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Top Low-Cost Marketing Promotion Ideas for Start-ups
Marketing trends

Top Low-Cost Marketing Promotion Ideas for Start-ups

November 30, 2021
Shelly Parker
Content Manager

When it comes to launching a startup or a small business and with all the work that goes into it, most business owners are left with little time to think about marketing promotion strategies that will prove successful and will be feasible for them to execute.

While online marketing can come as the easiest way to market services and products online, it also comes with higher price tags and can be expensive to adopt. There is a common misconception among various industries that you need to allocate a sizeable financial budget to your marketing promotion activity; otherwise, you might not receive a significant return on your investment. The truth is, there are plenty of low-cost or budget-friendly business marketing ideas and tools that you can engage your audiences with to sell more and keep growing.

Since marketers are tasked with growing a small company on a limited budget, this often means marketing on the standard online channels, which usually becomes harder to pull off because of the lack of sizable financial resources. That is why bringing in a healthy dose of creativity and ingenuity becomes crucial when laying out a marketing strategy plan. Once you have a marketing strategy that aligns with your business objectives and goals, there are easy and affordable ways to get your message out there.

Here are top working low-cost marketing promotion ideas that won’t break a bank. Let’s take a look at some of them:


1. Create a buzz on Social forums

The best low-cost marketing ideas for any startup or small business are those that allow them to connect directly with potential customers. Reddit, Quora and Social forum groups (Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) do just that.

Reddit is the top space for marketing and has more than 52 million active users. People come to Reddit for valuable information and opinions to read about others' experiences and topics that interest them. It proves to be an ideal place to reach your target audience and engage with them. With a minimum spend of only $5 a day for advertising on Reddit, business owners can generate buzz on the platform through exciting content that can give them more exposure, raise brand visibility and help reach an audience in their niche. You can also buy Reddit upvotes to boost your posts and comments and ensure that more Redditors see and read them. 

Like Reddit, Quora is another excellent marketing channel to top up your game. People come to this platform to read about other people's experiences, opinions, and advice. There are dedicated sections on the website for almost any topic that you can think of. If you can regularly contribute by writing helpful and informative answers within relevant spaces, you can build a solid following as well as backlinks for your website and get relevant traffic over time. Moreover, you can also reach your audience on Facebook Groups, Twitter or Linkedin groups by contributing to the comment section and sharing your opinions and experiences. Just remember- stick to your brand tone while writing.

Contributing to topics on answer the question forums to connect with prospects

2. Promotional Gift Ideas and Giveaways

There are many ways to increase a brand's visibility, but one of the simplest and low-cost marketing promotion ideas is giving away promotional merchandise. It is a proven method that helps drive customers easily to the business and can bring instant brand recognition.

There is a common practice that marketers follow when it comes to promotional product campaigns - to provide promotional items which can come in handy for daily use. These gifts can be t-shirts, stickers, pens, calendars, cloth bags, car fresheners etc. All these gifts ideas create an identification with your brand that others will begin to recognise. However, experienced marketers work on innovative and creative strategies. They prefer to choose gift ideas that are not only useful but also unique and of high quality that enables them to leave a broader impression on the customers.

For example - Depending on the product or services you offer, a simple “Welcome” gift box of chocolates or confectionery or a welcome goody bag offered at the store with your brand’s embedded logo can help you kickstart your relationship with the prospects. It will also show your customers that you care about them and not just their money. This can aid in creating an experience that will delight your customer at the very beginning of their journey with your brand. 


Alternatively, you can host a giveaway or contest on your website. Here you are at the advantage of driving reasonable traffic to your site which can expose your potential customers to other products and services that you have to offer. Make sure your giveaways are fun and exciting and have an element of gamification to create intrigue and excitement among the participants.

3. Content Marketing and Blogging

Did you know that 90% of organisations use Content for their marketing efforts and 78% of CMO’s see custom content as the future of marketing?

Content Marketing is an inbound marketing practice that is both remarkably widespread and effective. Creating thought-provoking, relevant and informative content has become vital for startups trying to build a solid presence in their respective industries. Creating a blog with excellent content that shows your brand as a thought leader in your niche can help you be seen as a trustworthy source and open many doors. The best part is, it is not an expensive tactic and it’s up to you if you prefer to do it yourself or have someone else do the hard work for you. However, content marketing is a long term strategy and it takes time to produce results due to various factors involved. The estimated time to see results is usually 6 to 9 months but having said that the longer the content exists and the more consistent you are with creating the content, the higher your returns will be.

Content marketing is just like a good investment. It has compounding returns that add up over a period of time and continue to add more value. 

Blogging is of immense importance in helping businesses build their customer base and position their brand in the market. According to DemandMetric, 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than advertisements. In addition to this, businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t.

A few reasons startups should have a blog with,

  • Drive long-term results in a budget-friendly way
  • Boost SEO and attract organic traffic
  • Strengthen brand as a leading voice in the sector
  • Inform and educate the target audience 
  • Establish visibility and attract investors

Content is a relatively inexpensive form of marketing and gives you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and develop an authoritative voice. It impacts almost every other digital strategy you may have.

