Marketing Ideas for Startups

34 Low Cost Surefire Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, promoting your business should be your top priority. If people don’t know about your products and services, you end up losing customers to your competition. Here in this article, we listed below a list of marketing ideas for small businesses for you to make your pick.

As a startup or a small business owner, you obviously won’t have much capital for marketing. This is where we come in.

Nowadays, there are plenty of creative and cost-effective marketing strategies. This is especially true with the coming of age of the internet.

You can choose any one of our ideas to increase awareness of your business’s products, services, or brand.

List of 34 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

1. Create a Website and Sell online

The first and most important marketing tool for any business is to have a presence on the Internet.

Having your own website is a must nowadays. This goes for all types of businesses. You can market and advertise your business on the website.

You should also start selling your product or service to reach out to a much larger audience.

2. Start a blog

Nowadays, starting a blog is a must for your business to grow. You can use WordPress or some other platform to get you started.

One can also generate additional money from your blogs.

You can write a guest post on some relevant niche blog. In addition, you can include a link back to your website and get free traffic back.

3. Advertise on Facebook

This is a continuation of the building of the Facebook page idea. Advertising on Facebook is costlier but very lucrative. You can reach targeted audiences with the help of Facebook Insights.

If you’re a local business, direct your Ads within a 10-15 mile radius. Facebook advertising also helps in growing the brand name, value, and loyalty.

4. Build a referral network

Building a powerful referral network in business is one of the most effective strategies that any size of business can have.

You need to join business meetings, seminars, events, and more valuable activities where you could meet diverse business professionals and experts.

You need to establish a strong and powerful connection with like-minded business people. Be reliable. Say what you do and do what you say.

5. Send Regular Emails to your list

You can send regular emails to a group or your clients to keep them updated. These can be anything from new arrivals to deals.

This helps in creating awareness around your brand. You can automate the entire process through bulk email tools that are available for free on the internet.

6. Create a Facebook Business page

One of the most important marketing tools is to have an active Facebook page. With the power of Facebook, you will be able to reach a much larger audience. 1.20 billion people to be exact. You will also be able to gather more leads such as email ids and contact numbers.

This is also the most cost-effective idea we have for you. Building an engaging Facebook page costs 0.

7. Set up Google Adwords

Google AdWords is an online advertising platform owned and operated by Google.

Compared to traditional marketing channels like TV and magazine advertising, online marketing is highly measurable.

AdWords is the most measurable of online platforms.

You get to show your ad to people who are already interested in your product/service.

This type of targeted advertisement yields great results.

8. Selling on Online Marketplaces

You can sell online on retail marketplaces such as Amazon or Flipkart. This will give your brand exposure to a larger audience. Furthermore selling your goods will also generate further profits.

It is very easy to get yourself enrolled in their program.

Having a good rating on online marketplaces improves the brand name and trust.

9. Advertise in local Newspaper

For a small business, it can be difficult for you to advertise in national newspapers. Although local magazines and newspapers offer compelling rates to go for it.

Especially if your business is centric around the local population and not national or international. This method will reap the greatest benefits only if the advertisement is compelling enough.

10. Sidewalk Signs

These are again low-cost marketing strategies. Advertising on sidewalks and walls has been going on for a long time. These still are effective in reaching out to your local audience.

These are super easy to make and material cost is negligible.

You would still need catchy graphics or punchlines to grab the attention of the commuter.

11. Use Facebook Marketplace

This marketing idea is different from Facebook ads or creating a page.

You can sell your products online but you have to sell them personally.

This is great for startups looking for initial funding.

Make a habit of browsing through the platform for items in your category and related categories to see how they compare to your offerings

12. Create an Active Instagram Account

Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. Hence, having an active Instagram Account is vital for your Business. You can post pictures and videos about your product or service.

The platform enables you to reach out to a much larger audience. Your goal should be to keep increasing followers to expand your reach.

In order to do so, you should keep updating posts to your stories.

As a business owner, you should also engage with your customers in the comments section.

Another benefit is that you can get a feel of what the market demands by analyzing responses.

13. Create an Active Twitter handle

With over 313 million monthly active users and a young demographic to boot, Twitter is a great platform for most marketers.

After creating a Twitter account you can send out Tweets whenever your company has a product being released or an upcoming event.

You should also engage with your target audience and interact with them as often as you can.

14. Organize Discount and Sale

When small businesses are looking to move their sales figures, the most common approach they take is to offer a discount.

One advantage is that discounts make your customers feel good. Research shows that when people receive a coupon or savings offer, they become happier and more relaxed.

It could be beneficial in the long run if these positive feelings can be associated with your brand.

15. Start an Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing is often termed as one of the best online marketing programs that are available to small businesses.

There is no risk when it comes to affiliate marketing; you only pay after the results are delivered.

There are many affiliate programs available on the Internet.

16. Use Whatsapp As a Marketing Tool

Presently, Whatsapp is being used by most smartphone users. It is obvious that you should not miss out on the opportunity to market your brand on such a platform.

You can use the phone numbers of clients and customers to create Whatsapp groups. One can also create an account in the name of your brand.

New deals, products, services, or gift cards can be sent through WhatsApp groups. You can also just those individually to specific contacts.

Whatsapp also enables you to create an interpersonal relationships with your clients. This, in turn, creates more trust and loyalty toward your brand.

17. Create a Youtube channel

Youtube is a platform that reaches 1.2 billion people. Create your channel and upload videos about your brand. You should add graphics and animation production value.

