Marketing doesn’t have to cost you anything.
You’ve surely been told to run ads for your business, invest in a marketing agency, or create a marketing budget for tactics that might not even work.
As a new or small business, investing too heavily in marketing can be risky. There’s no guarantee your marketing efforts will pay off, and finding the budget to run these marketing tasks in the first place isn’t always easy.
However, marketing is critical. Without it, you won’t be able to attract customers.
So, how do you market your business without spending unnecessary money?
Here’s the good news – digital marketing offers loads of free opportunities!
As long as you’re smart about how you promote your business, there are plenty of tactics that don’t require any upfront investment and can help you generate some amazing results.
Here are some of the best free and very low-cost marketing ideas your business can use.
- Email Marketing
- Google Business Profile
- Social Media
- Brand Partnerships
- Publish Valuable Content
- Create Videos
- Start a Podcast
- Repurpose Your Content
- Run a Referral Campaign
- Host Events and Webinars
- Offer a Course
- Attend Industry Events
- Run a Giveaway
- Offer a Discount
- Loyalty Cards
- Use All Your Real Estate
- Connect With Your Local Community
1. Email Marketing
If you’re looking for cheap and free marketing ideas, email is one of the best options.
Email marketing is known to deliver a 4200% ROI. It doesn’t have to cost you anything to send out an email, yet it allows you to get your business directly into your customers’ and prospects’ inboxes.
The email marketing possibilities are enormous.
There are all kinds of different ways you can use email marketing to grow your business. This could include a regular newsletter to boost customer retention, abandoned cart emails to recover “lost” revenue, email automation to move prospects down your sales funnel, and more.
Follow our full guide to setting up an email marketing strategy for more actionable tips you can use.
2. Google Business Profile
As a local business, your Google Business Profile is one of your most valuable marketing assets. This profile is Google’s local business directory. When set up correctly, it can help you generate a lot more awareness around your business.
Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a thing.
97% of users search online to find a local business. If a user searches for a local business on Google, the first results to appear will be Google Business profiles. If your business profile is up at the top, then you’ll most likely turn that searcher into a customer. Your profile will also display on Google Maps, so there’s even more possibility for generating awareness around your brand.
How do you make sure you stand the best chance of success with your Google Business Profile?
Make your profile as detailed as possible, offer as much relevant information as you can, and, most importantly, encourage reviews.
Reviews are often the first thing potential customers look at. Plus, many positive reviews will help your business profile be displayed more frequently.
So, encourage reviews whenever possible. This is free and can make a major difference in how many new customers your business attracts.
3. Social Media
When looking for free marketing ideas for your business, social media marketing is one of the most obvious things that you can do.
Every business should have a social media marketing strategy in place. Creating social media profiles and making social media posts doesn’t cost you anything. If you make your content engaging enough, it can help you attract a large audience all organically and for free.
Let’s just cover the first thing you’re probably thinking about – ads.
Yes, running social media ads is one of the best ways to target your audience and grow your business. Without ads, many brands struggle to generate a following on social media.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to invest in ads to get good results. The main thing is choosing the right platform and creating great content.
For example, TikTok’s algorithm gives you far better chances of going viral than a traditional Facebook post. So do Instagram Reels.
Find out what type of content your audience is interested in, and create this consistently. Find social media groups your audience is a part of and post in these groups.
Use social media to engage with your existing customers. Whatever strategy you take, the more active you are on social media, the more you can use it to grow your business. Organic growth may take time and effort, but it’s totally possible to build a big audience on social media without spending a cent.
SEO is, without a doubt, one of the most valuable marketing tactics out there.
68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, and search engines are still the most common tactic for finding new businesses. If your website ranks at the top of the right search results pages, you can generate loads of valuable traffic, which can turn into customers.
As long as you know a few SEO basics, this is completely free to do.
How do you start applying SEO to your website?
- Optimize each page for the right target keyword (and understand search intent)
- Implement a link-building strategy
- Publish plenty of high-quality content on your blog
- Make sure your website offers a great user experience (mobile friendly and loads fast)
These are the basics of SEO, although there are many more SEO tactics you can use to ensure you win the search results.
SEO can take time and effort, but it’s absolutely the most valuable form of organic digital marketing when you get it right.
And yes, you can invest in expensive SEO tools and services, but you can also do it totally for free. All you really need to get started is a website, free keyword tools, Google Analytics (free), and Google Search Console (free).
5. Brand Partnerships
Partnering with other brands is an excellent way to grow your business and reach new customers without spending anything directly.
The trick here is to partner with a brand that complements your business and doesn’t compete with you. For example, a restaurant could partner with a spa. In this partnership, you can offer some kind of special promotion, giveaway, or package deal.
