Low-Cost Marketing Strategies For 2021 | W3 Lab

Low-Cost Marketing Strategies For 2021

When someone mentions the word marketing, the first thing we usually think of are expensive TV advertisements, full of celebrities and hero shots. However, marketing is so much more than that. It comes in the form of many different strategies and media, and not all of it has a really expensive cost.

In fact, there are 8 types of low-cost marketing strategies that will help you promote your business for either a low price or for free. Be aware that these strategies are all long-term and can take a while to yield results.

digital marketing
Digital marketing by Pexels on Pixabay

1. Referrals – low-cost marketing strategy

Referral marketing is the first on our list of low-cost marketing strategies.

It is all about your customers putting in a good word for you to other people. It is an extremely effective type of marketing because people trust recommendations more than anything else, especially the ones from their friends and family.

Referrals can be word-of-mouth referrals, online reviews, social referrals (sharing and posting), and email referrals.

Referrals are great for getting more sales, building your brand, as well as reputation. If you want to give this low cost marketing strategy a shot, there are a few ways to go on about it.

Before you start asking people for referrals, it is important to get a few things out of the way first, such as who are the ideal referrals and how you will repay them for promoting you.

If, for example, you sell PC equipment, you could ask your customer who fixes people’s PCs or helps them set them up to provide referrals for you. In return, you could provide them with vouchers or free products.

referral marketing strategy
The word of a satisfied customer is invaluable| Source

Also, it is recommended that you always ask for referrals after you finish doing business with a customer. Only then will their experience with your business be complete.

If they say yes to a referral, make sure to reach out to them as soon as possible, because if you take ages, you will look highly unprofessional and they might change their minds.

If, however, they say no, respect their choice and thank them for their time and giving your business a shot.

Referrals also include collaborations, and the word of another business is worth a lot. If you collaborate with a business, make sure that it is similar to yours or that you come up with something that will tie your businesses together.

You don’t want to work with a business whose customers will have no interest in your products and services.

2. Is activity on forums and groups suitable for low-cost marketing?

If you think no one uses forums anymore, you’re dead wrong. People still massively visit them and daily participate in all sorts of discussions.

forums - low-cost marketing strategy
Forums are still widely used | Source

This low-cost marketing strategy is completely free, but it does come with rules. Even if you find the perfect forum for yourself to visit and promote your business on, it will have rules regarding self-promotion and spamming.

So, before you post anything, we recommend that you take your time reading the rules. It might take a while, but it is better than getting permanently banned from an entire community.

This strategy is very much long-term because you will need to establish yourself as a contributing member of a forum before you can start promoting your business.

If you don’t, moderators will think you’re a spammer and will delete your messages, and even maybe ban you.

To avoid this, ask questions, provide answers, and get involved in discussions. Show other members that you are worth the trust and have something to contribute to the community.

It can even happen that the forum owner rewards you and promotes you themselves if they see how hard you are working on becoming a contributing member of the forum.

3. Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click or PPC advertising is another low-cost marketing strategy. The way it works is that you only pay for the clicks that you get, saving you a ton of money in the process.

You know how advertising on TV is so expensive, but it often doesn’t pay off? That’s because you’re showing your ads to hundreds of thousands of people, but a good portion of them will never see them.

digital marketing vs traditional advertising
Digital marketing is cheaper than traditional marketing, and PPC advertising is the least expensive type | Source

With PPC advertising, your ad will get shown to a large amount of people, but you don’t have to pay for this. Instead, you’re only paying if they end up actually clicking your ad. Great paying model, don’t you think?

The most popular and used PPC service is Google Ads. It offers a number of different ad campaigns that can help you achieve different goals, including getting more sales, leads, website traffic, brand awareness, product and brand consideration, app promotion, and more. This service can take a while to learn and master, but it definitely pays off.

Google Ads will provide you with a ton of analytics and data that will help you learn more about your audience, thus making every new campaign you create better than the previous one.

google ads or facebook ads - ppc
Google Ads and Facebook Ads are two of the most used pay-per-click services | Photo by Launchpresso on Unsplash

Social media platforms also offer pay-per-click advertising, and the most popular one is Facebook Ads. The biggest reason for its popularity is the fact that Facebook is still the world’s largest social media platform, with over 2.6 billion people actively using it every day.

Another reason is the targeting of Facebook’s algorithm and the fact you can create your own audiences that you want your ad to be showed to.

