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5 Little-to-No-Cost Online Marketing Ideas for All Types of Businesses

As an entrepreneur, you should know by now the importance of word of mouth. That is, you have to get everyone talking about your products or services. Otherwise, they won’t sell—a nightmare for all businesses!

ICYDK, consumers are likely to make a purchase when they have a solid understanding of what your products or services do and how they work. Whether you’re starting selling stickers online or selling your service such as web design. Online marketing is the most effective way to convey this value proposition to your target audience.

Why Focus on Online Marketing?

Online marketing is a modern take on word of mouth. It refers to promoting your products or services with existing and prospective customers through the internet and other forms of digital media. Apart from increased brand awareness, online marketing also lets you enjoy these benefits:

  • Cost-Effective. It can be difficult for small- and medium-sized establishments (SMEs) to compete with big companies. Unlike many SMEs, big companies have money to spend on TV ads, radio spots, and other traditional marketing methods. Online marketing puts all businesses on the same playing field. There are online marketing methods that are easy on the pocket but have the same success rates as expensive ones.
  • Traditional marketing methods may be effective but hard to measure. Even if measurable, they also don’t give accurate results. In contrast, most, if not all, online marketing methods employ a tracking system that allows you to accurately monitor your campaign results. In doing so, you can identify what’s working and what isn’t, thus allowing you to introduce improvements to your campaign.
  • Better Leads and Customer Acquisition. Internet users in the United States continue to grow. As of writing, there are about 307 million internet users in the country. Further, recent research shows that the average time spent on the internet per person is 413 minutes daily. Online marketing gives you an opportunity to tap into these remarkable figures.

How to Market Online for Little to No Cost?

Indeed, marketing is a key ingredient in the success of your business. Even so, it can take up a large portion of your budget. Not to worry, though! A startup and SME owner on a budget like yourself can still promote products or services with little time, effort, and money. Here are some ideas you can try:

1. Create a Google My Business Account

Google processes over 100,000 searches per second. You can capitalize on the astronomical number of Google searches by signing up to use Google Ads.

Google Ads allows you to create digital ads to reach online users who show interest in the products or services you offer. Basically, your ad appears on Google’s search engine result page when online users type in keywords related to your business.

Besides its massive reach, Google Ads is budget-friendly. You decide how much you’re willing to spend monthly and when to stop. Its features can be a little overwhelming, especially for beginners. Nevertheless, you can partner with a pay-per-click marketing specialist.


2. Host a Social Media Giveaway

People love to receive free stuff. Some would even do anything to get their hands on freebies. Psychology Today points out that consumers often overlook hidden costs when pursuing zero-priced options.

You can use this scientific fact to your advantage by hosting a giveaway on social media. You can set a minimum spending condition for your followers and subscribers to qualify for a gift set. Another good alternative is to give away your products or services for free in exchange for social media engagement. Either way, you’ll experience a boost in reach and sales.

3. Produce Video Tutorials

Dwell time, which is the amount of time online users spend on your page after arriving from a Google search, is an important Google ranking factor. The dweller time, the higher you appear on Google’s search results page. Video tutorials are a brilliant investment for lead generation as they can increase dwell time on your page.

Video tutorials can also affect consumers’ purchase intentions. More specifically, a 2019 study shows that perceived information volume positively affects consumers’ perceived value, which explains why they are willing to buy a product when presented with a video on how to use the same.

mystery boxes

4. Sell Mystery Boxes

Should you throw away products or services that don’t sell well? Of course not! Doing so would be a waste of resources.

There are many ways to discard them and still make money. You can give your slow-moving products or services as freebies in your social media giveaway. Another way is to sell them online as part of a mystery box.

Data and science support the effectiveness of mystery boxes as an online marketing strategy. According to Strategy, mystery boxes induce fear of missing out. As a result, consumers, mostly younger ones, make reactive purchases. A 2022 study further explains that the uncertainty of mystery boxes arouses curiosity, which triggers their desire to complete information by making a purchase.

5. Start a blog

Blogging is an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. Plus, you can start one for free.

You don’t have to write long and complex blog posts. You just need to write content that your target audience craves. You can get this information by analyzing what they usually search on Google.

Equally important, don’t forget to incorporate the keywords you’re targeting into your blog posts. Also, do it naturally if possible.


Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Thanks to the internet, you can promote your products or services at little to no cost. The trick is to effectively communicate your value proposition to your target market.

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