min read

7 Free & Low-Budget Marketing Ideas that Work [+ Tools and Resources]

Let’s debunk the myth that marketing is expensive. If you're just starting out, here are seven top free and low-budget marketing ideas that work.

In many ways, there’s never been a better time to start a business than right now. With so many marketing resources available on the Internet and networking opportunities around, growing a business has never been more possible. If you’ve just launched your own business or are looking to expand your current business but have a tight budget, there are still many effective marketing strategies out there for you. 

Myth: Marketing is Expensive

First, let’s debunk the myth that marketing is expensive. We’ve heard the common adages that “you get what you pay for” and “you get out what you put in.” While these sayings are certainly true, they don’t necessarily mean you need to spend money in order to grow. Investing both your time and effort can be just as effective as spending money on a fancy ad campaign. Best of all, some of the following low-cost marketing strategies generate a higher return on investment than other flashy, expensive forms of marketing. 

7 Free & Low-Budget Marketing Ideas

If you’re on a shoestring budget but looking to grow, these marketing strategies will help you promote your business without breaking the bank.

1. Engage on Social Media

Social media has proven to be one of the most effective marketing tools ever invented. An overwhelming number of people have an account and engage with at least one social media platform on a regular basis. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok all report having billions of active users every day–users that can eventually become part of your audience.

To find success on social media, you must post fairly regularly and keep your content relevant to your target audience, not just the followers you currently have. With constantly changing algorithms on these platforms, your posts have the potential to reach people who’ve never heard of your brand. Social media is a brilliant way to build brand awareness and engage with your audience as a growing business.

2. Write Great Content

Create a blog on your website and post content regularly. Good blog content can increase your online visibility and draw traffic to your website, and posting good content regularly compounds those benefits. Writing good content takes time but is incredibly valuable for growing your business.

When creating content for your website, remember that you’re not writing an advertisement. Be sure to write content that is helpful or interesting to your ideal customer. For example, if you sell spirits, post cocktail recipes, feature bars and restaurants that your ideal customer might like to visit, discuss the best food pairings for your product, and more.

3. Lean Into Email Marketing

Email marketing has one of the highest ROI rates of any marketing strategy–$36 for every $1 spent–making it one of the best low-budget options on the list. An email newsletter helps you connect with an owned audience of both current and potential customers, nurturing your relationship with existing customers and building one with prospective customers until they purchase. 

Many businesses use email marketing to promote products early to subscribers and share exclusive content, discounts, and more. Because your recipients have opted into receiving emails from you, they’ll be more likely to interact and engage with these emails.

4. Dial Up Local SEO

If you’ve opened up a physical location for your business, increase your local SEO efforts. Google prioritizes the most relevant results for its users and pays attention to where your business is located. Therefore, optimizing your website for local or “near me” marketing makes it easier for customers to find your business. Google also has a helpful feature called Google My Business that allows you to create a free business profile. The profile includes your store hours, location, contact information, customer reviews, and more. 

Learn more: Local Marketing: How to Use "Near Me" Marketing to Reach Your Audience

5. Offer Discounts & Free Samples

Studies show that consumers are more likely to make a purchase after sampling a product. Providing samples both in-store and online gives potential customers more confidence in their buying decisions and creates a positive association with your brand. Give out samples in-store or mail them out to potential customers. Include discounts in your social media posts or email newsletters.

6. Invest in Your Current Customers

By investing, we mean investing in the relationship between your brand and your current customers. Acquiring new customers can be expensive, and although it’s necessary to spend energy attracting new customers to your brand, you don’t want to completely ignore your existing customers. Express gratitude to your customers by handwriting thank you notes or sending a personalized email their way to check up on them. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, learn your regulars by name and greet them warmly whenever they come in. 

7. Host Events

If you have a winery, taproom, cafe, or other space that is conducive to hosting an event, go for it! Inviting new and current customers into your space for a trivia night, holiday party, or another fun event is a great way to foster relationships and market your business. You’ll likely see increased sales and meet new customers at these events. Have a member of your team host and give away prizes, such as free merchandise or gift cards to your business. Invite food trucks to these events as well–they’re likely to promote the event on their social channels and attract their loyal fans to your location. 

Bonus Marketing Tools and Resources

In addition to low-cost marketing strategies, there are a number of free tools that help brands promote their businesses. Here are just a few.


Every marketer should have a Canva account. Canva is a freemium online graphic design tool that allows you to easily create stunning graphics for social posts, websites, email newsletters, and more. You can use the site for free or upgrade to their premium plan for access to exclusive fonts and templates.


Mailchimp is a fantastic email marketing tool that’s perfect for small businesses as it’s free to use for up to 500 contacts per month. Mailchimp scales up as well, offering more capabilities like A/B testing and customizable email templates at higher tiers. To simplify all your email marketing campaigns on a budget, Mailchimp is the perfect tool.

Google Analytics

Use Google Analytics to monitor your website traffic at no cost. Google Analytics displays your most visited pages and can show you trends in activity over time. Google Analytics also tracks which websites and social channels give you the most traffic, your organic search rankings, how visitors get to your website, and more.


To save time, you can schedule multiple social media posts via Buffer. With Buffer, you can connect one account from several different social media platforms and schedule ten posts for each ahead of time. Buffer is free for the first three channels you connect. The next tier is only $5 a month and includes analytics, engagement tools, and more.

Final Thoughts

Growing your business does not have to cost thousands of dollars to be successful. There are plenty of tools and strategies out there to help you generate leads, connect with customers, and build brand awareness at little or no cost. The best part is, there’s no “right answer” when it comes to developing a marketing strategy for your growing business. Just try different methods until you find the right mix of tools and strategies that give you the best results. Good luck!

You might also like:

Eric Kunisawa

Founder & CEO

Eric Kunisawa is the founder of Grappos. He's been successfully helping businesses connect customers with their products since 2008.

See how our product locator can work for your business

We use cookies to enhance your experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. View our Privacy Policy for more information.