7 Low Cost Marketing Strategies That Work For Small Businesses

Marketing for a small business can be tricky. Small business budgets are necessarily smaller than those commanded by bigger companies, but small businesses may be able to dedicate a small percentage of their budget overall to marketing efforts.

It becomes crucial that marketing efforts for small businesses be low cost or have a high return on investment – or, preferably, both. These ideas will help point small companies in the right direction for low cost, effective marketing.

Social Media

Social media has been key to the marketing game for several years now, and that engagement is unlikely to stop soon. More and more people connect on various social media platforms, and they connect to more people than ever before. By capitalizing on the connections available on social media, businesses can expand their audience while increasing engagement from the customers they have.

You don’t need to hire a social media expert to manage your various platforms for you, but do make sure you maintain a professional brand that is consistent across all platforms you decide to use.

Create Ambassadors

Customers love to be special, and customers that feel special are more likely to share information about your company. Australian Internet Advertising recommends a great way to make customers feel special, turn them into ambassadors for your brand.

Many businesses do this through free products or referral bonuses, often partnering with people who have a following on social media or who are strong repeat customers. Businesses can get overambitious with this technique, however. It’s unlikely that the Instagram account with millions of followers is interested in being ambassador for a business that’s just starting up – or that the business could handle the resulting traffic if they did. Aim at an appropriate level for your business, and recruit your customers to spread the word.


Volunteering in the local community is a great way to show a company’s involvement in the surrounding area. Customers like to spend their money at businesses that they feel are giving back to the community, which can help a business build a great brand. Volunteering can also offer excellent rewards to businesses in terms of expanding awareness of their overall presence to the community.

Even if you can’t afford to be a sponsor of an event or hang a banner, offer your staff as volunteers and see if they can wear some sort of branded gear, like a hat or t-shirt, that won’t overtly interfere with any clothing that might signal them as an event volunteer.

White Papers

Another great way to build a business reputation is by publishing white papers on topics of interest to customers or sharing customer stories with your audience. White papers are basically longform essays that educate an audience on a topic. These documents were previously considered very formal and government related, but marketing has repurposed the term to any persuasive document that both presents a problem and a solution.

Downloadable white papers or ebooks are great ways to get people signed up to a mailing list while also getting them interested in your product.


Businesses that are struggling to make a name for themselves might be able to cross promote with another business in the area to achieve sustainable mutual business success. For example, a local movie theater might offer a discount to customers who have dined at a nearby restaurant in the same day, or vice versa. This promotes both the businesses and encourages customers from one to visit the other while costing the involved companies very little.

Guest Posting

Posting on your own blog or social media page is great way to promote your content, especially if you’re good with SEO, but another way to drive traffic to your business’s page is through guest posting. Previously, guest posts needed to be placed on other highly trafficked blogs. More recently, however, several news sites have opened up “guest contributor” areas of the page where approved contributors can create posts and share links back to their own pages.

This can be a great way to build traffic and sharpen your writing skills at the same time.

Press Releases

Press releases often get a bad rap in the business community, with many business owners saying that their press releases never get picked up by the media. If your business has done something cool and you want to write a press release about it, make sure you’re following the appropriate format.

Press releases are written differently from blog posts, newsletters, or even specific newspaper articles. If you break the format, journalists are going to toss your release without even reading. Embrace the format!

Being small doesn’t mean a business doesn’t have marketing options, it just means it needs to be more careful with which options it chooses.