4. Design Flyers and Brochures

Print marketing materials is one of the efficient ways to promote your business amongst your target audience giving it a personalised touch. Traditional tactics like flyer distribution or distributing leaflets are very effective and helpful, especially if you intend to enhance your local visibility or build your brand presence at industry events, trade shows, etc. There are several ways you can conduct a flyer distribution campaign – door to door distribution, hand to hand reach, letterbox drops or B2B service.

When it comes to designing brochures, think outside the box to come up with something fresh, relevant and exciting.

Here is an example, if you are an online grocery delivery service provider, you can design a  brochure using flyer design software and include a banner type infographic of areas covered and with your best selling delivery boxes. For an added element of excitement, you can have discount codes displayed at the bottom of the flyers that can be redeemed on the website and will help entice customers for a purchase action. Make sure the flyers and brochures are easy to read, manage and preserve and has your contact information.

Distributing hand to hand flyers to boost brand awareness and increase reach.

5. Personalised Emails

Email is an effective and versatile way to obtain new business prospects. You can further increase the impact of your email campaigns with one simple and proven tactic: personalization.

But why Personalising Emails? How does it help? 

Message personalization has been considered as one of the most effective email marketing strategies that help build one to one relationships with your prospects and customers, increase brand loyalty, customer retention and conversion. 

Furthermore, Personalisation by using segmentation has been a top priority for most marketers. By creating and segmenting email lists based on behaviours and or demographics such as user engagement, past purchases, customer journey locations, genders, ages or even job titles, you can go deeper with these segments and try to come up with more relevant messages.

 Sending your customers relevant offers or recommendations based on their interests will show you care and will help you have a better shot at engaging with them. Marketers have noticed a 760% boost in their revenue from segmented email campaigns and increased open rates by 26%:

Let’s take an example,

 For instance, if your business is a new app that accurately identifies the health of your plants, collect the email addresses of those people who often post about their passion for gardening or plant care. They are likely to be people with an interest in plant care related products or services. You can then reach out to them with non-commercial content like gardening blogs, plant care ebooks, explainers, PDF's, videos and infographics. If they like your app, they might include it in future posts. Remember, once you collect email addresses of potential prospects, stay in touch at least every other week with valuable and relevant resources to build trust.

6. Cash gift vouchers for reviews and referrals

Customers today still look for value and deals and what better way to promote your business than by offering cash incentives for referrals and product reviews. In the era of social media, word-of-mouth is everything. Referrals attract new business to the door. Research by McKinsey suggests word-of-mouth referrals make up 20-50% of most purchasing decisions (especially for new businesses and in emerging markets). 

We are all social creatures who love to tell people about stuff that has happened to us or about something new that we came across. If we had a good experience, we are wired intuitively to tell it to all our friends or family.

Offering your existing customer’s gift incentives for referring your product can lure them into your business. Also, bargains like these can attract new customers who have been considering doing business with you but needed an incentive to. Once they make a purchase, you can then track what they buy and which offers they redeemed so you can better target them with future marketing messages.

Here is an example of Nectar selling mattresses. 

Their referral marketing strategy was aimed at having customers get their friends to buy a Nectar mattress. And the respective promotion went out like this: The friend will get two free memory foam pillows when they buy their mattress using the customer’s referral link. Then further, both parties will get $25 Amazon gift cards.

In addition to this, product reviews are essential to establishing yourself as a business that produces quality products and services. But more often customers don’t leave reviews, so to activate this, you can consider giving away a small prize or voucher for leaving a review or a testimonial on your business website. Alternatively, this can also work out for discounts that you can roll out for leaving product reviews.

7. Power of Podcasts

Using podcast services to reach an audience that’s likely to relate and engage with your brand.

With people's dependency on the web and mobile devices for faster access to information and with a short attention span; it is becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to satisfy this demand for immediate satisfaction and hold their attention simultaneously. A study by Microsoft states that the human attention span has dropped to eight seconds – shrinking nearly 25% in just a few years.

On the other hand, people tend to give active and prolonged attention to podcasts. A podcast is one of the quick ways to build trust and raise your brand awareness with potential customers.

Podcasts have grown extremely popular over the last few years and have become the mainstay in the day-to-day lives of millions of listeners. It is one of the relatively untapped marketing territories, which has immense potential to allow you to reach an audience that’s likely to relate and engage with your brand. 

There are two ways you can leverage podcasts. One, you can purchase placements or features for your product or service in a podcast with a sizable listenership within your industry. Two, you can reach out to podcasts who are looking for guests within your niche. Joining a podcast series as a guest offer you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and mention your brand

Understanding both the right marketing channels and implementing the right marketing strategy is important when you have a tight budget and to be successful in this race. Once your marketing strategy, goals and budgets are in place, there are plenty of low-cost or budget-friendly business marketing promotion ideas and tools that you can adopt and engage your audiences with, sell more, and keep growing. 

Find out what Oppizi can do for your offline marketing needs today.

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