25 low-budget marketing ideas that work

January 29, 2019

Looking for low-budget marketing ideas that really work? Whether you’re gearing up to market a startup or you’re simply seeking affordable ways to market your small business, you can attract more customers with the following 25 low-budget marketing ideas that work.

1. Customer loyalty program. Customer rewards and loyalty programs are great ways to keep customers coming back and cost very little to implement. You can start by printing business cards as loyalty rewards cards that can be stamped with each purchase; once customers make a certain amount of purchases they can be eligible for a discount or freebie.

2. Short-run posters. If you’re marketing an event or making a strong push for a new product or service, print short-run posters and place them in high-visibility public areas to get the word out. Short-run poster printing is budget-friendly because there are no minimum quantity requirements.

3. Partner with others. Partner with other businesses that share your target audience but do not directly compete with you. You can place each other’s brochures in your retail storefronts, stuff flyers in packages you ship, create a special multi-service offer or pool your funds for a collaborative marketing campaign. Partnering lets you expand your reach through channels customers already trust at a minimal level of investment.

4. Banners. Vinyl banner printing is an affordable way to put your message in front of the masses. Print banners to place along busy roadways and near busy intersections, in high-traffic shopping areas, outside your storefront and even near competitor locations. Banners are also excellent budget marketing tools for trade shows and other events.

5. Refrigerator magnets. Print fridge magnets to get exposure every time prospects get hungry or thirsty. Add value so they’ll pay attention to your magnets. For example, you can create magnets that feature local service directories, special offers, helpful kitchen measurement conversions or event listings. Refrigerator magnets are good candidates for partnerships so you can share the investment.

6. Business cards. Business cards are marketing staples: Everyone expects you to have one, and they present an excellent opportunity to succinctly yet meaningfully differentiate your business from the competition. The best part? Business card printing is ultra-affordable, especially when you use free business card templates to make your own online.

7. Rack cards. If you operate a travel-related business, tourist attraction, restaurant or hotel, rack cards placed in strategic locations can be powerfully effective marketing tools. Rack card printing is affordable, too, so you can distribute rack cards in multiple locations, including visitor centers, rest areas, museums, hotel lobbies and restaurants.

8. Bumper stickers. If you have a popular brand customers associate with their culture or lifestyle, they might be happy to place your stickers on their vehicles. If not, you can slap bumper stickers on your own vehicles to promote your business on the go. Design your own bumper stickers online to save even more money.

9. Flyers. Flyers are versatile and affordable print marketing tools. You can place flyers on retail counters, hang them on community bulletin boards and on windows and walls, stuff them in newspapers and even hand them directly to passers-by to promote your business.

10. Packaging inserts. You can print flyers, postcards, sales sheets, brochures and other marketing materials to insert into packages you send. This is a great way to interest existing customers in relevant products, and it costs next to nothing since you’re already shipping their products.

11. Place door hangers in targeted neighborhoods. Door hanger printing gives you the direct-to-customer delivery of postcards without the postage expense — and people must physically handle your door hangers when they remove them from doorknobs. Identify targeted neighborhoods for door hanger distribution. If you provide residential services, be sure to place door hangers on homes near your current worksites.

12. Brochures. Print brochures for a variety of purposes. Use them to help explain your products and services during sales calls or as leave-behinds at events. Place them in targeted locations your audience frequents. You can even send them to customers as part of your direct-mail marketing campaign.

13. Car door magnets. Cheaper and less permanent than vehicle wraps, car door magnets are affordable to print and make it easy to promote your company everywhere you go. You can also outfit your company’s fleet with car door magnets to maximize your exposure.

14. Sales sheets. Staples in B2B marketing, sales sheet printing is a cost-effective way to market products and services to business customers. Whether you’re selling wholesale goods to retailers or promoting business software or services, sales sheets can help close the deal for minimal investment.

15. EDDM postcards. Postcards are cheap to print, but postage can be cost-prohibitive to some small businesses. That’s where Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) postcard printing comes in. EDDM postcards let you reach every address in targeted zip codes for reduced postage fees. You can save even more when you make your own postcards online with an online design tool and free postcard templates.

16. Attend events. Though paying for a trade show booth might be expensive, in most cases it costs little to attend events. Show up with business cards in-hand and work on making connections to market your business at a budget-friendly price.

17. Join networking groups. Business networking groups exist to pass referrals on to one another. Join local groups or online groups designed to introduce new connections. Many groups cost little to join and can yield excellent results. Make sure your marketing tools are up to snuff.

18. Launch a referral program. Offer customers discounts or free upgrades when they refer others to your business. You can add an incentive to do so by giving the new customer a discount as well. Print postcards or business cards that describe your referral program and make sure every customer takes one with them. Alternatively, you can stuff referral cards in shopping bags and shipped packages.

19. Hold contests. Contests can be great ways to engage customers, increase the number of names on your permission-based mailing lists and promote your business to a large audience. All you need is a worthwhile prize to attract new business with contests.

20. Offer a class. If you can teach customers a fun or valuable skill, holding free classes can be excellent ways to market your business for minimal investment. An art supply store might host a wine and painting class, for example, which would introduce students to its products and services.

21. Contact media members (public relations). It only takes a little time to research and build a targeted media list, then send emails with story pitches that naturally tie in with your business. Get mentioned by a major media outlet and your business could explode overnight.

22. Launch a blog. If you do it yourself, content marketing can be a great way to introduce potential customers to your business. Add strategic calls to action for customers to request additional information so you can leverage your content to generate leads.

23. Create videos. Post how-to and other useful videos on social networking sites. You don’t need Hollywood-quality production; all you need is your smartphone to create meaningful videos your audience will appreciate.

24. Be active on social media. Identify where customers spend their time online, then be active in their preferred social media channels. It’s a cost-effective way to market your business. In fact, digital-to-print marketing is one of the most powerful strategies you can employ.

25. Send promotional emails. To do it right, you’ll need to build a permission-based email list. However, once you have the list, it only takes a few minutes to market to the masses, and it requires very minimal investment. Ready to take your business to the next level with affordable, low-budget marketing ideas? Get started with discount printing services today.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.