It’s an age-old dilemma — you’ll need to spend money to make money, but your finances can’t survive haphazard purchasing. Before you spend a fortune on ads that don’t perform, let’s flip our thinking. There are plenty of promotional techniques that can bring in customers with minimal time or investment. These female entrepreneurs shared the low- and no-cost marketing strategies that they use every single day for business success.
Learn how to leverage social media — without expensive campaigns
Annabel Gatto, Co-Founder, Suitably
We currently leverage TikTok as a no-cost marketing method. It’s been the best platform for no-cost marketing. Every viral TikTok I create leads to new customers. TikTok’s algorithm is optimized to reach individuals who are genuinely interested in the content the user has created. It’s an easy and efficient way to promote your brand for free.
Laura Rike, Pinterest Strategist
I would recommend using Pinterest! The ROI on ad spend is fantastic, but even for no-cost or organic marketing, Pinterest is second-to-none. Many people do not take advantage of the fact that Pinterest is actually a robust search engine. As a result, they miss out on incredible opportunities to drive more traffic to their sites, grow their email lists and even increase sales.
Loriauna Mora, Founder & CEO, Loriauna Marketing Solutions
One of the best free methods I’ve used to promote my business is joining various Facebook groups around my area. Common groups would be “Small Business Connections,” “Los Angeles Neighborhood Watch,” or “Small Businesses in Los Angeles”. Joining a variety of Facebook groups that have regular people – such as neighborhood groups or groups for small business owners – has done wonders for my business as a marketing agency owner. Plus – it’s free!
I just join the groups and write a simple post such as “Hello everyone! My name is Loriauna, I am a Digital Marketing Guru and own an agency. I’ve helped small businesses across California grow exponentially and would love to provide the same service to my community”.
I usually end up grabbing a lead or two, and I post similar introductions in over 10 groups. I also include a photo graphic that shows an outline of what my agency provides.
Danielle M. Jackson, Children’s Book Author, Hello Legendary Press
My no-cost marketing method is utilizing Instagram and Facebook Reels. As an author, I enjoy creating reels to highlight my journey as I build my masterpiece. Reels are a fantastic way to provide content to my audience. I can highlight my writing process, announce a new book or read to a group of kids. It’s also an excellent way for me to gain visibility and followers.
Create visibility for your business
Jess Purcell, Co-founder, Raising Global Kidizens
As a sustainability education company, we hosted free events at local public libraries to spread the word about our products and services. It also provides opportunities for photos, connections with our customers and chances to test out some of our newest products with real students. It’s been quite a fulfilling form of marketing.
Diana Vicheva, Entrepreneur and Editorial Manager, Expo Travel Group
My favorite marketing tool is the trade show. Most events feature dedicated areas and initiatives. They enable entrepreneurs to introduce their brand, pitch ideas, receive immediate feedback and build connections.
Until recently, trade shows were seen as a smart investment rather than a no-cost method to market a brand. The pandemic changed that, prompting organizers to move their events online or adopt a hybrid format. Virtual attendance cuts the costs associated with visiting a trade show (travel, accommodation, meals and so on).
My advice is to identify the relevant events in your sector and take part in the online activities – you can arrange meetings, enter competitions, submit a presentation, become a keynote speaker… There are so many ways for you to shine.
Marina Vaamonde Owner and Founder, HouseCashin
In terms of low-cost marketing methods, one that I really love is sponsoring local charities, school athletic teams and food drives. For a few hundred dollars, you can become a headline sponsor for a back-to-school drive or a food collection for the homeless shelter. This is very effective because people associate your brand with the mission of the recipient charity (e.g. a shelter). It’s a great way to promote your business and build a positive brand image.
Moreover, there’s no lack of charities that need help! Just make sure to focus on local charities so that your employees and stakeholders can see the tangible impact of your donations in their neighborhoods rather than in faraway countries.
Economical tools for communication
Courtney Gilroy, Co-Founder and CEO, OrganicFamilyCEO
Email marketing is an essential marketing tool for our online-based business. For $29/month (ConvertKit), we’re able to set up automated email sequences that trigger based on subscriber behavior, like whether they’ve opened a certain message or clicked a link inside. With a thoughtful email marketing strategy set to autopilot, we’re best able to implement sales psychology and deliver high-value to our ideal clients consistently, which has reduced our marketing workload by hours per week
Lauren Johnson, Co-Founder, BerryLemon
I regularly shout this from the rooftops (i.e., encourage every female entrepreneur I know) to focus on keyword research to create passively converting blog content. Blog content can literally build an empire if you’re strategic.