When you do this, both businesses will promote the partnership. This means you get access to the other business’s audience, and they get access to your s. It’s a win-win and lets you instantly gain a lot more potential customers.
You could even partner purely on marketing content, such as publishing a guide, video, or study that each business adds input. This doesn’t cost a thing and can help you access a far wider audience.
As mentioned above, this only works if both businesses share the same target audience.
6. Publish Valuable Content
Whether it’s part of your social media strategy or on your blog, content marketing is an essential digital marketing tactic. It’s free to do as long as you can create the content yourself.
SEO-friendly blog posts are some of the best forms of content – as mentioned above. When publishing these, make sure that they add value to your audience.
This means the content should be interesting, engaging, educational, or inspiring. Make it original content, pack it full of research, and share it across all of your promotional channels.
One great piece of content can help you generate a lot of buzz, interest, and engagement in your business.
Here’s an example of the kind of content we publish at Wishpond to help our audience.
7. Create Videos
Video is the most engaging form of online content. It’s also become a lot easier for anyone to create amazing video content.
As long as you have a smartphone, you can publish videos that help you grow your brand and attract customers. This could include videos across various platforms, like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and more.
Not sure where to get started? Here are some of the best YouTube video ideas that small businesses can use.
8. Start a Podcast
Podcasts are one of the best ways to make standout content on a budget. There’s massive potential to grow your podcast, and you don’t actually need to make any serious investments to get a quality podcast going.
Starting a podcast is a great affordable marketing tactic because it can help you reach a wider audience and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.
By starting a podcast, you can share your expertise, offer valuable insights, and connect with potential customers more personally. Plus, podcasts have a loyal following, with listeners often subscribing and regularly tuning in to hear new episodes.
Podcasts can seriously help you build your brand and increase your online presence. Promoting your podcast on social media platforms can attract new listeners and drive traffic to your website.
And because podcasts are relatively easy to produce, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment or resources to get started. You really just need a microphone. In fact, you can even record podcasts via virtual meetings – such as a conversation on Zoom.
9. Repurpose Your Content
If you’ve already created content, then repurposing this existing content to match other mediums and marketing channels is an awesome way to grow your business.
Repurposing your existing content for different mediums lets you get more mileage out of the content you’ve already created. Instead of constantly coming up with new ideas, repurposing can help you reach a new audience and reinforce your message in different ways.
For example, you can turn a popular blog post into a video, slideshow presentation, or podcast episode into a blog post or infographic. You can adapt your content to different formats and platforms, such as social media, email newsletters, and webinars, by repurposing your content.
Repurposing content will also save you time and money since you don’t have to start from scratch every time you create a new piece of content. Instead, you can repurpose what you already have and give it a fresh spin or angle.
Repurposing can also help you improve your SEO by targeting different keywords and search terms across multiple channels. This can help your content get discovered by new audiences and improve your overall online visibility.
10. Run a Referral Campaign
Running a referral campaign is an amazing affordable marketing tactic that helps you leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Referral campaigns encourage your existing customers to recommend your business to their friends and family, which can lead to new customers and increased sales.
With a referral campaign, you can offer incentives, such as discounts, free products, or exclusive access to events, to customers who refer new customers to your business. This rewards your loyal customers and incentivizes them to spread the word about your business.
Referral campaigns can also help you build trust with potential customers. When someone hears about your business from a friend or family member, they are more likely to trust and try your products or services. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.
Running referral campaigns is a cost-effective way to acquire new customers since you only pay for the incentives when someone makes a purchase. Plus, since referrals come from people who already know and trust your business, the conversion rate is typically higher than other marketing channels.
11. Host Events and Webinars
Hosting events and webinars allow you to connect with potential customers more personally while showcasing your expertise. Live events and webinars provide a platform for you to engage with your audience and create a sense of community around your brand.
With events and webinars, you can share valuable insights, offer product demonstrations, and answer questions in real time. This can help you establish yourself as an authority in your industry and build trust with potential customers.
Events and webinars can also help you expand your reach beyond your existing customer base. Promoting your event or webinar on social media and other marketing channels can attract new attendees and increase your online visibility.
You don’t need any expensive equipment or resources to host a webinar. Simply set up a Zoom conference, and you’re good to go.
Hosting events and webinars can also help you build relationships with other businesses in your industry. By partnering with other businesses or inviting guest speakers to your event, you can expand your network and create opportunities for collaboration.
12. Offer a Course
Offering a course online lets you demonstrate your expertise and provide value to potential customers. You can attract new leads and build trust with your audience by offering a free course or workshop.
