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9 Low to No-Cost Marketing Ideas For SMEs

9 low cost marketing ideas


Marketing can be intimidating for small and medium business owners, particularly if you have a restricted budget. Nonetheless, it is essential to the success of any business to have effective marketing, as it enables you to reach your desired audience, create your brand, and improve sales.

In this time when most businesses use digital marketing, many low to no-cost marketing ideas can help you achieve your business goals. From leveraging social media channels to hosting webinars and partnering with other businesses, these ideas can help you reach your existing and potential customers.

If numbers can speak and convince you, here’s what they will show you:

  • 59% of the world population is now using social media, and it is considered one of the best mediums to market your business
  • 49% of businesses report that organic growth is the most effective method for achieving a good return on investment
  • 64% of consumers check Google My Business to acquire contact information for a local business
  • Ranging from 5% to 20%, webinars have a higher conversion rate than most other content types
  • 67% of marketers say that publishing helpful content generates leads and stimulates demand

In this blog post, we show you nine low to no-cost marketing ideas that will help you build your brand awareness in a number of creative yet affordable ways. So if you’re looking for an easy way to reach out and engage with customers without spending too much money, then keep reading!

How to Implement Low-Cost Marketing Strategies

Marketing is not always about how much money you spend but rather how effectively you can reach your audience. Implementing low-cost marketing strategies can be an excellent way to promote your business and expand your brand exposure without leaving a hole in your pocket. To do this, there are several key steps you can follow.

Firstly, it is important to set clear marketing goals and objectives. This will help you to identify the most effective marketing channels for your business, such as email marketing campaigns, social media platforms, or local events.

Once you have defined your goals, you must allocate your resources effectively. This might include utilizing free marketing ideas like community bulletin boards or building relationships with other local businesses to increase your reach.

1. Create your Google My Business Profile 

Creating a Google My Business profile is critical for local businesses to accumulate their online presence and reach more customers. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to register your business and create your profile:

  1. Visit the Google My Business website and click on the “Manage now” button.
  2. Enter your business name, address, and phone number.
  3. Choose the category that best describes your business.
  4. Verify your business by following the steps provided by Google. This might involve receiving a postcard at the address you provided with a verification code.
  5. Add information about your business, such as your hours of operation, photos, and a description of your products or services.
  6. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile by implementing a customer satisfaction survey, offering incentives such as discount codes, or hosting social media contests.
  7. Respond to customer reviews to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
  8. Use social media engagement and other online marketing tactics to promote your Google My Business profile and encourage word-of-mouth marketing.
  9. Regularly update your profile with new information, such as upcoming local events or new products/services.

A Google Business Profile is incredibly valuable for any business looking for new marketing ideas and to reach more potential customers. By following these steps and implementing a solid marketing strategy, you can take advantage of the many benefits of having a strong online presence.

2. Join Business Forums

One of the most effective low-cost marketing strategies is to join business forums. Business forums are great for connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs and exchanging ideas, and participating in online forums can help you establish your business as an industry leader. When you join a business forum, you can also learn about your target audience’s interests, needs, and pain points.

Once you clearly understand your target audience’s needs and interests, you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach them more effectively. In addition, joining a business forum can help you expand your network and establish relationships with potential partners and customers

Participating in these forums requires no financial investment, but it does require time and effort.

3. Host a webinar or podcast

Hosting a webinar or podcast can effectively engage with potential customers and build your brand’s reputation. Webinars and podcasts allow you to share your expertise and connect with a wider audience. Here are some tips for hosting a successful webinar or podcast:

  • Choose a topic that is relevant to your target audience and that you have expertise in
  • Promote your webinar or podcast through your website, social media, and other free channels to ensure a large audience
  • Use high-quality but affordable equipment to ensure your audio and visual quality is excellent
  • Interact with your audience during the webinar or podcast through live chat or Q&A sessions
  • Offer valuable information or insights that attendees can’t get anywhere else
  • Follow up with attendees afterwards to thank them for attending and offer additional resources or support

4. Take advantage of local search directories 

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, taking advantage of local search directories can be a game-changer for your marketing efforts. Local search directories are online platforms that allow businesses to list their services, products, and contact information, making it easier for potential customers to find them online. 

