10 Cheap Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses


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We understand.

When you’re a startup or small business, you’re limited on money and resources. You want to be consistently marketing your business, but struggle to find affordable strategies to commit to.

Here are 10 ideas to diversify your small business strategy and maximise a limited budget. Most of these cost very little but your time. And even then, all of them can be worked on in say 1-2 hours per week.

1. Network Online.
Build out your online social media profiles so you are easy to identify and easily contactable. Look for mutual friends or followers to connect with. Be personable in this space. So that you don’t slack off, set aside a regular schedule of time say 20 minutes per week to look for new potential connections.

*Tip: If you’re using LinkedIn, look through the list of 1st and 2nd connections to see if a mutual friend can introduce you.

2. Join or Create a Facebook Group.
Find a group where your target audience is and participate there with helpful suggestions. If you can’t find an active one, create one and encourage others to join.

Example: Say you were in the business of planning weddings. There are numerous wedding facebook groups you could join to offer your advice to gain the trust of this audience. Because they already know, like, and trust you they will be more likely to use your services.

3. Facebook Advertising.
Facebook Advertising is the hot new thing right now, which is great for you because it’s affordable relative to other forms of online paid advertising. To give you an idea, for just $20 a day and a $250 total spend, one of our clients got 451 clicks to their website!  That’s only $0.56 per click! Another client spent just $200 and made $3,000 in sales. Talk about a great return on investment!

Check out Facebook Advertising 101 from Social Media Examiner or talk to me to get your ad campaign off the ground. Once you get started on this, you’ll be amazed at all the options to specifically target your audience. It will become your new best advertising friend!

*Note, you’ll be able to place your ads in Instagram too if you’re on that platform.

4. Engage on Social Media.
Just 33% of Australian businesses have a social media presence (Sensis Social Media Report) compared to over 88% of businesses in the United States. (AdWeek). There’s a huge opportunity for Australian businesses to catch up with their American counterparts and use social media to engage their audiences.

Some quick tips:

  1. Find a few platforms where your audience is and do those well. Don't try to do every social media platform.
  2. Post roughly an 8:1 ratio of content if you can, meaning 8 engagement posts per 1 selling post. *Note: This number can vary. The point is don't push all product.
  3. Ask questions and try to solicit responses in the forms of comments, likes, and shares for better engagement.

Canva is a great tool that helps non-designers to create nice social media posts. It’s mostly free, otherwise you can purchase their assets for $1 each.

5. Blog / Create Content.
In order for customers to buy from you they must trust you. A blog is a great way to show your authority in your industry and share your knowledge. You can produce a variety of content such as articles, infographics, videos, and podcasts for your audience. Promote this content in your social media and email lists.

*Tip: Create what type of content you enjoy doing so that you don’t lose steam. It might be in the form of blog articles, videos, audio recordings or podcasts, visuals and infographics.

6. Build Your Email List.
Give new website visitors a reason to sign up. Whether it’s valuable information or a price discount, let them know what’s in it for them to encourage signups. There are lots of different email softwares but look into MailChimp or AWeber to start.

7. Develop a Customer Referral Program.
Offer existing customers a reward if they refer a friend. A specific example of how you can implement this is say after providing your service/product shoot the customer an email with a discount code for them and a friend on their next purchase.

8. Stickers for the Company Car.
Put a sticker, magnet, or custom plates on your company car to easily grow brand awareness for your local business as you drive around.

Two vital tips: 1. Avoid Comic Sans font at all costs, and 2. Don’t drive like a jerk - these things hurt your brand reputation.


9. Hold a Social Media Contest.
Giving away a great prize via a social media contest is a great way to boost engagement, capture email addresses, and build your audience. There are several different apps you can use, but check out Heyo for a simple solution.


(Image from Heyo.com)

10. Host or Sponsor an Event.
Look for events that are relevant to your product/service and offer to host or sponsor them. Alternatively, create a workshop to educate your community on a topic you’re an expert in.

For example, if you are an interior designer host a workshop teaching people a few tips they can incorporate into their own homes/businesses. It shows your expertise and they may end up hiring you.


As a startup or small business there’s a lot you can to promote your business that costs little to nothing but an hour or 2 per week of your time. I recommend leaving SEO and AdWords to the experts so you get the most from your money, but do take charge of other marketing initiatives to boost your small business.

We’re loving Facebook advertising at the moment – What about you? Are there any of the above tips that you’re seeing results from? Anything we haven’t mentioned? Or what do you intend to try soon? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

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