Online courses are also a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. You can demonstrate your expertise and build a strong reputation by sharing your knowledge and insights with others.
Online courses can be a cost-effective way to generate leads and drive sales. By offering a free course or workshop, you can capture the contact information of potential customers and nurture them through your sales funnel.
In addition, online courses can help you create a sense of community around your brand. By providing a platform for students to connect with each other and with you, you can foster a sense of loyalty and engagement that can translate into long-term customer relationships.
13. Attend Industry Events
Want to network with other professionals in your industry and build relationships that can lead to new business opportunities? Then attending industry events is a great idea.
Industry events provide a platform for you to meet potential clients, partners, and collaborators in person. This can help you establish a stronger connection than you might be able to achieve through online interactions alone.
Attending industry events can also help you stay up-to-date with your field’s latest trends and developments. By attending keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops, you can gain valuable insights and knowledge to help you improve your business.
Of course, industry events are also a great opportunity to showcase your expertise and build your brand. By volunteering to speak or present at an event, you can share your insights and knowledge with a wider audience and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
14. Run a Giveaway
Running a giveaway is a fun and affordable marketing tactic that can help you increase engagement and reach a wider audience. Giveaways are a great way to incentivize your audience to engage with your brand and spread the word to their own networks.
By offering a relevant and valuable prize to your target audience, you can encourage them to follow your social media accounts, share your posts, or sign up for your email list. This can help you increase your reach and generate new leads.
Giveaways can also help you build excitement and buzz around your brand. Promoting your giveaway through social media and other channels can create a sense of urgency and encourage people to participate.
All you need to do is provide a prize (your products or service) and promote the giveaway on social media. This isn’t a direct expense and can help you generate a lot of buzz around your brand.
15. Offer a Discount
Offering a discount is a simple yet effective marketing tactic to help you attract new customers and retain existing ones. By offering a discount on your products or services, you can entice people to make a purchase and try out your offerings.
Discounts can be offered in various forms, such as a percentage off the total purchase price or a fixed amount off a specific product or service. They can also target specific audiences, such as first-time or loyal customers.
One of the benefits of offering a discount is that it can create a sense of urgency and encourage people to take action. By setting a limited time frame for the discount, you can create a sense of scarcity and motivate people to make a purchase before the offer expires.
Offering a discount can also help you build relationships with your customers and show them that you value their business. By offering exclusive discounts to your email subscribers or social media followers, you can show them that you appreciate their support and encourage them to engage with your brand.
16. Loyalty Cards
Loyalty cards are a simple yet effective marketing tactic that can help you retain customers and increase sales. By offering a loyalty program that rewards customers for their repeat business, you can create a sense of loyalty and encourage them to keep coming back.
Loyalty cards can be used to offer discounts, free products, or other rewards to customers who make a certain number of purchases or spend a certain amount of money. This not only encourages repeat business but also helps to increase the average order value.
17. Use All Your Real Estate
Make sure you use every possible bit of real estate to market your business. If there’s space available – use it to attract customers.
This doesn’t mean sticking up posters over your entire office (although this can help!). Instead, it means making the most of all your resources, marketing channels, and presence.
Make sure to optimize your social media bios. Make your website informative with enough landing pages and features. Place chalkboards outside your business. Add a QR code to your receipts. Hand out flyers. The list goes on…
The important thing here is to think about every touchpoint a potential customer has with your business and to ensure you’re using that touchpoint to the best of its ability. A few simple optimizations and updates can make a big difference to the success of your marketing strategy.
18. Connect With Your Local Community
Connecting with your local community is a great way to build brand awareness and promote your business without breaking the bank. You can do this by participating in local events, sponsoring a local team or charity, or simply engaging with the community on social media.
By getting involved in local events, you can meet potential customers face-to-face, showcase your products or services, and build relationships with other businesses in your area. Sponsoring a local team or charity can also help build goodwill and positive associations with your brand.
Additionally, engaging with the community on social media is an easy and affordable way to promote your business and connect with potential customers. You can share content related to your industry, participate in local hashtags and discussions, and showcase your involvement in the community.
As you can see, you can promote and grow your business for free in many different ways. Of course having a marketing budget will help you achieve greater results, but these free marketing ideas are perfectly capable of helping you attract more customers and grow your business.
Even though these marketing ideas are free, you’ll still need to use the right tools to get the best results. This includes using solutions like a website builder, email marketing, CRM, and marketing automation tools. By choosing an all-in-one marketing platform like Wishpond, you can access every tool you need a lot more easily and affordably.
Try it out to see how Wishpond can grow your business.