Five Cheap Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses by Sara Collins

From restaurants to travel agencies, many small businesses start up each day and every single one makes marketing a top priority.

When someone decides to start their own business, they want to provide a product or service people want or need, and to make consumers aware of their presence, business owners need to market their products in various ways to attract buyers.

Whether your business is online or brick-and-mortar, balancing effective marketing strategy with a limited budget can be frustrating. If you own or are thinking about opening your own business, consider implementing these five affordable marketing strategies.

1. Donations

Donation aren’t just for supporting a great cause; you can also use them to promote your business’ brand. First, identify a charity or organization that shares most or all of your target audience.

Although money is considered a top way to support a charity, you don’t need to donate money at all. Instead, see if your chosen charity allows you to offer your time for volunteering or products and/or services as donations.

Another way to help out a local or national charity is by simply giving away a portion of your sales every month to the organization. If you have an offline location, you can keep a donation jar in your store or physical office for clients and employees to put money in for the charity. If you operate online, include a donation button on your homepage. Word of mouth advertisement gets around and people will know your business as a well-rounded and supportive one. Plus, many nonprofits will happily credit your brand, which helps to get your name

2. YouTube

If you can give business advice, seminars, product demonstrations or tutorials, then creating YouTube videos for your business can help increase your business’ online presence. Being a part of the most popular video sharing site in the world, you can reach millions of YouTube visitors with your videos.

YouTube also understands the demand for business advertisements and created its own advertising program for businesses. By using Google AdWords with your YouTube video, you can easily reach your target market. YouTube video advertising has various payment plans, and you only pay when someone clicks on your video, which allows you to pay for results rather than just advertisement placement. YouTube also provides an excellent opportunity for you to be active with the online community by responding to comments on your video.

3. Community Event Hosting

Create a big bang of a business grand opening by hosting a community event at your business location or home. Make your event family friendly so that everyone in your community feels welcomed to the event.

Form your event around a certain theme, such as a circus or a winter wonderland, and host it during the weekend when families have more free time together. At the event, prepare refreshments, activity areas, and appropriate music to liven up the party. You can have a station for attendees to read about your business and offer free advertisement tools, such as pens.

If you sell products, you can have a small shopping booth for visitors to browse through. To ensure your name continues to make a lasting impression, leave colorful balloons with your business’ logo and contact information near the front door for kids to grab on the way out.

4. Refer-A-Friend

As one of the old-fashioned ways to spread the word about your business, word of mouth is still a continued marketing practice in modern day. To get the word spreading, consider a refer-a-friend program that your customers can participate in. There are a handful of ways you can mold the program to fit your business:

      Give a return customer a 30% off coupon if they refer a friend to your business

      For every three referred friends, the customer receives a gift card with a certain amount

      A free gift with their next purchase when a customer refers two friends to your business

      Buy one, get one free discounts when a customer refers a friend

With refer-a-friend programs, you can find blogs that target your business’ audience and ask if they can advertise your refer-a-friend discounts and specials on their page.

5. Guest Posts

Contact bloggers who target your audience to see if you can offer free guest posts on their blogs. For example, if you own a bakery, ask a baking-centered blog if you can reveal a unique recipe in return for a link to your own website or opportunity to advertise special deals.

This is a great way to not only connect with potential customers, but to boost your credibility within your specialty’s community. Guest posts should always contain quality content with interesting information and SEO-friendly keywords as it helps boost traffic for the blog and your business. 

When forming your marketing plan, always remember who your target audience is. Every marketing plan centers around that one factor and the best results are produced with that in mind. Once you’ve gained a customer base, thanks to your marketing efforts, stay connected with your customers through snail mail, email updates, and online social networks. Since your clients are the ones who were attracted to your business, continue to appeal to them by improving your products and/or services to match current trends and market them with different campaigns.


Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a site that works to keep entrepreneurs informed about personal finance topics by answering questions like, “Should I wait to roll over my 401k when switching jobs?



I have not received any compensation for posting this content. The views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of HJMT.

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