Before starting my own business, I worked with numerous brands as a worker bee marketer. I soon learned the immense power of harnessing organic (free) traffic with valuable and authentic content. If female entrepreneurs can hone in on keyword research to superpower their SEO blog content, they could capture pre-qualified traffic that passively converts.
Keyword software is very cheap, some are free. Writing content is free. Link acquisition email outreach is free. It will require time though. Still, amazing things come to those who wait. We’re building abundance and wealth here, right?
When you utilize keyword research, you can see exactly how many people are looking for what you have to offer. You can peer into the mind of consumers via this keyword research. You then build your content plan with that research in mind. Answer their questions, add value and position yourself or your product as the authority. Don’t start writing until you have a list of keywords that fit your niche and selling proposition. Then, simply get writing using basic SEO principles.
Conservatively speaking and with some time, you’ll convert around one to two percent of organic traffic if you use the right keywords. If you get just 10,000 eyes on one single piece of content, that’s 100-200 passive monthly sales from one strategic blog post. Keep in mind that these are conservative and attainable numbers. Some blog posts get hundreds of thousands of hits per month.
Long story short — get writing, like yesterday. It’s the secret weapon to passive income and it’s nearly free. More and more large brands are moving away from spending crazy ad money and investing in organic traffic. Those who aren’t doing that yet are behind.
You can either chase one-off sales or you can create a funnel that captures organic traffic that is already looking for what you’re offering.
Utilize collaboration and connection
Bryttani Graddick, Creator and Founder, HeartWear Jewelry
Borrowing audiences are a great way to build your business and get in front of people who may not have otherwise seen you or what you do. Beyond commenting on the posts of other brands, take that right a step further and find ways to collaborate with complementary brands that serve similar audiences. Whether by providing that brand with an exclusive code or gift, or joining forces to host a Facebook or Instagram Live on a specific topic, the investment is mostly your time, and you’re only limited by your creativity.
Rebecca Newenham, Founder and Director, Get Ahead
Networking has been the most successful marketing method to promote Get Ahead, and it’s surprisingly low-cost. I love getting to know new people, finding out about their businesses and how I might be able to help them. Building up connections is important when starting a business, as you never know who they may know or what services they may need.
Networking can become expensive and time-consuming if you sign up for many different groups, but I have found that trying a few and then sticking with those that you feel work for you is the best strategy. There are two groups that I have regularly attended for years, concentrating my time and financial investment while maximizing my return.
Breanne Millette, Founder and CEO, Bisoulovely
One no-cost marketing method is recruiting friends for photoshoots to promote your product on social media. If you’re working within a small marketing budget, hire your friends to avoid expensive model fees, and you can even be so bold to strike a pose yourself! Consistently publishing fresh product images is the key to building a successful brand on social media.
Jennifer Wiese, CEO and Founder, BeeFree
Focusing on micro-influencers and nano-influencers has been an incredibly effective way to get our name out — in addition to getting new content to cycle through our other marketing campaigns. We began using this method simply because we didn’t have the marketing budget to pay for larger influencers. But we’ve continued to use it because it’s created a group of like-minded people that are always ready to spread the word when we have a new product or exciting announcement.
We send free products their way, and anytime anyone posts on-brand, positive content, we share! We support them and provide other great tools and recipes they could share with their community. These are the first people we reach out to when we have a new product. They organically help us with spreading the word about new content, since we tag them for credit. It’s such a great feeling to reach out to someone new and hear, “Oh, we’ve seen you around Instagram, I’d love to try it!”
Ashley Chubin, COO, FlyHi
So much of our lives is spent on social media these days, so using social media in your marketing strategy seems like an easy decision to make. An even easier decision is to use customer-generated content. Ask your customers to submit pictures or summaries detailing how they’re satisfied with your product or service. Then, post those short testimonials on your social media, tagging the customer in their own post to increase your audience reach each time.
It’s a marketing strategy that’s very easy to manage. It’ll only cost you (or your social media manager) the time it takes to schedule the posts and whatever interactions you deem necessary on the post (and more interactions are always better!). You’ve spent very little on a social media campaign, but your potential customers can easily see how your products fair with their peers. It’s valuable marketing for very little investment.
Read more about lean marketing strategies for entrepreneurs.