To grow a successful business, you need to invest in a large amount of time, money, and effort.
Large corporations are willing to spend millions of dollars on marketing campaigns. What if you’re a new startup and you’ve got limited budget, labor, and resources?
Here are 38 low-budget marketing ideas that you can start using now to boost your business’ growth.
1. Publish valuable blog posts
Most of the time, people go online to search for advice and answers. You don’t have to be a skilled writer and a polymath to publish blog posts. You simply need to provide helpful content that brings great value to your target customers.
Post regularly and consistently to attract and engage your audience. Give them top product reviews, best practices to achieve something, tips, hacks, answers to their queries.
Creating a blog is a cost-effective way to build your authority. It may take time in order for your content to be relevant and helpful.
2. Create instructional and educational videos
Creating instructional and educational videos related to your industry helps you showcase your expertise and makes you an authority figure. If your videos are engaging and informative enough, your customers will trust you and decide to purchase something from you.
3. Curate high-quality content on relevant subreddit
Reddit is a diverse place for niche communities. You can curate and share high-quality content on relevant subreddit to build brand awareness and attract audience who actually care about your topic.
Besides crafting your own content on Reddit, you can respond to questions. If your answers and solutions are helpful, people will start to notice and build trust with your brand.
Social media is a great place to build your brand presence and connect with your potential customers.
Some people can come across a post of yours and decide to follow you. Some existing followers may decide to buy something from you if they see your products on their Facebook newsfeed. Customers may reach out to you via social media to provide feedback or look for support.
Make good use of social media to craft appealing content, announce company news, promote blog posts, and connect with your followers. If you’ve already had a certain number of audiences, you can even make polls and ask for feedback to do market research.
5. Create well-designed and informative infographics
Infographics are one of the quickest ways to grab human’s attention, especially if they are well-designed and informative. Make sure that you craft accurate and helpful infographics instead of ill-made and inaccurate ones.
6. Email marketing
Yes, email marketing is not dead. You can offer free ebooks, templates, guides, downloadables in exchange for your audience’s emails. Use an email service such as MailChimp to manage and track your subscribers once the number grows.
7. Look for discounts and promo codes for paid ads
Every penny is worth saving for a small business. Looking for discounts and promo codes can reduce the costs of paid ads tremendously.
8. Repurpose old content
You can pull old information available on the Internet, then create infographics, write your own comments and predictions, etc. If you repurpose old content from other sources, don’t forget to cite the sources and give credits.
You can also repurpose your own content, such as:
Change blog posts into videos. Turn videos into infographics. Perform infographics into podcasts. Turn chains of blog posts into a free eBook.
9. Develop a customer loyalty program
A customer loyalty program with attractive benefits is a way to retain existing customers. You can offer free months of services, exclusive promotions, complementary products, etc. Buyers may even tell their friends about you, and you can get some high-quality word-of-mouth traffic.
10. Establish partnerships with relevant businesses
Establishing partnerships with relevant businesses is one way to attract each other’s audience.
It’s great if you can cooperate with businesses in your industry. The successful partnership between Uber and Spotify is a great example.
11. Sponsor local contests and events
You can start small to attract the first customers. It doesn’t always have to be international and huge events. You can sponsor small local contests and events, or donate your product/service as a prize.
12. Organize online contests/give-aways
You can host contests and giveaways on your social media pages. The rewards don’t have to be super expensive. Inexpensive, yet appealing ones are enough to attract a certain number of audiences.
13. Apply for business awards
Websites that display award badges have higher credibility in customers’ eyes. That’s why you should apply for business awards and display them on your website, too.
14. Do voluntary work for charity and non-profit organizations
Doing voluntary work for these organizations shows that your business instills a sense of meaning and purpose in society and employees. This is also a good way to emphasize your brand’s positive presence and impression.
15. Design and give awesome business cards
Handing out business cards to anyone you meet is a good way to expand your presence without breaking the bank. A well-designed and awesome business card are more likely to attract customers’ attention.
16. Ask for referrals
Many business owners feel that asking for referrals is awkward and pushy, but this can be one of effective marketing ideas to attain customers.
Don’t hesitate to ask people to refer your products through different channels. Some people will do if you offer them small incentives such as gifts, vouchers, coupon codes, gift cards, etc.
The sharing and referral process should be as intuitive as possible. People may give up if the process has too many steps and technical errors.
17. Guerilla Marketing
Guerilla Marketing is a cost-effective and creative way of promoting your products/services and attracting potential customers.
Some businesses add creative touches to their surroundings. They customize their door handles, paint their logo on company walls and staircases, or stick company stickers in the company bathroom.
