Top 20 FREE or Cheap Marketing and Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses

If you’re a business owner or marketer, then you need to leverage the power of inexpensive tools to grow your business. In today’s competitive online marketplace, digital marketing dominates the game.

But there are also a few offline methods to put into your arsenal. If you don’t use the following strategies and techniques, you could miss out on additional sales and customers. So don’t hesitate, put one of these cheap and free ideas to use today:

Facebook Test Campaign:

Before you dive into a new business idea, product, or market segment, it can be wise to do a market test. You can test with a Facebook Ad campaign and decide whether or not to invest more money in a given venture.

For example, invest $5-$10 per day on a targeted ad campaign and drive the traffic from the FB ads to your company landing page. Depending on how many conversions you get, you can either double down on your investment or scrap it and try another one without breaking the bank.

Instagram Story:

Instagram is fast becoming one of the best platforms to be on as a marketer. With so many people using it, you should consider upping your Instagram game. Young people especially are flocking to the platform. This gives you an opportunity to grow your brand with new audiences and invest in the future. Incredibly popular right now is the story: create short videos (15 seconds or less) or post images promoting your brand for free exposure.

Buyer Persona:

If you don’t know who you are selling to, you can’t make money online. By creating a buyer persona, you have a deeper understanding of what makes your audience tick. You can use this knowledge to deploy new marketing techniques, new products, or uncover hidden markets within your industry.

Cold Email:

The art of the cold approach is long forgotten with today’s fancy marketing techniques. Social media may be hot right now, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use email as well. By sending cold emails, you can get in touch with potential customers and clients that might not be available otherwise.

Facebook Group:

Don’t underestimate the power of social proof. That’ exactly what a Facebook group does for you. When people see your business’ Facebook group picking up steam, they will be more likely to convert to buying your products or services. When creating a group, choose a catchy name and make it relevant to your brand. And consider charging for a private group that is fed from your main group for more recurring revenue potential.

Personal Visit:

If you are having trouble getting through with your online marketing, a free way to reach your audience in person. This is a great method nowadays because everyone is online. The in-person channels are the least crowded and while they don’t scale, they are great for the occasional boost.

Instagram Post:

Different from Instagram stories, Instagram posts include a permanent picture or video. Use your posts to build a complete brand around who you are and what you do. For example if you are a sales coach, then post motivational material and quotes that your followers can put to use daily.

Qualifying Via Instagram:

Taking the Instagram channel one step further, you can actually begin your sales process online. Instead of waiting to sell your customers on your website or over the phone, you can begin to sell them with a Instagram qualifying post.

What this means is you screen them out to see if they would be a good customer for you. For example, you could ask them what they are looking to improve about themselves, what their goals are, and when they want to achieve them by. This way, you have a better understanding of your customer and can sell them better in the future when you go to present you solutions based on their needs.

Last Chance Email:

If you’re struggling to boost your sales, try this technique: send an email to your list telling them it is their last chance to take advantage of a special offer. Then watch as the additional revenue rolls in.

Special Phone Call:

If you have prized customers that bring home the bucks, give them a special phone call every once in a while. It’s one of those techniques that makes you stand out as a brand, and it’s completely free marketing.

Cross Promotion Email:

Marketing may be a tough game, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you have people in your vicinity that serve similar customers but are non-competing (example: fitness coaching and sporting goods stores) then you can promote each other’s brand and get kickbacks from doing it. This bumps up sales and brings you to a new audience.

Funnel Software:

Creating online marketing funnels can be a hassle. But if you want a cheap way to make it easier, buy pre-packaged software that makes it easy to set up funnels in a few clicks.

Instagram Ad:

Don’t shy away from investing a small amount of money in Instagram Ads. While your industry might not be best suited for it, you can gain brand recognition in the worst case scenario.


Have you ever dreamed of having your own clothing line? Your business is like your own personal extension of yourself! It’s your chance to show how creative you are and in touch with fashion your brand is. Get some swag made so you can start selling it and making your fans, followers, and customers go wild for what you stand for.

Write Up:

Always do a write up with media. This can be in the form of magazines, newspapers, and even traditional print trade journals. Anything to grow attention is a good marketing move.


Let your customer fund your next business idea. Create a Kickstarter to keep the cash if you succeed and have no risk if you don’t.

Attention by Association:

Team up with a celebrity or semi-celebrity. Simply being known to be their friend will help your marketing efforts.

Facebook Chat Bot:

If you aren’t using Facebook chat bots, you are missing out. You can automate your marketing to the next level, using efficiency at its finest.


If you are involved as as sponsor for anything: esports, regular sports, conferences, you can bring attention to your brand and ultimately sell more goods.

Referral Bribing:

Ask customers to bring you more customers. Don’t be afraid to offer customer discounts and other incentives to get this ball rolling.

When it comes to growing your business, times have changed. Long gone are the days where you would walk around all day putting up flyers or handing out business cards. In today’s digital landscape, you need to be creative to succeed. Use one or all of the cheap and free marketing ideas above to help boost your bottom line now and into the future.

If you’d like some help with your marketing efforts and want to discuss your plans with an experienced marketing agency, get in touch with us today for a no-obligation chat!

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