15 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies Every Business Should Know

It’s the simplest yet powerful method to promote your products & services using creative ways instead of the expensive one like media advertisements.

The low-cost marketing utilizes the power of contents & creative thinking to save the marketing budget. SEO, social media optimization, viral video marketing, email marketing over the website, and Guerrilla marketing are a few examples of the low budget marketing methods.

Suppose you are running a business, especially a start-up and don’t have a lot of bucks to spend on marketing.

Don’t worry! There are plenty of tactics that won’t blow your pocket.

Here are the ideas for low-cost marketing to work with a small budget.

Inexpensive Marketing Ideas for Small Business

1. Publish Great Contents

I don’t think I even need to mention the importance of publishing kick-ass contents. If you can craft a piece of content yourself, it’s all the better. Even writing isn’t your strength; you shouldn’t get much trouble having someone in your team to crank out a few articles for your blog.

You can outsource your work or hire freelancers to get your job done.

Remember the following points to create astonishing contents.

  • Create original contents and take care that you are not copying the entire work even if it’s spun.
  • Strong headlines always drive great CTR, but at the same time entire copy should be worth reading & filled with value.
  • Make your content actionable that gives people a sense of how to apply the information.
  • You know people search the web mostly for solutions or answers. To be able to provide the same but in a simple way.
  • Try crafting lists, how-to, data-driven articles but be accurate and updated in your reporting & sourcing the information
  • Media-rich content gets more attention than plain text, so try to add images & videos whenever possible.
  • Keep your blog updated with high-quality contents on a regular basis. At the same time, make sure it’s optimized for search engines as well as human visitors to get maximum organic traffic.
  • Killer guest posting is also an excellent way to get the referral traffic, leads & sales.

2. Low-cost Social Media Marketing

If you are not utilizing the power of social media, then your entire marketing campaign can get very expensive.

Social media is a great source for branding and creating a relationship with your existing as well as potential buyers.

You can reach to the maximum people without limit of geographical boundaries using social media.

You may find hundreds of social website where you can post articles, images even short videos too. Be creative while crafting posts for social media.

People get more attracted to the brands that have strong social proof, and it’s a ranking factor considered in SEO.

However, you’ll need to put consistent efforts including the trends analysis, posting the valuable contents, engaging with audiences, and measuring the campaign performance.

You should at least use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn on a regular basis. I have attached an image hereby to get a clear picture of your social marketing strategy.

3. Create Videos for Your Brand Or Run A Webinar Series

The visuals, especially videos, make a long-lasting impact on people’s mind. That’s why creating short videos can help you a lot.

It’s not necessary to have heavy professional setup to create videos for marketing. You can use whiteboard videos of 1-2 minutes or even use mobile devices to shoot & broadcast live videos on Facebook.

YouTube, DailyMotion & Vimeo are other services to host your videos without investing a lot in hosting space and bandwidth. You can also embed these videos easily to your site.

Hosting webinar is another marketing technique used by digital marketing agencies. By providing value to the attendees, you can convert them into the customers or upsell other products or services.

Many top marketers, including Neil Patel, Mark Ling, A. Morrison, use webinars as one of the primary tools in their marketing campaigns.

4. Design Valuable Infographics

Who don’t like infographics?

Infographics are visually stunning, easy to digest as well as extremely powerful to drive referral traffic & links to your website. People love to share them or pin on their Pinterest boards.

Hiring a professional designer to get the top-class infographics can hit your wallet hard, but DIY approach and some graphic designing tools like Canva or DesignBold can make your work easier than you think even you are non-techie.

Make sure your infographics are delivering the message clearly, attractive, and giving value so that making people easily share with others.

5. Professional Outreach

Some of the top marketers use this technique, especially for Link Building purpose in Off-Page SEO. Finding people from similar niche and asking them to either link your article in their blog post or sharing on social profiles gives genuine inbound signals as well as referral traffic, which is mostly targeted.

You can simply email to your fellow marketer for the same purpose. I too receive many emails from the bloggers worldwide to share their content.

LinkedIn is another great tool that can be used for professional outreach. Reaching the niche influencers and interviewing them or asking for promotional help can prove a golden deal for you.

It’s a simple way to grow your brand naturally with a wave of influence to get enhanced exposure & market.

6. Pamper Existing Customers and Employees

People always love the brand they use because they share an emotional bond with it. Taking care of such customers may help you a lot where they promote you enthusiastically for free.

You know the power of Word of Mouth that you might have experienced once before in your friend circle or family & relatives especially when you are going to make a decision of buying something or taking admission for a college, etc.

