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Frugal Online Marketing for Small Businesses

Updated on May 31, 2010

If you've just started your own small business, you probably don't have a lot of spare cash to spend. The only way to get that cash (other than taking out some drastic loans or lines of credit) is to grow your business. But it probably feels like a Catch 22 - how can you grow your business if you can't afford to market it? Luckily, the Internet offers numerous methods of online marketing that don't cost a lot of money. The frugal small business owner should find these methods helpful for gaining website traffic and increasing customer flow to the business.


Your small business simply has to have a website. These days, that's not a very expensive endeavor. Or at least, it doesn't have to be. Instead of hiring someone to design your site, you should take a little bit of time and learn about setting up your own site for your small business. It'll save your money in the immediate sense as well as over the long term. Make sure you shop around for inexpensive domain name hosting, but also be sure you get the tools that you need for the site. If your small business needs multiple email addresses, blog hosting or other tools, be sure you get them in the initial package because it'll be more expensive to add them later.

Make use of email

Email is one of the best methods of online marketing and it doesn't cost you much to use it. Marketing having to do with email includes:

  • Make use of the automatic signature. It should include your name, contact information and website. You can also highlight promotions that you're running or specific services in your signature.
  • Contact lists. Email is a terrific way of staying in touch with clients and potential clients. Make sure to include all new contacts in your email address book.
  • E-newsletters. You can create a brief newsletter which you email to everyone in your address book. This keeps your name on people's minds and gives them a reason to learn about what you're doing.
  • Evites. Host an inexpensive event (a lecture, a teleconference) for your business. Send evite invitations to your contacts. Even if they don't come, they notice your name again.


Start your own blog so that people have a good reason to come visit your site or learn more about your business. Visit the blogs of other people who are working in the same industry as you, leave valuable comments on those blogs with a link to your website.

Film your own informational videos

Anyone with an inexpensive digital camera that has video recording equipment can film their own informational videos. These can be put on your website and uploaded to sites like YouTube to give potential customers information about what you do.

Offer discounts for new customers and referrals

It doesn't cost you anything up front and can draw in new customers. Run a simple promotion - 10% off to new clients or 15% off to any referrals that result in business - and advertise that promotion on your website, via email announcements and on websites which support your industry.

The goal of marketing is to increase your business and generate more income for your small business. You'll have to spend a little bit of money to get started but you don't have to spend a fortune. The smart, frugal business owner can take advantage of the free and inexpensive methods of online marketing to get out of the red and into the clear.


Submit a Comment

  • Danielle Farrow profile image

    Danielle Farrow 8 years ago from Scotland, UK

    Thank you for some simple, effective advice!

  • maxjohnson7 profile image

    maxjohnson7 9 years ago from Oregon


    Nice page. There is definitely a lot that can be done online without much money, and especially the tips about e-mail marketing are great.

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