7 Budget-Friendly Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

Budget-Friendly Ideas for Marketing Your Small Business
7 Budget-Friendly Marketing Ideas for Your Small Business

Most small businesses work with a tight marketing budget. That makes promoting their products or services more challenging.

But as the saying goes: “You need to spend money to make money.” All companies need to get the word out on their brands. To do that, paying for advertising is necessary. A lot of startups can’t afford professional marketing services.

Fortunately, small enterprises now have the ability to promote themselves successfully even on a budget. This article presents marketing ideas that require little time and effort. What’s even better is they come at very little to no cost.

Read these small business marketing ideas to power your company to the next level.

1. Get the most out of email

Email marketing might seem dated in this social media age. But with an average return of $36 for every $1 spent, email marketing continues to be one of the most effective forms available today.

Marketing via email offers a handful of benefits:

  • Gets new visitors engaged with your business
  • Maintains relationships with your existing customers
  • Allows you to create personalized and targeted ad content
  • Increases brand retention
  • Ups the traffic going to your e-commerce site
  • Boosts sales
  • Establishes authority
  • Builds stronger customer relationships

This marketing strategy remains one of the most reliable ways to achieve a strong return on your marketing investment.

Some tips to make email marketing work for your business:

  • Put some thought into your subject lines. Create offers encouraging readers to take the next step and move further into your email marketing sales funnel.
  • Track your performance by running A/B tests to see what copy and which offers resonate with your list.
  • Boost your newsletter sign-ups by offering bonus content or a coupon or discount to new website visitors.
  • Make sure your subscribers are nurtured via email until they are ready to become paying customers.
Get the most out of email
Image by RODNAE Productions on pexels.com

2. Give guerilla marketing a try

You might be a small business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your marketing endeavors.

Give guerilla marketing a try!

As the name implies, it’s a marketing strategy that captures your audience’s attention in an unconventional or surprising way, with the goal of leaving a lasting impression.

With this marketing strategy, creativity is more important than budget. There’s a lot of room for innovation here, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it work.

Furthermore, the strategies involved in guerilla marketing are often easy to implement, especially when localized. Want some examples?

  • Broadcast your Instagram handle with sidewalk chalk.
  • Plaster custom stickers on urban décor so passersby can’t help but look twice.
  • Use an unexpected canvas for street art (e.g., an abandoned storefront).

A successful guerilla marketing campaign leaves buyers amazed, impressed, and wanting to learn more about the product or service.

3. Form brand and industry partnerships

Some businesses just complement each other.

The kebab shop that’s right next to the nightclub. GoPro and Redbull.

Brand partnerships are mutually beneficial. They are a great marketing tactic, allowing small business owners access to marketing know-how and technology they could not have achieved independently. Furthermore, it will enable the two companies to access each other’s audience while offering customers added value.

As you enter this partnership, clarify expectations and assess how you can work together. Take the time to have several conversations before making things official.

Industry partnerships are rather difficult to find, but they can be incredibly valuable once you get one. So team up with a related business in your industry to work together on a joint project that benefits both sides.

Form brand and industry partnerships
Image by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

4. Transform employees into brand advocates

Your own employees’ voice is another valuable marketing tool. You develop brand advocates by encouraging your team members to share their experiences with your business. This will allow your company to showcase its culture and values.

By revealing the “human” side of your business, you’re not just selling your brand to customers. You’re showing top talent out there why your company is an awesome place to work in.

Another tactic you can try is word of mouth.

Your employees already have a genuine interest in your business. So when you treat them well, they can become your brand ambassadors with very little encouragement.

Research shows that people are more likely to buy from a business if it was recommended by a friend or family member.

So why not leverage your staff members’ voices and social networks to reach out to a larger audience?

Think about hosting an exclusive “friends and family” promotion, especially for your employees. On Facebook, you create an event, invite people working in your offices, and ask them to share it with their personal and professional contacts.

Encourage them to post the status on their social media pages and tag people to increase the reach of your promotions.

5. Apply for brand and business awards

These days, every major industry has a variety of award-giving bodies that give recognition to deserving brands. Some of these annual awards will allow you to nominate your business.

And if you win, your brand will enjoy an instant boost in credibility. One of the perks of winning is getting a covered online badge that you can put on your company website, blog, or e-commerce store. This will get your business more attention and, as a result, get more sales.

It will also allow you to create plenty of noteworthy content to share online. Not applicable to your industry? Host your own business awards night! You can generate attention from industry peers, get more connections, and have more possible future collaborations.

6. Host informative webinars

Reaching out to a potential audience in person is not always doable. And living amidst a global pandemic comes with additional restrictions too. This isn’t to scare small business owners but rather an encouragement to get creative with whatever resources are available.

Hosting a webinar is a great idea to reach a broader audience with minimal effort and nearly zero cost. Providing helpful information to customers via these platforms can be an effective way to promote your brand to customers who could be potentially interested in your products or services.

Webex and GoToMeeting are just two platforms that let you broadcast webinars with ease. But whatever platform you choose, don’t forget to promote your web event on social media or through an email newsletter at least a week before it takes place.

7. Encourage customers to leave reviews

As a small business, you want to build trust as much as you want customers to buy your products. That said, you should actively encourage your customers to leave reviews.

Doing so lets your budding enterprise build the “social proof” that’s key to encouraging potential customers to take the plunge and purchase something from your brand.

It’s also important to not perceive bad reviews as a problem. Rather, it’s an opportunity to showcase who you are in your response.


Small businesses often have no choice but to work with a limited marketing budget. The good news is, there are plenty of ways for you to market yourself to your customers without spending any (or much) money.

Whether you prefer the in-person or digital approach, our list has a strategy (or even two of them) that should work well for your brand and products.

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