Both of these ad services are useful and can take a while to learn, but once mastered, you can use them both for the best results.

4. SEO

SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is a series of techniques that help websites rank for keywords in the search pages. The better the rank, the bigger the website traffic.

seo - search engine optimization - seo as low-cost marketing strategy
SEO by Templune

If your website isn’t optimized, chances are, no customer will ever find you, hence the importance of SEO. This low-cost marketing strategy is completely free, but there is a catch – it takes a while to learn.  

There are two kinds of SEO – internal (on-site SEO) and external (off-site SEO). The former deals with the content that is on the website, such as copy, descriptions, loading speed, and so on, while the latter is concerned with factors outside of the website, such as links, shares, mentions, etc. Using these two types of SEO correctly is crucial for every website, no matter what they’re all about.

There are numerous SEO techniques that can help you get a better ranking in the search pages. But before you start with anything, we recommend you learn how to use Google Analytics. This free service of Google’s is world’s most used web analytics tool and will help you learn more about your visitors, website performance, and how you can improve your website in order to get the best results possible.

website performance
Website performance by PhotoMIX-Company

After setting up Google Analytics, focus on your website’s performance. Making your website fast and easy to use is of huge importance because search engines love everything that makes the user experience better. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile, or responsive since the majority of web traffic happens on phones these days.

Afterward, start doing keyword research to see what people are looking up related to your niche and start incorporating those keywords into your website. This way, when people search for something related to your business, they will have the chance of finding you.

Blogs are a huge SEO boost, so if your business allows you to run one, you’re in luck. A blog gives you the chance to provide people with quality content, which helps trust and brand building. It is also more than useful when it comes to keywords and ranking because the more topics you can cover, the bigger the chances of people finding your website. Search engines love quality content that is of use to people and experts don’t say ‘content is king‘ for no reason.

blogging marketing strategy
If you have the time, start a blog | Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

When it comes to on-page SEO, make sure to use headlines, subheadlines, meta tags, and keywords appropriately. This entails writing headlines that are accurate to the content of the pages, smart use of keywords (never keyword stuffing), accurate meta descriptions that will let people know what the page is all about, as well as proper page formatting.

Off-page SEO involves guest blogging, quality backlinks, social media activity, and a well-made and optimized Google My Business listing can be a huge off-page SEO boost.

As you can see, SEO is a serious business that involves a ton of work and can be challenging to learn,  but it more than pays off to learn it.

5. Content marketing

We already mentioned the importance of content in one of the previous paragraphs, but a sentence or two doesn’t do it justice. Content is the main focus of content marketing, another low-cost marketing strategy, which helps you build relationships with your readers and customers, and enables you to learn more about writing, your audience, and their interests.

content marketing
Content marketing | Photo by Tumisu on Pixabay

Has a brand that you like ever posted a funny image that made you chuckle? That is an example of content marketing. This way they’re connecting with their audience and building trust.

Content marketing is all about creating high-quality content for an audience that involves their interests and is about topics they want to read about. It is a long-term strategy because you won’t get hundreds of readers and followers overnight with only a single post.  

It involves a number of different formats: how-to articles, infographics, case studies, reviews, Q&As, guides, blogs, videos, user-generated content, as well as memes and giveaways.

To get the most out of content marketing, start a blog and make social media accounts on every platform that your target audience is on. If you already know everything about your target audience, your job is immediately much easier.

If you don’t, Google Analytics can help you with this. We recommend creating a buyer persona, which is a document that contains valuable information about your ideal customer.

That information includes their goals, values, age, gender, marital status, location, occupation, income, and so on.

creating buyer persona
Collect as much information as you can on your buyer persona | Source

After you learn about who your customers are, start writing quality articles and share them on social media with your followers, who will then share it with their followers.

Different groups prefer different content, and the difference is most prevalent when it comes to people of different ages. Here’s a great article about age groups and the content that they like.

Younger generations appear to prefer shorter content (especially video), with Generation Z loving memes and quizzes, and Millennials being more into short blogs and beneficial content. Older generations, on the other hand, prefer testimonials and reviews and longer and more detailed text.  

6. Social media

Social media marketing is the last on our list of low-cost marketing strategies. As we already mentioned social media pay-per-click marketing, this chapter will be all about posting on social media.

social media marketing
Social media apps | Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

Posting on social media is free, and no matter, if you’re planning to run social media ads or not, having accounts for your business, is of significant importance.

