7 Cheap and Effective Marketing Ideas

Updated on 13 June 2024

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cheap and effective marketing

Every business needs marketing, but not everyone has a large budget like a giant corporation. Whether you have 100 employees or you are running a one-man (or woman) show, small businesses can benefit from cheap and effective marketing ideas that actually work.

Keeping the ledger balanced is important, but marketing to generate business is as well. Yet, covering all the running costs is a bigger priority than advertisements. So what are business owners to do if they have a non-existent marketing budget?

We’ve compiled a list of cheap and effective marketing ideas to help your small business grow.

1. Social Media Marketing

This low-cost option is popular among most marketers. It can be a two-edged sword if it isn’t used effectively because it then becomes a waste of time. However, leveraging the power of social media can have good results.

You can create accounts for your business on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn and even X (Twitter). This has zero costs involved except for the data you use while downloading the apps, creating profiles, and posting.

Content does not have to be paid-for curated campaigns. Strategies can be optimised by using the best hashtags and driving traffic across platforms. These can be a mix of Specific, broad trending, and localised hashtags. A larger audience can also be reached by using trending audio, so stay up to date with the best way each platform puts you in touch with your audience.

Your platforms can be used to promote blog posts, drive sales or traffic with discount codes and engage with your audience to see what they want from your business. You can also tag loyal customers, influencers or partner brands in your posts to maximise reach.

2. Google Business Account

A Google Business Profile allows your business to show up on Google Maps. An optimised Business Profile helps you rank higher on Google Maps. To obtain this account, your business will be verified by Google. This will also improve the trust your customer has in your business.

3. E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing assists in growing customer relationships. It is an engaging way to personalise your customer interactions. Businesses can access a free account to send newsletters, promotions and important product updates.

You can increase your enterprise’s e-mail marketing by using creative subject lines with clear copy.

4. Apply for Business Awards

Depending on the industry in which you operate, you might find that this one doesn’t apply to you. However, generally, there are business awards for every industry and feature a variety of categories.

Business awards are sometimes localised to your town or city, so pay attention to any awards happening in your area. If you are not able to apply for an award category, for instance, it might be worthwhile to find out if you can be involved in any other way without spending too much money. You might even offer to act as a host or master of ceremonies.

Should you enter the award, being a nominee quickly raises awareness of your business. If you win, you not only get bragging rights for being a winner, but you oftentimes receive a badge that you can also add to your website.

5. Network, Network, Network

Networking happens at business events such as trade shows, industry conferences and other events. Rubbing shoulders at network events helps you sharpen your sales skills, promote your small business and improve your social media presence.

Building your network doesn’t just happen in person. You can build your network through LinkedIn too. Use the platform to build personal relationships (with a personal profile) and business relationships (with a business profile). Add connections and share content from your business page to your personal network. You can also use the brand page to nurture customer relationships, to interact in forums and groups, and establish yourself as a thought leader.

6. Partnerships

Partnerships mean doubling your audience reach and putting equal effort into cross-promoting the two businesses. Reach out to other businesses in your industry. Find out what they can offer you and explain to them what you can offer them.

Be careful not to partner with a direct competitor.

From there, you can consider how you will promote your partnership and fully leverage this. Clarify beforehand what the expectations are that you both have and how you are going to achieve it.

7. Contests or Competitions

Whether through social media or in-store, a contest or competition can be a cost-effective way to market your business. Running a giveaway on social media encourages resharing and engagement. In-store, it has the benefit of driving sales and encouraging shoppers to spend a minimum amount to enter.

The main expense with this strategy is to ensure you have a prize worth winning. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it has to be something that you know your customers will want.

Marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. These cheap and effective marketing ideas are ideal for any small business that wants to gain more awareness, build customer relationships and boost sales.

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