10 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses That Need Money Now

marketing ideas

Have you been struggling to get sales on your store? Do you need marketing ideas that’ll actually work even if you hardly have any money to spend?

If you’re a new entrepreneur, you might’ve struggled with Facebook ads. Maybe you got a bit too excited and blew $1000 on your first ad thinking you’d be guaranteed to make money back instantly.

Only to be left with zero conversions.

Or maybe you just lost your job and need to make money fast to pay your bills.

Hey, I’ve been there too.

This marketing ideas article isn’t the short-cut to success.


It’ll test you and force you into hustle-mode.

Meaning, if you want to make money and you don’t have much to spend, you’re going to need to invest your most-prized possession: your time.

So if you have the time it takes to do it yourself, you’ve got some work up ahead. If you stick to it over the long-term you’ll be more likely to reap the rewards of running a profitable store online.

Eventually, once you’ve started making money you can invest your profits into Facebook ads to make passive income. But for now, if you need cheap marketing ideas, this article will help teach you how to make money online with a low-budget.

10 Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses That Need Money Now

Bonus Video 

LinkedIn Marketing – Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

marketing ideas

LinkedIn used to be the social platform for finding a job and professional networking. Today, it’s become a viral platform for getting your message across. It’s one of the best marketing ideas for small businesses. It’s normally known for business to business marketing but the business to consumer potential is still there.

To succeed on LinkedIn, you need to do whatever it takes to excel at content creation. Most of the most viral LinkedIn influencers got their start by writing for LinkedIn’s Pulse blog. Fortunately, anyone can add a blog post to it. Occasionally, when you write a great post, LinkedIn will bump it up allowing even more people to view it. This online marketing strategy is a slow and steady kind of game but you can build your following this way.

The next part, is that you also want to post something every day. Not all of your posts will be home-runs but eventually if you do it often enough you’ll start to increase your audience size. The magic formula usually involves telling an emotional story. The first two sentences need to hook people in to get them to click to read more.

Buuuut, how does this marketing idea make money?

To monetize your LinkedIn, you can add links to your store in your posts and blog content. On day one, you can list your store link in your bio. For example, “Rosa is the founder of AwesomeStoreofStuff.com”. As you start growing your audience size, you can afford to become a little less subtle and add a Shopify buy button to your post.

Remember, the goal of the posts is to add value. If you write an article that only lists your products, no one’s gonna read it or share it.

In a Pulse article, you might promote your fitness brand by writing an article on ‘How to Find the Time to Workout When All You Do is Work.’ Since LinkedIn is mostly a work platform it’s still targeted to the core audience while also being relevant to your business idea. However, the post also connects with your specific audience.

Affiliate Commission for Influencers – Marketing Ideas

This is one of the most cost-effective marketing ideas when it comes to influencer marketing. Most influencers charge between $200-$400 to take a picture with your product and post it on their social accounts.

However, if you’re just starting out that can be a lot of money. Plus, will it convert? There’s no guarantee.

To ensure that you’re not spending more than you have to, you should give Instagram influencers an affiliate link using a Shopify app like Refersion. You’ll need to pay an enticing commission to encourage influencers to incentivize them into partnering with you.

Most affiliate programs offer a 10% commission. However, with an influencer, you’ll want to offer them a bit more than that, about 33% of your product price, which would be about the price of advertising if you do a 3x multiple on your products. For example, 33% product cost, 33% ad cost, 34% profit.

This marketing idea comes with a fair bit of rejection up ahead. It’s a numbers game. That means the more people you reach out to the more likely you are to get a number of influencers who are willing to work out a deal like this.

Stick to smaller influencers to start in the 10,000-30,000 followers range. As you start perfecting your program you can start aiming for influencers with a larger following.

If you already have customers, another marketing idea is to offer your customers discounts or pay them a commission for referring their friends to your store. This can also help increase customer loyalty to your brand.

Create a YouTube Channel – Low Budget Marketing Ideas

low budget marketing ideas

YouTube allows you to make money in two ways. First, you can add links to your store in your description or as an annotation. Second, you can make money with ads.

The average YouTuber posts a new video each week. Video creation can be time consuming. And coming up with great ideas can be hard as you create more videos.

However, the more frequently you post a quality video, the more likely you’re to be found on YouTube.

Creating videos doesn’t need too many resources, especially if you star in the video yourself.

Direct selling likely won’t perform well so you’ll need to be a bit subtle. For example, creating a hair tutorial video and mentioning that the link to the product you’re using is in the description is subtle compared to an entire video talking about the hair tool.

As your following grows, so will your store’s profits and your store’s ad revenue. This low budget marketing idea focuses around execution. The more you create, the more you can gain.

SEO Optimization – Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

When you’re just starting out, you can focus on trying to rank for long tail keywords within your niche. Aim for keywords that have low competition, which you can easily sort by in Google Keyword Planner.

If you’re struggling to get traffic to your store, SEO optimization can help you increase it organically. You can use Shopify apps like Plug In SEO or SEO Manager to optimize the pages of your online store without needing any advanced qualifications.

