exclusive. Choose an easy-to-navigate video conferencing platform. Or use Facebook’s and Instagram’s live streaming functionality. There are numerous themes or topics you can cover at your company’s virtual party. You can let your audience in on a studio or office tour. It can also be a social contest winner announcement with a live Q and A segment or product demonstration. Make the experience interactive to sustain your attendees' attention and rapport.
  7. Host webinars that are more formal than virtual social parties.
  8. Arrange a virtual private shopping event.
  9. Host an online flash sale event.
  10. Participate in charity events where you can introduce your business’s advocacies.
  11. Get your enterprise featured by the local press. Be proactive and contact your area’s media outlet for a press release. You can offer guests an interview to talk about your services or products and how they can add value to consumers. Position your offers as newsworthy and ensure you state this in your pitch.

Expert Insights on Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

We asked the agency experts: “What is the one inexpensive marketing idea you would suggest to any small business?”

Bryan Philips, Head of Marketing at In Motion Marketing:

"For small businesses seeking cost-effective marketing strategies, leveraging YouTube for educational content is invaluable. Watching videos and interviewing industry experts offer insights and techniques at no cost. This platform facilitates learning from successful figures in your field, enabling you to apply those strategies to your business."

Jeff Ferguson, CEO at Amplitude Digital

"As an ad agency owner and SMB myself (Run Out Groove Records!), I know classic marketing works. But the gamechanger? Nailing your local SEO. Think Yellow Pages, reinvented: claim your Google & Yelp listings and fix those hours! It's free traffic waiting to happen."

Nadia Kaminskaya, CEO & Founder of Branding Bosses

"Utilize social media platforms strategically. Create engaging content and interact with your audience. It's cost-effective and allows a direct connection with potential customers. Consistent presence and authenticity build trust, create long-term relationships, and increase brand visibility without breaking the bank."

Rick Shaffer, Principal and Creative Director at Shaffer Branding Co.

"An inexpensive marketing idea that Shaffer Branding Co. suggests to all small businesses is first to create a cohesive identity. Creating a solid identity shows that you are not a fly-by-night company and that you believe in your own brand. Examples of inexpensive cohesive branding include a logo, letterhead, Google listing, business cards, and a simple website."

Josh Wood, Founder of CJ Digital

"My biggest tip for any business looking for an inexpensive marketing technique is related to reviews and SEO. After someone has bought your service or product, automatically email them asking for a review. Incentivize them to leave one by offering them a discount on their next purchase. This is so powerful because the review adds keywords to the product/service page for SEO benefits, and it also adds reviews that will help with conversions due to social proofing. It's a double-edged sword when it comes to marketing, but it's important it's all automated."

Garrett Olano, Founder and CEO at Sugoi

"One inexpensive marketing idea for small businesses is utilizing social media advertising. With platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offering targeted options at affordable rates, businesses can reach their audience effectively. By creating compelling content, setting clear objectives, and monitoring performance, businesses can maximize the impact of their social media advertising campaigns without significant financial investment. This strategy allows small businesses to increase brand awareness, drive traffic, generate leads, and ultimately boost sales on a budget."

Daniel Francavilla, Partner & Director of Strategy at King Street Media

"Leverage your personal brand as a founder to market your small business. Start sharing your expertise and ideas through blog posts and videos on social media to build credibility and trust. Commit to networking, speak at events, and build partnerships that amplify your reach. Your reputation is everything."

In a Nutshell: Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for a Small Business

The aforementioned creative inexpensive marketing ideas for a small business are convenient and cost-effective.

Concentrate on one to three strategies at a time. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of your affordable marketing projects better. Finding the methods that work best for your brand will be more efficient. Invest adequate effort and attention in a particular marketing strategy instead of spreading yourself too thin. And keep your expectations realistic.

Professional digital marketing agencies are adept at implementing these strategies to any business, market or industry, as are specialized small business marketing companies.

We’ll find qualified digital marketing agencies for your project, for free.
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