Having profiles that post regularly shows your customers that you care about your image and allows them to interact with you. It helps establish a relationship with your customers, as well as build trust and loyalty.

Use social media to share your blog posts, post content that you know your followers will like, but also promote your products and services.

Whenever one of your products is back in stock or you have a new one, make a post about it on social media and share it with your followers.

In the post, include a picture of your product and some of the most important benefits that will be of use to people.

use of social media - facebook on a screen - facebook on a laptop
Use social media to interact with your followers | Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Aside from this, you can also post images, memes, polls, questions, make giveaway posts, inform your followers about sales and special promos, the possibilities are numerous.

Don’t forget about responding to your followers’ private messages and take the time to reply to their posts whenever you can.

Additionally, encourage them to post their experience with your products and ask them if you can feature them in user-generated content.

By doing all this, you’re showing your followers that you care about them, and in return, they will share your posts and tell other people about your business.

7. How are phone interviews low-cost marketing?

In recent years, we have witnessed mobile devices becoming more widespread around the world.

Not only is the number of people using mobile devices growing, but the number of activities performed by using them has also increased, whether it is watching videos, browsing websites, or shopping. 

Internet access via mobile devices has become common in both developed and emerging markets.

Mobile devices have enabled consumers to interact with brands, and the advantage of their use has enabled low-cost marketing.

They have allowed for closer feedback and a closer relationship between consumers and manufacturers and more natural real-time responses.

telephone - phone interviews - low cost marketing
Telephone interviews are a low-cost option. | Source

Due to all of the above, telephone interviews have become very cost-effective compared to other methods of customer surveys.

Some other interview methods cost much more. Consequently, phone calls lasting 5 to 10 minutes cost relatively little.

In this way, it is much more profitable for small businesses to conduct 400 to 500 surveys through telephone interviews, compared to the amount of money they would have to set aside if they had to send questionnaires by the post office to each of the respondents.

Traders can also complete telephone interviews relatively quickly. They only call until they reach their quota.

Also, this contributes and saves time because this direct way of communication allows traders to get the desired information immediately after the end of telephone interviews.

8. How to low-cost email marketing?

Before we introduce you to low-cost email marketing tools, take a look together at what email marketing is

Email marketing is actually the use of email as a channel to promote products or services.

A better definition of email marketing is to use email as a channel to develop relationships with potential customers.

Marketing trends are subject to constant change, but one of the marketing channels that retains its form is email.

gmail - email - email marketing
Email marketing can be a low cost option. | Source

Whether you are new to email marketing or well versed in email marketing, you are aware of how many challenges you have to face to create an email that will motivate customers to take action.

Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that all email tools are expensive and they are not willing to invest in email tools.

However, email tools do not necessarily have to be expensive. There are a number of free email tools that can save you time and money. 

Today we will introduce you to some of them, keep reading! 

  1. Sender 

The sender is one of the best email marketing tools, and it contains features that ensure that your message will end up in the recipient’s inbox.

With Sender, you will be able to create amazing newsletters. Select one of the provided templates, then add elements such as images, video, and text. To make an even bigger impact, you can personalize the email for each recipient individually. The sender gives you information about who opened your email, who clicked on the link within the email, at what time, etc. 

The free version offers up to 2,500 subscribers and sending 15,000 emails per month.

  1. Omnisend 

Omnisend is a marketing platform for webshops, which brings together all communication platforms in one place. The free version of Omnisend only includes email features, which will be enough for marketing small and medium businesses.

Insight into customer behavior, provided by Omnisend, is comprehensive, and you can use it to send more relevant marketing emails. You can add “scratch me” cards, discount coupons, or free gifts to the newsletter.

 The free version offers sending up to 15,000 emails per month, and a maximum of 2,000 emails per day.

  1. SendPulse

The SendPulse platform is very popular in email marketing.

There you will find a multitude of professionally designed email forms, which you can easily customize to your needs, with simple mouse strokes.

You can automatically send created emails at a time you specify, based on the behavior of your customers or depending on your goals. SendPulse has a feature that ranks your subscribers by activity, so you can easily find out who your most valuable subscribers are.

It provides insight into the click-through rate, the rate of read and unread emails for each subscriber individually. With the SendPulse tool, you can personalize emails by name, gender, date of birth, age, and business profile of the user. 

The free version offers up to 2,500 subscribers and sending 15,000 emails per month. 