This will help you grow your reputation as a brand. It also educates the customers about your business in more detail.

The first thing to note is that YouTube accounts are directly linked to Google accounts.

So you can either use an existing Google account to create your YouTube account, or you can set up a YouTube account from scratch and a Google account will be created for you in the process.

18. Sponsor local team or band

Sponsoring a local event or team helps market your brand locally. This is unconventional as most businesses use Adwords or Facebook to market their brand locally.

This marketing idea takes time to yield a result. Although sticking with the local sponsorship marketing guarantees a steady flow of local customers in the longer run.

19. Regular Customer Reward Program

Offering points, discounts, and special buying opportunities to regular customers show them that you value their customs. This keeps them coming through your door more often.

You can offer cumulative discounts or create a loyalty card scheme.

This increases brand loyalty and keeps a steady flow of customers for your business.

20.  Text & Mail campaigns

Texting and Mail campaigns are an excellent way to be in the minds of your customer.

This is also one of the most cost-effective ideas we have for you. You can also use online messaging apps like WhatsApp or WeChat to connect with your customers.

Your text and email campaigns may include offers, deals, or new arrivals. You don’t want to go overboard with it cause you don’t want to irritate your clients

21. Build a referral network

A referral is a trusted recommendation from another individual. Referrals are important for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. Whether you run a hair salon or a software company.

The best way to get referrals is to offer exceptional products and services.

When your offerings impress your customers, they’ll be happy to refer you to others in need.

22. Network Chamber of Commerce

try to take membership in business associations and clubs as much as possible. Chambers of commerce is a platform where you will find business owners and professionals at plenty. Networking with them will not only give you access to key people in the industry but also an easy way of marketing your company.

23. Get associated online partners

If you have a promotional tab on your Facebook page, for example, consider incorporating partners into the design and messaging.

This helps in exposing your business to a broader audience. It also creates goodwill which is needed in the long run.

You can ask partners to retweet (it helps if you give them an @ mention). Cross-post on Facebook to give your communications an extra boost.

24. Use the help of Influencers

Influencers can help a long way to marketing your business properly. Influencers are people who have sources at the very top level. They also generally have a very active social network with huge numbers of followers. You can do a collaboration with them. They help in building your brand reputation. They also help expose your business to a much wider audience.

25. List your business on Google Places.

97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. Another: 73 percent of all online activity is related to local content, according to data released by Google.

Obviously, it goes without saying that registering your business in Google places is a must.

The good news is that Google Places is free and fairly painless to set up.

26. Use holidays as a promotional tool

Holiday discounts or offers can be a great way to attract new customers. This is especially effective if the business is situated near a busy street.

Make sure you have a holiday campaign strategy for both your online advertising and email marketing. These marketing channels are essential to increasing sales over the holidays.

27. Hire local/Internet celebrities to talk about your brand

Hiring an Internet celebrity who won’t charge much for a mention is a great way to market your product. You can use their large following and support base and try to influence them.

You might also try and pay a local celebrity to show off one of your products or service in public. This helps bolster brand image and recognition.

28. Collaborate with other brands

Collaborating with other brands is different from an Affiliate program. Doing a collaboration might not involve a monetary transaction.
This strategy is to improve or grow your reputation as a brand. You might not have to sell anything it’s the word of mouth that is the target.

For example-You tubers collaborate with other tubers to create more awareness. This also helps you in reaching out to a larger audience with the same points of interest.

29. Host a giveaway

Hosting a giveaway is almost likely to bolster your sales for some time to come. This is also a very good way to promote your business especially when you are starting a fresh one. You can host annual giveaways or do it on occasions.

For example – Hosting a giveaway on the opening day of a new restaurant is a very clever marketing strategy.

30.  Set up booths during fests

You can try to set up booths and stalls at functions, programs, or concerts. These are areas with high footfall and your brand will get a lot of exposure.

If you can sell your product or services there then even better. People will also tend to associate your brand with happier memories.

31. Send e-cards to your clients during the festive season

Sending e-cards to your clients is a good way to be in the good books of your clients. People also associate your brand with fond times. This is a good way to build interpersonal relationships with your clients.

These actions increase customer loyalty, brand value, and the faith they have in your business.

32. Use Groupon

Groupon has an email list of over 20 million people. If you contact Groupon to be included on their “deal-of-the-day”. You can get the word out about your business to millions of people you would otherwise never be able to reach.

There are usually huge discounts involved (50% or more) to incentivize buyers.

What is not explicitly spelled out is that they take 50% of your revenue as a fee for using their service.

33. Customer satisfaction survey

Surveys are great for improving your brand image and brand awareness. The audience has a sense of deeper respect for your brand.

This is because conducting a survey shows that you are giving your customers a top priority.

This also allows you to diagnose potential problems, at an aggregate level. More importantly, it allows you to improve over time.

Read: Top Growth Marketing Hacks For Small Businesses

34. Make Cold Calls

Making cold calls to customers is one of the most traditional ways to market a product. However, the effectiveness is still very much in converting strangers into prospects. Maybe the success rate is low, but still, this is the most popular way of reaching and creating new customers.


Whatever marketing ideas you decide to pursue, our advice is to always make sure you are committed to continuing what you start.

If you were not sure how to promote your business, we’ve shown you a handful of marketing ideas that will surely get you running.

Lastly, wrap your marketing ideas with great content. That’s what your target audience wants. Short and high-value content backed with data is the way forward.