December 9, 2019 | By: Tony Mastri

15 Low-Cost Marketing Ideas for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, you may have limited resources when it comes to marketing. Small business marketing is all about getting creative – there are countless things you can do to stretch your dollar, especially with the Internet so readily available.

In this blog post, we’ve compiled our favorite small business promotion ideas for your convenience!

  1. Social Media
  2. Start Blogging
  3. Attend Industry Events
  4. Consider Rebranding
  5. Volunteer
  6. Start Email Marketing
  7. Connect with Reporters
  8. Apply for Awards
  9. Brand Your Vehicle
  10. Customer Referral Programs
  11. Customer Loyalty Programs
  12. Start Podcast
  13. Offer Free Class/Webinar
  14. Build Expertise
  15. Publish Whitepaper

15 Low Cost Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Whether you’re in search of B2C or B2B marketing strategies, these fifteen marketing strategy ideas for small business owners are sure to get you started!

Keep in mind that just because one of these strategies works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for your business. Devise a test campaign with clear marketing goals to see if these techniques can work for your company.

1. Take Advantage of Social Media

One of the best free marketing ideas for small business owners is utilizing social media. Not only is it vital to building on online presence for your business, but the possibilities are endless when it comes to social media platforms. You can host online contests, cross promote your content and videos, respond to customers, reach out to local influencers, and much more.

If you’re looking for creative ways to market your small business, a growing trend is to start a Facebook Group that brings value to others. For example, if you own a bakery, you could start a group called “Houston Bakers” where you can discuss the local industry and help each other troubleshoot common issues. As the leader and moderator of the group, you are establishing yourself as an expert and guide to the rest of the community.

Use our list of recommended free social media tools for small businesses to help you get started.

2. Start A Blog (Helps with SEO, Etc.)

Continuing our list of tips on online marketing ideas for small businesses, starting a blog is one of the most effective and inexpensive options.

Some of the benefits of blogging for marketing include interest generation and improved SEO. By improving your search engine optimization, you can attract more customers to your site and create more opportunities for customer conversions. A blog also brings value by teaching people or informing them of industry concepts, issues, or solutions.

Read our article on search engine optimization outsourcing for more tips on marketing your small business in a cost-efficient way.

3. Attend a Conference or Trade Show (Hand Out Business Cards, Network, Etc.)

marketing for small business owners

It can be difficult to think of low-cost B2B marketing ideas for small businesses – luckily, attending industry events is a goldmine for getting the word out about your company.

Connecting with other businesses in your industry is critical to developing new leads and contacts. You’ll also learn new strategies or attend seminars specially crafted to help you develop your business. Make sure you spend the entire event networking and handing out your business card.

4. Revamp Your Branding

Speaking of business cards, is your business’s branding up-to-date or has it been a while since you refreshed your company’s image? Some places communicate how dated they are with their clunky logos and outmoded color schemes.

One of the most overlooked marketing tips for small businesses is making sure you present the best first impression possible. People have short attention spans and plenty of options – make sure you grab and keep their interest!

Learn more about popular company color schemes that will appeal to your audience. If you’d like professional help, contact our Houston branding agency today!

5. Volunteer or Donate to Boost Your Brand Reputation

marketing strategy ideas for small business

Giving back to your community is an excellent way to create goodwill and boost your brand visibility. When you donate your products or offer your services under your business’s name, people will associate your brand as a helpful and positive presence. People will also see examples of what you offer or try your free samples.

There are several other different ways to market your small business at a charitable event – for example, you could donate a portion of your sales, give your employees a day off to volunteer and represent the company, sponsor an event or team, and much more.

6. Connect with Customers Using Email Marketing (Newsletter, Offers, Etc.)

Contrary to popular opinion, email marketing can be extremely effective. Not only is it an easy, low-cost way to disseminate information to your customers, but it is proven to be an excellent investment – for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you may expect an average return of $38.

An effective email marketing strategy can include monthly newsletters, exciting announcements, push promotional offers, and more!

7. Be Accessible to Reporters

internet marketing for business owners

One of the more unconventional marketing strategy ideas for a small business is to get on local media. Local news reporters are constantly looking for sources to quote – make sure you’re available by signing up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) for the opportunity to get free press.

If there is a current event in your industry, you could be called in as an expert (giving your business a boost in credibility and visibility). Types of digital marketing campaigns that integrate PR are usually more successful.

8. Submit Your Company for a Business Award

Look at local magazine ratings and reviews or search for business awards in your industry that you can apply to. Magazines will publish information about your business while organizations will often link to your website.

Winning an industry-relevant award is a great way to get your business’s name out and you often get a badge or certificate to display on your website or office. In fact, award acquisition is a popular part of many effective brand development strategies.

9. Brand Your Company Vehicle

If your business utilizes a vehicle, then it’s a no-brainer to outfit the car as a mobile billboard. If a full wrap is too expensive, use magnets and window decals. Wherever you drive, people are exposed to your business’s name and services, creating more opportunities for people to call or search for you.

10. Offer a Customer Referral Program

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful tools your small business can take advantage of. 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over other forms of marketing campaigns. Ask existing customers to bring in other customers by offering them incentives such as discounts, free products or services, and more.

11. Offer a Customer Loyalty System

Having a rewards program creates more reason for your patrons to return and spend more. Your loyalty system can be as simple as a punch card for a free product or a complex offering of discounts and promotions. You want to create something that keeps your customers coming back.

12. Start an Audio or Video Podcast

successful marketing campaigns for small businesses

A podcast can be a fun way to establish your business as an expert in your industry. These days, all you need is a microphone, possibly a camera, and a laptop to edit and put out your own series.

It seems daunting, but it doesn’t need to be a daily or even weekly product – once a month or once every two months is fine if the quality of the content is gripping! Check out our article for a list of popular Austin and Houston podcasts for business owners.

13. Host a Free Class, Event, or Webinar

Hosting an event is a great way to show off your business’s services and products. People love free events and samples, so take this opportunity to hand out promotional materials and business cards while informing them of upcoming offers.

If hosting a crowd of people is impossible without spending a lot of money, perhaps offering a free webinar to inform the public about an industry process or product would be more effective. There are several tools and platforms available that can help you broadcast online.

14. Establish Yourself as An Industry Expert Online

B2B marketing ideas for small business

This is one of the most inexpensive marketing ideas for small business owners on this list, but it requires a consistent time commitment.

Keep an eye on conversations on websites like Quora or niche websites related to your industry so you can chime in and give answers when called for. Participating in and contributing to forums in a useful way will boost your business’s visibility and perception of helpfulness.

15. Publish a White Paper

Another smart way to advertise your small business and establish expertise is to publish a white paper. You can post it on your website to generate more traffic and make it easily shareable so others can find it and read it. This is another large time commitment, but you can make it easier by repurposing old content you’ve already created such as blog posts or articles.

MARION Can Help with Your Small Business Marketing Needs

If you need more small business advertising ideas, contact our expert team of marketing strategists at MARION today! Our marketing agency has been serving Texas businesses for nearly 40 years. We’d love to help you come up with more cheap advertising ideas for your small business.


About Tony Mastri

Tony Mastri, Digital Marketing Manager at MARION, is an experienced agency and in-house digital marketer. With a proven background in content strategy, relationship-based link building, and technical SEO, he makes data-informed decisions that drive client growth.

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