  1. Benchmark Email 

Benchmark Email is a great tool that will make it easier for you to create emails that people will respond to and that will look great, regardless of the type of device on which they are displayed.

When adding images, you have the option to edit the images on the platform itself. You can add text, stickers, and various effects to make your message as impressive as possible. 

The free version offers up to 2,000 subscribers and 14,000 emails per month. 

  1. MailChimp 

You have probably heard of MailChimp, one of the best email marketing tools. What sets MailChimp apart from other tools is the smart referral feature, which gives you insights about your audience, in order to optimize your email strategy.

Creating emails is easy with the Content Manager function, where you can save images and files for later use. MailChimp allows you to send welcome emails, order confirmations, reminders when users stop shopping, and more. The free version offers up to 2,000 subscribers and sending 10,000 emails per month.

Other low-cost marketing strategies

These are four low-cost marketing strategies that are redirected to what is most important to you – the people who are your target group!

  1. Networking

Networking is one of the most important low-cost marketing strategies available to anyone. We first introduce you to the LinkedIn platform entirely dedicated to networking.

First, you should add approximately all the people you have shaken hands with or talked to, including customers, similar businesses.

By building a personal brand through LinkedIn, you can also promote the brand of your company. 

linkiedin - networking - low cost marketing - man sitting in a chair - laptopt on a table - office - window
LinkedIn is perfect for networking. | Source

LinkedIn is not the only way to network. Networking is a way of thinking where you put emphasis on people.

By putting people first, you can determine what you can do for that person. You can then present your business to a wider audience in a very effective way.

The best part of networking is that you can engage in it anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Start using every opportunity that brings you in touch with new people

  1. Build partnerships 

By building a partnership, you can present your company to the clients of another company, and expect the same from the opposite company.

Due to that fact, this is another low-cost marketing strategy. This is especially beneficial for local businesses as it fosters a sense of community and support within the community.

People are extremely receptive to recommendations coming from companies they already trust and with which they have had positive experiences.

  1. Ask for reviews 

The only thing people pay more attention to than what Google has to say about you are the reviews previous customers have written about you.

What your customers have to say about you is the best indicator of possible future clients’ experiences with your company.

If someone is willing to take the time to write a review, they are likely to recommend your company to their friends and family in the future.

Which marketing strategies are the most appropriate for a low-cost business?

Let’s look at things realistically, marketing is usually very expensive.

With such a strong impression left by digital marketing, it may seem like the only way to succeed is to buy ads or pay for SEO services.

Although both of these methods are very popular and useful, there are also some marketing strategies that are cheaper or even free.

The Internet is the fastest growing medium ever. While television and radio took too many years to reach the target group, the internet managed to do so in just four years.

That is why it is not surprising that it is easier for people to live without a TV or radio than without the Internet.

social media - low cost marketing - social media icons - smartphone
Social media are perfect for low-cost marketing strategies. | Source

It all comes to the fact that social networks are an indispensable part of a marketing strategy, which is cheap and easy to use.

Anything you can do on your own, without anyone’s help, whether you’re a marketing expert or know nothing about marketing strategies — is a low-cost marketing strategy.

Audiences today love when they can express themselves publicly and when there is someone to hear it, which was not possible in the case of television advertising.

By not being present on social media people won’t know how great your job is, you won’t know what your customers are saying about you online, and you won’t be able to communicate with your target audience.

In addition, traditional advertising, such as television, is much more expensive than advertising on social media and cannot instantly put an announcement about your new product or service.

You can also easily find out what your competition is doing through social media.

Two-way communication, quick feedback, increasing product or brand recognition, strengthening e-commerce, successful launch of new products are just some of the positive aspects of marketing on social networks.


The answer is simple — social networks are the perfect marketing tool for low-low cost advertising. They are very affordable and easy to use.

To conclude – the longer you wait, you have an indirect loss for your business. Social media marketing, when done properly leads to more customers and increased traffic.

Wrapping up

There are 8 low-cost marketing strategies that we recommend you use this year: referrals, forums and groups, pay-per-click advertising, SEO, content marketing, social media, telephone interviews, and email marketing.

All of these strategies are long-term and can take a while to learn and yield results, but they are more than useful in the long run.

Good luck learning these low-cost marketing strategies!

Thank you for reading!

Instead of doing the marketing yourself, hire professionals to do it for you

Marija Milosavljević
Marija Milosavljević

Graduated as first in her class. Incredibly quiet and shy until the lag in Warframe turns her into a raging death-bunny.

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