5 free or low budget marketing ideas for small businesses

I truly believe small business owners are the real heroes of the business world.

As a small business owner, you are a risk-taker, passionate about what you do, all while benefiting your local economy and helping your community.

But being a small business owner comes with its own set of challenges:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Providing top notch customer service
  • Keeping prices competitive
  • Competing with huge enterprises in the same geographic area

...and then there’s marketing your business.

If you’re a small business owner, you probably handle all marketing yourself.

How can you spend your time effectively marketing your business without breaking the bank?

Here are 5 free or close-to-free marketing ideas you can start implementing today:


1) Start a Podcast around topics related to your industry

If you’re not familiar, a podcast is an audio “show” kind of like radio but on-demand.

Podcasting has exploded in popularity in recent years. Podcasting is a great way to establish trust and authority in your field.

There are so many benefits to having a podcast for your business:

  • It allows you to connect to your audience on a deep personal level
  • It helps you build your network
  • It helps you become a more effective communicator
  • People can listen to podcasts on almost every device - computer, phone, etc.

There are downsides too of course:

  • Starting a podcast can be time-consuming
  • Coming up with show ideas, booking guests, and editing aren’t easy tasks
  • It can take a while to see a return on investment

If you’re in it for the long haul, making the investment into creating a podcast can be worth it to separate yourself from your competition and tell your story in your own words.

You can get started making a podcast for free using Anchor.

Popular paid options include Libsyn, Podbean, and Spreaker.

Cost: as little as $0 per month

BONUS: Ask to be a guest on someone else's podcast.

BONUS 2: Repurpose your podcast content into blog posts. (More on that later.)

2) Post consistently on social media

Consistency is way more important than creating the perfect post.

And it definitely doesn’t take a lot of time to stay consistent.

You can consistently stay active on social media by:

  • Sharing posts by others to your feed or story
  • Commenting on other people’s posts
  • Make quick social media graphics using Canva

Doing any of the above shouldn’t take more than a few minutes per day.

You can schedule social media posts in advance on Facebook and Instagram by using Creator Studio or Hootsuite.

Cost: as little as $0 per month

3) Make a photo-op area in your place of business

If you have a physical location, encourage people to take pictures in your store.

Have you ever heard of the “WhatLiftsYou” Wall in Nashville? If not, I’m sure you’ve seen a picture of someone visiting it on their social media.

Social media is a highlight reel, and people love to share pictures of them in “Instagram-worthy” places.

If you can, set up your own “Instagram-worthy” spot in your place of business to encourage people to share pictures online.

Cost: as little as $0

BONUS: Offer an incentive for people to post the picture online.

4) Repurpose existing content

You don't always need to reinvent the wheel.

Just like how it’s easier to sell to existing customers, sometimes it’s easier and more cost-effective to repurpose what you already have.

It doesn’t have to be complicated:

  • Take existing print ads and make several social posts out of them
  • Take existing long videos and make several short clips out of them
  • Take podcast episodes and turn them into written blog posts

Cost: as little as $0

5) Email Marketing

Most email marketing platforms for small businesses don’t require a huge monthly investment, and may even offer a free trial, such as Constant Contact.

Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways that small businesses can count on seeing a high return on investment. 

On average, email marketing has an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent

This is because with the right strategy, your emails can:

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Upsell to your current customers
  • Improve retention
  • Drive sales and customer loyalty without needing your intervention

With more marketing options than ever before, email is still king when it comes to generating revenue and retaining customers.

Cost: as little as $0 per month. Get a free Constant Contact trial at this link.


I know that as a business owner, your time is valuable and limited.

If you’re struggling with:

  • A lack of resources and time to focus on marketing
  • Consistent execution of marketing activities (especially email)
  • Keeping up with trends and marketing technology

...then you’re not alone.


Get in touch today for a free quote on marketing services.


We can help with:

  • Email marketing - Copywriting, Strategy, Automation
  • Business Consulting
  • Website Design
  • Outsourcing marketing activities - any of the ideas mentioned on this page


Get in touch today!


Talk soon!

-Jimmy


Written by

Jimmy Mallinson

Jimmy is the owner of Redhead Marketing Group Inc.

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