Five low cost, low time marketing ideas for the small business owner

  • 08 Jun 2017

Small business owners don’t always have the time or the resources to sit down and plan an extensive plan  to bring in new customers – so, what’s the alternative?

In this article, we have gathered five key ways your business can start to ‘do’ marketing without any great preparation or planning.

These ideas have been taken  from a range of different marketing strategies and while they seem varied, what unites them is that they’ll cost you very little in terms of expense or time.


Go social

A huge amount of time can be spent working up social strategies and producing content, so why not just experiment with a few ideas instead? What about themed photos, pictures of happy customers? Or time-sensitive and limited offers exclusively for your social followers?

If you find something that resonates – keep doing it.

It’s also important to build your audience. So, start with family and friends, then look out for people who are socially active in your area of business and follow them – they might help generate even more followers for you.


People love free stuff. And why do so many businesses run giveaways and offers? Because it encourages interest and helps bring trade further down the line. So, think about what you could giveaway that won’t break the bank or take all day, but will get new people thinking about your business.


Bakers, for instance, why not prepare some delicious chocolate croissants and stand outside your shop during the morning commute so people can get a taster on their way to work?

A giveaway doesn’t just have to be a taster of your products. It could also be you giving over some space to a community group or pop-up business that will bring new people through the door.


Marketing isn’t all leaflets and giveaways, sometimes you’re going to have to get out there and talk to people. It will cost you no more than the price of a bus ticket to travel to a networking event and the time it takes you to do the rounds.

Find smaller, free face-to-face networking events for i) businesses in your area ii) businesses in your sector – and then set yourself a goal of talking meaningfully to at least three people before you leave.


Networking is a great way to get your name out there, grow your reputation, and build important business ties that help you grow your business. It’s also a good for refining your business pitch.

Simple emailing

Encourage people to join your mailing list by offering a monthly prize draw in return for an address or, simply, ask customers for their address so you can keep them up to speed with what you’re doing.

Once you have a good handful of addresses, get set up with an email marketing service. MailChimp is a good one and, like most others, it has a simple-to-use service that allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month for free if you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers. That works out as 12 emails a month if you have 1,000 contact or six a month if you have 2,000. The fewer contacts you have, the more emails you can send.


Most email services also offer a range of templates, so your emails can look good without you having to invest lots of time or effort. Simply, upload your contacts, write your email, and send – then you’ll be underway with your new email marketing programme!

Partner with a local business or club

Is there a local firm that offers a complimentary but not competitive business to yours?

If you sell soft furnishings for the home, then what about approaching the local furniture shop to see if you can offer deals to each other’s customers or, at the very least, drive business back and forth with cross-promotion?

You could have their furniture in your shop and your rugs and cushions on the furniture in their location.

It’s simple – and it could work for you.

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