By creating a profile on local directories, businesses can advance their visibility, attract new customers, and build a strong online presence. Some popular local directories include Google My Business, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Bing Places, and Foursquare. Utilizing these directories, businesses can improve their search engine rankings, receive more website traffic, and ultimately, boost their sales and revenue.

5. Try guest posting on popular blogs 

If you’re a small or medium-sized business looking to expand your online visibility and establish your authority in your industry, guest posting on popular blogs can be an effective strategy. By sharing your expertise and valuable content with a wider audience, you can build your brand’s reputation as a thought leader in your industry, improve your search engine rankings, and gain valuable backlinks to your site. 

There are many excellent blogs that cater specifically to the South African market. Some popular blogs that accept guest posts include Cape Town Insider, Memeburn, Gateway News, ITWeb, and SME South Africa.  However, it’s essential to research and identifies blogs that are relevant to your niche and target audience to ensure your content is well-received and adds value.

So, if you’re looking to take your marketing efforts to the next level, consider guest posting on popular blogs and see the benefits for yourself.

6. Publish helpful content on social media

Publishing helpful content on social media is an excellent way to attract and engage with potential customers, and it’s a low-cost marketing tactic that any small business can implement. Here are some examples and tips to help you get started:

  1. Share helpful tips and advice related to your industry or niche. As an example, a restaurant may post cooking advice or recipes, and a marketing firm could give its expertise on digital marketing trends. This helps to make your business an authority in your field and build trust with possible customers.
  2. Create and share informative videos or infographics that are relevant to your target audience. For example, a fitness studio could share a workout video or a graphic illustrating the benefits of exercise. This type of content is highly shareable and can help attract new followers to your social media accounts.
  3. Share user-generated content, such as customer photos or reviews. This helps build trust and credibility with potential customers and encourages existing customers to continue engaging with your business.
  4. Use social media to showcase your business’s personality and behind-the-scenes content. This could include photos of your team, sneak peeks of upcoming products, or a live stream of your office space. Do a quick webcam test before you go live to make sure the visuals look great.
  5. Feel free to experiment with different types of content and social media platforms. A beauty salon might succeed with Instagram Reels, while a B2B software company might find more success on LinkedIn.

The key to successfully publishing helpful social media content is understanding your target audience and providing them with informative and entertaining content. By doing so, you can attract new followers, build relationships with existing customers, and increase your business’s overall online visibility.

7. Promote your business offline

Another low-cost marketing strategy is promoting your business offline. While online marketing is critical in today’s digital age, offline marketing is still an effective way to promote your business. There are several ways to promote your business offline, such as distributing flyers, brochures, or business cards.

These offline marketing strategies can help you reach an audience that has no social media presence and build a positive reputation in the community.

8. Give out discounts or coupons

Offering discounts or coupons is another effective way to attract customers without spending too much money. People love to save money, and discounts or coupons can be an excellent way to incentivize customers to try your products or services.

You can distribute these discounts or coupons through your website, social media, or email marketing. Offering exclusive deals to your loyal customers can also help you retain them and encourage them to refer their friends and family to your business.

9. Collaborate with other SMEs

Collaborating with other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is an excellent way to expand your reach and build a strong network. Through this, you can gain exposure to a new audience and create cross-promotional opportunities.

Collaboration can take many forms, such as co-hosting events, offering bundled products or services, or guest posting on each other’s blogs or social media accounts. These collaborative efforts can help you leverage your resources and reach more potential customers without incurring high costs. Building strong relationships with other SMEs can strengthen your business and create more growth opportunities.


Marketing plays a critical role in the growth and success of any small or medium-sized enterprise. Implementing low-cost marketing ideas can effectively promote your business, reach a wider audience, and build brand awareness without breaking the bank. 

Leveraging social media, content creation, networking, and other low-cost marketing strategies, SMEs can improve their visibility, attract more customers, and strengthen their reputation in the industry. 

It’s essential to remember that consistent and strategic marketing efforts are key to achieving long-term success. By developing a solid marketing plan and executing it persistently, SMEs can achieve sustainable growth and establish themselves as industry leaders.


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