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Low-cost marketing for your small business

Simple techniques to get your company in front of more customers

2-minute read

You have to get the word out about your business, but many entrepreneurs are reluctant to spend a lot of money on marketing.

The good news is that with some planning and imagination, you can stretch your marketing dollars and generate growing sales.

The first step is to put together a marketing budget and set goals in keeping with an overall marketing plan. For example, you could decide you want to boost sales of a particular product; increase traffic to your website; or collect a specific number of new email addresses for your online newsletter.

Then, you should carefully plan campaigns to achieve your goals. Random marketing is likely to have little impact and waste your time and money. Instead, your marketing should be focused—highlighting the benefits of your products or services and what sets your company apart from the competition.

Use affordable marketing tools

There are a number of economical ways to convey your messages. Choose the ones best aligned with the nature of your business.

Online marketing

If you are aiming to expand your customer base at an affordable cost, marketing through your website and social media properties will probably give you the best bang for your buck. For information on how to do it, download BDC’s free guide, Attracting and Selling Online: A Marketing Guide for Entrepreneurs.

Speaking opportunities

You can offer your services as an expert speaker when a conference is organized on a topic related to your product or service.

Public relations

Come up with a unique promotion or event and then publicize it by sending a snappy news release to local media.

Direct mail

Use flyers or direct mail to target specific geographic areas with information about your company accompanied by a special offer.

Local advertising

Advertising in local newspapers can be inexpensive and you can usually place ads on notice boards for free.


They should be simple yet professional. A brochure that looks like it’s been produced by amateurs isn’t a wise investment.

Trade fairs

They are useful if your product or service is intended for a very specific market, like other businesses in a specific niche.


Networking is a good way to meet potential clients and showcase your expertise, particularly if you offer professional services. Membership in associations for business people, for example, can help you to generate further business from existing clients and find new ones.


Ask for referrals from satisfied customers. Consider offering a gift or discount to those who bring you new clients.

If you need help to create and execute a marketing plan, hiring a consultant who specializes in small business marketing can save you time and money.