Top 10 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for Startups

Niku Mandal Niku Mandal Varad Kitey Varad Kitey
Sep 17, 2021 9 min read
Top 10 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for Startups

In marketing, you have to spend money to make money. However, the rise of social media and digital marketing has made it easier and quite inexpensive to market a business. Even small business owners can be creative with their marketing ideas and strategies. They can reach targeted customers with effective and low-cost marketing ideas for startups.

Creative marketing strategy is very essential for any business, be it a large corporate or a local business. Advertising is the core of marketing, so it becomes important for the decision-maker to form such a marketing mix that leads to maximum profits and a large volume of sales. Advertising is often considered to be an expensive approach to reach a wide customer base.

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In this article, you'll find the best low-cost marketing ideas for startups that could help to market your business.

1. Google My Business Account
2. Content Marketing
3. Business Cards
4. Be a Sponsor
5. Social Media Marketing
6. Search Engine Optimization
7. Build Your App
8. YouTube
9. Participate in Social Events
10. Referrals


1. Google My Business Account

Creating a Google My Business account can make your business show up in Google searches and people can easily find you. Your business will also be visible on Google maps which is a plus. Moreover, it will help you to have a market without spending a penny.

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2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the least expensive marketing strategies that is focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience on the internet. And it is often used by businesses to attract and generate leads, expand their customer base and increase their online sales. It does not require a large chunk of investment. There are many approaches you can use, such as setting up a blog for your business where you can add new and interesting content every few days that keeps your readers informed and entertained.

Infographics, videos, podcasts, ads in newspapers, posters, etc. are such startup marketing ideas that pertain to content marketing when they are uniquely and interestingly used to grab the attention of the customers. For example, Amul uses clever ways to bring up social topics in their promotional posters. The use of social commentary is a very engaging tactic as people have opinions about them. They react more and that leads to increasing engagements which are very beneficial for a business, even if the reaction is controversial.

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3. Business Cards

Having a business card for your business shows professionalism to your customers. A creative business card is necessary to make you stand out in comparison with others. A smart businessperson always carries a reasonable amount of business cards with them and hands them out while meeting new clients and potential customers. You can distribute business cards in the hands of anyone who can help you in your search for new leads/clients. This increases the rate of recommendations and thereby resulting in an increase in customer engagements.

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4. Be a Sponsor

Depending upon your target market, you can choose the type of event you want to sponsor. It is highly effective and allows your business to shine. For instance, college fests are an appealing measure to promote your venture. You are allowed to set up stalls in a space that guarantees you a young crowd. The stall can be of food, jewellery, clothing, games or even contests that pertain to your business. The departmental fest also uses sponsors where you are featured on its posters, online campaigns and even sample distribution at their campus.

A cultural event happens often in auditoriums that facilitate a huge audience. You can use that event’s sponsorship to promote your business. It is a considerably low-cost idea of advertising that yields a lot of engagements and promotion.

5. Social Media Marketing

When it comes to low-budget marketing ideas, one cannot ignore social media marketing. Social media is a huge platform that provides you with the potential of accessing a customer base that can reach even millions, for free. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit has allowed you to find out your target audience and build your community.

The cost of setting up an account/page on these platforms is zero. All you need is to put up content that is relevant, interesting, creative and engages audiences. It is the cheapest form of advertising that exists out there, and if you tap into it with the right advertising strategies then the sky is the limit.

People spend a lot of time on social media and so when they see an attractive ad about a shoe or trousers, they are instantly captivated and interest is aroused at that very moment. If the deal is offered at a tempting rate/quality/design then there is a high rate of a sale taking place. You can link the ad to your website or your app which we will discuss in the next point.

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6. Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), one of the cost-effective digital marketing strategies for startups of getting pages to rank higher in Search Engine Result Page (SERPs).

In other words, it is a method to grow your business by the efficient and effective use of available resources thereby improving the quality of your website. It is a bit technical but you take a course on it in order to understand the basics and how it works. SEO is the best way to increase the visibility of traffic to your website.

You have to identify keywords that could attract high traffic to your website. You can avail of online consultancy for the same. The reason, it is smart advertising is that instead of cash investments it requires effort and time. To understand, comprehend and formulate strategies that are unique compared to your competitors. Also, understanding the latest trends and updates regarding the search engine algorithm updates.

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7. Build Your App

Having an app for your business results in building a good brand image and trust of the customer. Β People will be resistless in making the final purchase. It requires very little expense to set up a mobile application, and today there are tremendous amounts of apps that people use. You can infuse it with your creativity and make it unique. But make sure to optimize it for your audience.

So, when you have your app in addition to a website, the traffic on your online website can have prior experience and knowledge about your startup and then resorts to downloading your app, which results in many benefits. Like you have now access to some information of your customer, i.e. their email address or contact number, and can notify them about your offers or discounts.

It also leads to a direct relationship with the customer, and now you can monitor their purchasing patterns, and they can scroll through your attractive offers now and then. It will also build trust with your customer because the online method in an app is safe. Building an app is expensive if you hire a professional for it. But if your friend has app-building knowledge, you can partner with them by offering shares of your startup.

8. YouTube

Now that we are exploring our way through e-commerce, let’s discuss this appealing option as well i.e. YouTube, the second-largest search engine after Google and one of the low-cost marketing ideas in India.

Many businesses engage in advertising on YouTube. They get in contact with other YouTubers and enter into a contract where the influencer will talk about its product/service and the number of viewers is the potential customers. Usually, the investment is high, but not always. For a comparatively smaller startup, you can reach out to regional YouTubers that have a considerable amount of subscribers, not necessarily in millions, and make them promote your business.

YouTubers upload creative content on the platform, and there are creative ways to sneak in product placement in a very interesting manner. Even a small influencer can lead to a lot of benefits to your business. It is an unarguably cheaper way of advertising than paying high profile actors to do an ad campaign that airs on TVs. You can even create your own YouTube channel where you talk about your product/services, its benefits and usage, etc. and make the audience aware of your business.

9. Participate in Social Events

Actively volunteering for social events can make your brand look better and people can get to know you better. It's almost like marketing with no budget. If you have a big warehouse or office, giving it out for these social events once in a while can make you popular in no time.

10. Referrals

A good β€œword of mouth” is possibly the best form of promoting your business. A satisfied customer is bound to think well about your brand and will often be glad to refer it to his friends, family and other acquaintances. You can invest in referrals by doing follow-ups of your existing customer base. Ask them for feedback and if they liked it then suggest it to others as well. It increases the good reputation of the business and the customer feels important. It is a long term advertising strategy as a satisfied customer will most probably make another purchase in future also.


Now that you know various low-cost marketing strategies to grow your business, you can apply these ideas to increase your customer base and can generate more profit. But before proceeding, it is important to understand your audience, their behaviour, and the nature of your business and accordingly apply the one that suits best.


What is the cheapest form of marketing?

Digital marketing or social media marketing is the cheapest form of marketing. You can reach a larger target audience in a cost-effective and measurable way.

What are the low-cost marketing strategies for startups in India?

The low-cost marketing strategies for startups are:

  • Google My Business Account.
  • Content Marketing.
  • Business Cards.
  • Be a Sponsor.
  • Social Media Marketing.
  • Search Engine Optimization.
  • Build Your App.
  • YouTube.
  • Participate in Social Events.
  • Referrals.

Why is marketing strategy important for startups?

Marketing strategy helps the startups for the following reasons:

  • To amplify the visibility of their business.
  • To be able to hook their target audience.
  • To establish a digital presence.
  • To increase sales.
  • To generate profits.

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