It’s the most important reason behind pampering your existing customers & employees and providing them the value beyond their expectation.

You can honor your few existing customers or staff by making them brand ambassador and awarding with the special bonus.

7. Special Events

You have heard that the popular sportbike brands like Harley Davidson & KTM hold special events or races or tours for their customers.

These are the moments where customers get attached emotionally to brands. You can hold similar events offline or online to connect with your audience. Later, you can share their photos or videos and experiences on your blog or social accounts with special hashtags.

8. Contest

The online contest is a popular low-cost marketing gimmick used by most of the marketers and e-commerce companies.

You can use some rewards to attract people and participate in the contest. It may be a simple quiz or multi-tier exclusive contest running for a few days.

Sometimes the initial cost may seem higher, but the number of participants and new potential leads will be well worth the price if you put efforts in the right direction.

Really tight on budget?

You technically don’t need a super expensive prize like iPad or MacBook Pro to get participants.

Even fancy backpacks with your company name might be enough of a draw for some users.

Not sure how to host a contest? There are a lot of services to hold online contests which you can find by a simple search on Google.

9. Partner With Brands

You can team up with a business in your niche (but not a direct competitor) for a joint project. This can be done offline through some special event at some particular locations, or online with a webinar or live broadcast via Facebook or YouTube.

Partnering with another brand can draw much more attention than you can do individually. If you’re partnering with a niche relevant business, you’re getting introduced to a whole new audience from your partner creating a win-win situation for you both.

Sometimes you can collaborate with other brands for cross-promotion, which allows you both to market one another’s services.

For example,

A digital marketer & a web developer can recommend and cross-promote their respective alias.

10. Guerrilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is a special type of low-cost marketing that emphasizes creativity over budget, and strategies are often cheap to pay and easy to implement, especially when localized.

It’s a marketing technique where people don’t get easily as they are facing to advertisements.  They think that creative is a part of their life & representing their own story.

11. Low-cost Email Marketing

It’s a great way to build a list of subscribers & get new visitors engaged with your brand, as well as maintain a healthy relationship with your existing customers.

Legit email marketing has a booming ROI where you can use drip marketing to nurture your website visitors.

Providing a free product or service or anything beneficial to visitors, you can collect as much as emails you want.

There are many tools, including MailChimp, MailerLite, etc. to help you start for free.

12. Giveaways

Giveaways are the same as holding an online contest, but you can have a lot more opportunities to get massive social proof or build an email list in tons.

You can decide a special product or cash price or anything to give away in exchange for likes, shares or follow from your visitors. If you are smart enough, then you can collect the emails and upsell your product or services later

13. Referral Programs

Referral or affiliate programs are the best form of marketing for those who want to grow organically, automatically, and without putting too much effort. You just need to set up, turn on, and see how your business starts growing.

A referral or affiliate program may not be suitable for every business, but it’s worth a try if you’re convinced enough.

The main benefit of these methods is you don’t spend money on marketing unless the publishers/affiliates first make a sale on your behalf.

Secondly, you can integrate an affiliate program directly to your website or take help from the third-party services.

14. Low-Cost Advertising

Running online ads without proper optimization can empty your wallet within a few days. Some of the massive PPC ad campaigns may be out of your budget, but there are often discounts and coupons floating around for SEM and SMM, including Google Adverts & Facebook ads.

Many web hosting companies offer advertising discount coupons as part of their membership service. Check and see if your web host is providing the same. Sometimes Google & Bing themselves offer discount or trails for their ad services for the new customers. You can get benefits from this too.

Remember, cheap methods are not always good. Don’t fall for an offer you don’t trust. First of all, verify it or discuss with your fellow marketers and take the right decision.

15. Miscellaneous

There are hundreds of other ways to promote your venture on a low budget. Be creative and help yourself to save money.

I’m giving a few ideas here. Many of them may seem weird or crazy still you can try some of them.

  • Painting your ad creative on your car or make use of your real estate for brand promotion.
  • Displaying your business number or email on your real estate, including car or shop shutter.

low-cost marketing technique by OLA

  • Special balloons, umbrellas with your brand identity.

5 Ps of the Low-Cost Marketing

Marketing is a broad concept and depends on many others. But for an effective and low-cost campaign, you need to study the 5Ps of marketing (Product, Process, Price, Place & Psychology).

Actually, you must be aware of the term ‘Marketing Mix’ and ‘The 4Ps’ (Product, Price, Promotion & Place) which have been used worldwide by the marketing and branding agencies as well as the web design companies.

Here, I’m going to explain how each point of the 5Ps affects your performance in marketing & sales, which will later help you to understand low-cost marketing easily.