An SEO focus is a long-term marketing idea but an effective one. They help keep your customer acquisition costs low. You’ll need to spend some time optimizing your product pages and blog content for keywords. However, eventually, you’ll be driving free traffic to your store.

A great way to spike traffic organically is to do ‘content freshness.’ This is when you add a bit more new information, secondary keywords, and remove outdated content from the page. If you do this to your content every few months, you could start ranking higher in search results. Avoid making big revisions such as deleting all the content on the page as this can negatively affect your results.

Local Facebook Groups – Low Budget Marketing Ideas

creative marketing ideas

Facebook groups are a great way to sell products on your online store. You can join buy and sell groups in your community using keywords like ‘Buy and Sell Toronto’ if you’re in Toronto. If your city has small communities you can even use those communities as the keyword to find active people in your area.

You can also create your own Facebook group to build an active community of people within your niche. This is a bit more of a long-term play. You don’t want to oversell to that group as it’ll prevent people from joining and could ruin the long-term effectiveness of the group. You can post a promotional post once a week depending on how active your Facebook group is. You can promote your Facebook group on your website, via your customer email list and in other forums or relevant groups.

Host a giveaway – Profitable Marketing Ideas

Contests and giveaways are an effective way to increase social engagement and gain new customers. The prize you giveaway needs to be compelling enough to draw a crowd of people to want to sign up to win a prize. You’ll also want to include a feature that offers points for people who refer their friends to your giveaway to increase the reach of your giveaway.

After the giveaway has ended and the winner chosen. You’ll want to send an email out to everyone who didn’t win to offer a runner up prize. For this runner up prize, offer a small gift card of $5 that they can use on your store. Make sure that nothing in your store can be bought for free and make sure that your products are priced high enough that you can still make a profit even with the gift card. You’ll likely get a few customers and sales using this strategy.

Take advantage of Ad Promo Credits – Marketing Ideas for Small Business

marketing ideas for small business

Advertising works. It’s a proven way to make money in ecommerce. However, if you’re just starting out, you’re probably looking for marketing ideas for small businesses with tiny budgets. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around this. Advertising networks like Google Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn sometimes offer ad credits for first time advertisers to experiment with advertising on their platform.

Before creating your first ad do your research. You don’t want to blow your free ad credit on a thoughtless ad. Learn the steps to creating a successful ad on that platform. Look at examples of ads with high engagement to understand what a great ad looks like.

  • Google Ad Credit – Get a $75 ad credit with a $25 spend
  • LinkedIn – They’ll email you or send you a notification to get access to their ad credit
  • Facebook – You can get a $50 ad credit

Market on Pinterest – Cheap Marketing Ideas

Traffic plays a huge role in the success of your store. The more traffic you can get flowing onto your website the more likely you are to convert the sale. Fortunately, Pinterest is a powerhouse for driving traffic to your online store. By consistently pinning new content on your account, you’ll

increase the chances that one of your pins (posts) goes viral.

The free traffic alone won’t lead to sales especially if the traffic doesn’t land on a product page. For example, if you pin an infographic from one of your blog posts. So to monetize the traffic from Pinterest, you’ll need to have a Facebook retargeting ad running at all times. That way, if someone clicks onto your link but doesn’t see a product photo, you can remarket to them the second time around to increase conversions.

Partner with another brand – Creative Marketing Ideas

Partnership marketing is a great way to leverage another brand’s audience. You can do this a number of ways. First, you can do this by writing a guest post on another relevant niche blog and including a link back to your website to get free traffic back. Second, you and another complementary brand can do shout-outs on your social media pages to get access to new customers. Third, you can have sister brands where you and a competitor link out to each other on your top navigation of your website.

Ideally, you want to tap into an audience that’s bigger than yours. However, that can be tricky as you don’t want to take advantage of another brand as that can ruin the relationship long-term. Thus, you’ll need to provide something of equal value. If you can’t afford to buy a way into the audience you can trade your time by writing content or helping them with a project that they need assistance with to build a bigger audience. If you dropship event clothing for parties, weddings and other special occasions, why not partner with a company who can match the occasion with a special scent at a discounted price, and vice versa. 

Email marketing – Marketing Ideas

email marketing roi

Email marketing is one of the most low budget marketing ideas with a great return. You can build your email list on your website with an opt-in form. However, when customers order from your store you’ll have a list of customers who are open to receiving marketing information. When you’re just starting out, marketing to your email list can be free depending on the number of subscribers you have. You can send out emails for special sales promotions highlighting certain collections or showcasing your best-sellers for the week.

You can send marketing emails to your list once a day to help increase the odds of landing a sale from your email campaigns. Sending too many emails can lead to unsubcribes. So be sure to make sure that multiple emails aren’t sent to the customer on the same day. For example, if you send emails after purchase or abandoned cart emails as well as your daily marketing emails you’ll want to make sure that the customer doesn’t receive more than one email total each day.

promotional emails statistics


You’ve probably noticed that this list centers around content creation. Content marketing has been skyrocketing over the past couple of years because it works. It can result in the best return on investment (ROI) making it one of the most profitable ways to grow your store naturally. While advertising helps drive instant sales, content creation helps you build a long-term brand by lower acquisition costs and increasing online visibility.

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