18. Influencer Marketing
According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when making purchases.
A large number of brands reach out to influencers in exchange for product reviews and recommendations. They send free products/services, money, gift boxes to influencers.
Small businesses may not be able to afford big influencers with a huge number of followers. You can reach out to micro influencers, as long as they’re relevant to your target customers. You can use BuzzSumo to find authors and creators with real authority in your industry.
19. Organize an event or class
If you have a certain expertise in the industry, you can organize free events or classes. People love to learn and they love free stuff. You can hand out flyers or promote the events on your social media pages.
20. Give free balloons to local events
This is a cheap way to attract people’s attention. Kids love those colorful balloons, and their parents may feel the same, but too embarrassed to admit.
If you put your company logo and branding on the balloons, chances are some people may be interested.
21. Cold calls and emails
Cold calls and emails still contribute to the growth of businesses these days. Doing market research and reaching out to the right audience are better than calling and emailing everyone.
This method requires persistence and an effective script which you can prepare beforehand.
22. Apply monthly themes to your content
You can spice up your marketing plan by applying monthly themes to your content. This means you can create content based on certain holidays and special occasions such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
23. Work with affiliates and resellers
By working with affiliates and resellers, your products/services can be known by more potential customers. There will be commissions and fees that you need to consider when setting your pricing.
24. Build a community
When building your business, you don’t just acquire new customers. You have to keep the existing ones, too.
If you create a community for your customers, they’re your advocates. They’re more likely to be loyal and engaged in your company’s news, products and services.
25. Write for guest blogs and industry publications
Writing for other blogs and publications relevant to your niche can attract the existing audience from those sites. This is also a good way to demonstrate your expertise and increase your brand’s authority.
26. Make use of user-generated content
Content from users is a valuable source that shows your customers are actually engaging with your brand.
You can host social media contests, ask your customers to take photos using your products/services, add hashtags, and even share on their feed.
27. Make videos about your business
Buyers these days care about your brand values and stories. Behind-the-scenes, how-it’s-made, team culture, and company activities videos are exciting resources for anyone wanting to know more about your business.
Using hashtags on social media is a fast and easy way to share your posts with the world.
29. Make podcasts
Besides creating blog posts and videos, making podcasts is also a way to showcase your expertise and build brand awareness. You can invite relevant business owners, influencers, and experts to join.
30. Create a free Google My Business account
A Google My Business account will show up on Google results, thus spreading your brand presence to your target audience. You can also boost your brand credibility.
31. Local SEO
Before going international, you can go local by focusing on keywords related to your location such as “Minnesota coffee shop”. You can even write a blog post listing the best coffee shops in Minnesota. And don’t forget to get listed in online directories so that local customers can find you.
32. Personalize customers’ shopping experience
To retain existing customers, you have to go beyond selling them the products.
Personalized experiences such as giving handwritten thank-you cards, being responsive and open-minded to messages and feedback, or mentioning customers’ names on your new content are great ways to make them feel you care about them on a personal level.
33. Attend industry events
Industry-related trade shows and conferences are where you can easily meet like-minded people and establish B2B contacts. Besides building new relationships, there are talks, presentations, and workshops so that you can enhance your knowledge and skills.
Apps such as Meetup can be useful if you want to look for networking events in your area.
34. Add branding and marketing messages to employees’ signature
This is a simple, yet cost-effective way to expand your brand presence and spread your messages.
35. Refine your pitch
Pitching is an art that every business needs to master to make sales. As human attention span has become shorter, make your pitches brief and clearly expressed.
Researching your target customers will help you understand their pain points and offer them suitable solutions.
Try to show your confidence and clearly communicate the benefits and value of your products/services.
36. Use stories, Instagram and Pinterest
These are the platforms allowing you to post quick images and videos. Besides product images and videos, you can post behind-the-scenes, funny memes, customers’ testimonials, etc. Don’t forget to add hashtags and locations so that your content can reach more people.
37. Create a brochure
A brochure is an effective way to showcase your products and services. It’s super handy when you try to pitch your customers. Plus, your customers have something to look at and make considerations after your pitch.
38. Join business organizations and local business group
You can search these online based on where you are, ask your friends and acquaintances, or contact your local Chamber of Commerce.
Besides applying new methods to your marketing strategy, your marketing plan should always be reviewed and revised. Do you need to make any changes? Are there any methods that don’t work for your business? Are there any people that you need to reach out?
There are no absolute and magical marketing solutions for all businesses. Every business is different. Be creative and do constant testing to see what works.