1. Product

The product can be either a tangible good or an intangible service that fulfills the customer’s requirement. You must be authentic about the product whether you are selling a car or insurance for it.

As well as you must have complete product knowledge when you start promoting a particular brand because the wrong commitments about products may help to get an initial pick but throw down suddenly within a few days and maybe forever. It may also raise questions about the brand’s loyalty & integrity towards customers.

Feel free to collaborate with other internal as well as external teams to get the best of product knowledge.

2. Process

The marketing can be done via either traditional method including the newspapers & print media or digitally by using social media channels, website, email marketing, video marketing & PPC ads.

You can refer to one of my old blog post about the difference between inbound and outbound marketing techniques to find a vivid explanation of the marketing methods. By reading this post, you can decide which promotion method suits the best for you.

To maximize ROI, you must integrate all possible channels, including traditional methods too. You can outsource some of your work, but never forget to analyze your marketing strategies.

The Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo have already proved it by surpassing the companies like Samsung and Nokia, which were holding a considerable market share for a long time. Again it’s time-sensitive and may change in the future.

3. Price

Although quality and after-sales service play a significant role in gaining & retaining customers, the price is a very sensitive point in the marketing which lures most of the customers to buy your products or services.

Especially in countries like India where Reliance Jio is available, you can’t ignore the cost-effectiveness of your products. Even the elite brands, including Apple and Nike, are available for the affordable price tag.

Another point is price determination, which mainly consists of R&D cost, overall manufacturing expenses, marketing budget & profit share.

If you simply think about it, you may find your wrong strategies can increase your marketing budget compromising over the profit share.

Am I right?

Here your marketing skills are tested that how you are bringing better & greater ROI for your brand campaigns.

Every brand has a variable performance for different marketing channels according to its USP. So, you need to analyze your every campaign to define which of them are working better and giving a solid ROI. It’ll help you to cut down the overall cost and increase profit.

4. Place

Often you have heard that marketing is all about putting the right product, at the right place, at the right time and right price. I’ve already explained about a couple of them earlier so now I will be discussing the ‘Place’ factor of the 5Ps.

It’s critical to evaluate the ideal place where people get into the buyer’s journey and complete their purchase.

Whether you are doing digital marketing or integrating with the traditional methods, it’s challenging to find where people get attracted towards you.

The buying process consists of three elements: preview, review & buy. The time taken for every element may differ individually, and for a situation in your favor, it must be optimum (around 24 hours).

The digital is the best place for the first two elements where buying can be either online or through offline modes depending on product or service.

Another side of this point is a Geolocation commonly referred to as a place. You can target according to your products & market. Market research is a vital step to keep yourself ahead in the competition. Again, digital has the edge over the traditional when you think about the Place factor of the 5Ps of marketing.

5. Psychology

The above four Ps are commonly used in the marketing field, but the most critical elements to drive conversions or sales.

In the above point, I’ve already mentioned that the studying market before starting the promotion or sales is an essential step. You need to research the potential reach, buying capacity of people, competitors, market management, etc.

You can get some of the insights of the market by using the tools like keyword research tools, online surveys, case-studies, and analytics tools, etc. but it may become expensive if you fail to pick a right direction.

Though a few tools like Google Analytics can give you a broad overview of people’s behavior, meeting them in person will help you to understand the psychological behavior and buying intents.

Special meetups, brand events, fan festival, or asking for users opinions/reviews/comments using digital channels including emails, social media, or website may help to understand more about the psychology of customers.

Recently, I was working for brand promotion & customer acquisition for an international brand XYZ in the technology sector, where I used to meet around 60-70 random people on a daily basis.

I got the mix reactions of people for XYZ as well as competitors & found that most people give preference to those brands which have better after-sales service rather than a cheaper monthly bill.

If you are promoting anything, then make sure you are following the points mentioned below.

  • People are willing to pay for the benefits, not for the features.
  • Humans are less likely to leave their existing belongings than getting new ones. Almost everyone wants to fully utilize the goods and services they have bought instead of switching to a newer one by reinvesting for the same feature.
  • Building trust & providing value has enormous ROI.
  • Extremely valuable benefits (differ from person to person & need a proper segmentation of buyers) a.k.a. USP can help you gain more CVR.
  • Appreciating & enjoying with the customer, building a healthy relationship, and making yourself, your product, as well as customer special, make people buy from you.
  • Create a short story for your brand, but it should be related to your existing or potential customers.

It’s a vast topic but to understand the psychology of your potential buyer keep yourself in his shoes and decide what actions you need to take.

Studying these 5Ps are very important in Low-Cost Marketing to get better ROI.

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