10 Low-Budget Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business

When talking about successful marketing strategies, many people believe that you have to go all-in to really make a difference for a business. Well, that might be the case for big companies competing with each other, but for small businesses with a tighter budget, that’s never an alternative. In fact, most of the times that’s not even necessary.

With the right content marketing strategy, any small business can certainly stand out without spending all of its money on online marketing. Wanna know how to do it? Read on for our 10 best ideas for your needs!

Online marketing for small businesses tips

1 – Create and share interesting content

Saying this in the golden age of content marketing might seem redundant but it’s always worth to remember it. Why? Because creating attractive blog posts, images, videos and infographic for your targeted audience works as the best advertising in the Internet age. People loving your content will always come back for more and will start acknowledging your brand as trustful, useful and – most importantly – as a referent in its field.

2 – Pay the right price for creative talent – or do it yourself!

Freelancers are a great asset – when their fees are reasonable for your budget. Don’t overpay for professionals or consultants to get the proper job done. Just research your area and find the creative talent that suits both your needs and your budget. You don’t have to hire the best photographer, writer or consultant to achieve the perfect work for your company.

Want a better alternative? Do it in-house! If you have some writing and photo skills or some marketing knowledge, then there are tons of tasks you can do yourself. The rule that you should apply here is: if you can do it, then do it and save the money to hire someone when you really need it.

3 – Turn yourself into a social networking expert

Having great content (AKA having something interesting to say) is just the first step in your low-budget online marketing scheme. After that, you have to get it out there to make some noise. And is there a noisier channel than social networks? Everyone uses at least one of them multiple times a day, so your business definitely has to be there in order to find its audience.

The positive side? Chances are you already know how to use most of them, so you won’t have a problem in developing a publication schedule. The downside? There are too many of them: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and even Reddit are among the most popular. Which one should you choose? You’ll have to find out according to your specific needs and your targeted audience. One thing is sure: don’t divide your efforts but rather focus on two alternatives that suit you the most.

4 – Tempt your potential customers with contests and discounts

Hosting a contest with an appealing prize is one of the oldest tricks in the book but it still is as effective as ever. If you pick the proper prize, participants will start pouring in and it’ll be just a matter of time before you start getting new leads. Just select a digital contest platform and you’re ready to go! Discounts on some of your products are also amazing at generating leads, although it might attract people that will only stay for the discounts. Be that as it may, consider both options to get the word going around about your business.

5 – Don’t throw something away just because

Many companies often redo their images, marketing strategies and ads just to stay modern in the public’s eye. That’s not bad for huge companies but for small business like yours this is just not necessary – it can be really harmful for your budget. Hence the suggestion: you don’t have to abandon the things that have worked for you just to try something new. This applies to practically anything related to online marketing, from blog posts to digital ads. So, recycle the things that have worked in the past and only change or update them when people show clear signs of disinterest.

6 – Don’t forget about traditional marketing channels

And by that we mean e-mail campaigns. Many marketing gurus and experts love to refer to e-mail marketing as an outdated so-2000 kind of marketing. But reality shows that e-mails are as effective as they ever were. They can keep you in touch with your existing customers by updating them on your new offers, products and discounts.

Additionally, encourage new visitors to subscribe to your newsletter – offer them an exclusive content, for instance. In that way, you’ll open a door to potential clients. Just be sure to get in touch with them fairly regularly but not intrusively and with enough charm to interest them in what you have to offer. Make them feel interested in what you have to say and ultimately in what you’re selling.

The same we’ve said here can be applied to other forms of traditional marketing channels, such as print ads and brochures. Just be sure that the channel you decide to use for your business is the most appropriate and a perfect fit for your budget.

Local marketing ideas for small businesses

Although your business can thrive exclusively on the Web and forget about the offline world, combining the strategies mentioned above with an offline plan can certainly make a difference, especially for small businesses.

7 – Team up with other small businesses

We know that getting noticed is pretty hard, especially with big companies garnering all the attention with their huge ads and multimillionaire marketing campaigns. That’s why partnering with other businesses can be such a good option. Combining efforts can result in joint campaigns that can be beneficial for both businesses.

For instance, you can team up with other store and make its customers a special and exclusive offer. Thus, your partner has something extra to give to its clients while you’ll get free advertising among people that might haven’t heard from your company otherwise.

8 – Work on your business’ image

Another aspect you have to take care of is the image your business will show to its potential clients. This is very important so make sure you don’t overlook it. However, you don’t have to overdo it to get perfect results. To achieve that, you’ll have to use your creativity over the big bucks. This means that you won’t have to spend tons of cash in print ads or expensive business cards but rather go with a more affordable an creative choice.

The concept of guerrilla marketing can certainly help you out here. Use your city as your canvas and play with its public spaces to get a cheap ad in an unusual place that will make people turn their heads. If your campaign is innovative enough, you won’t have to pay much for it: your imagination will be the one that gets the attention, not your fancy pricey ads.

9 – Walk the less travelled road

Although studying your closest competitors to see what they’re up to and get new ideas is a great advise, remember that’s pretty important to differentiate yourself as well. So, although analyzing your competition might indicate that certain type of advertising is perfect for the business, you can always try the less travelled road. Once again, think in guerrilla marketing or even in online channels that haven’t been used by your competitors.

Since you know your business better than anyone, you’ll have to decide for yourself when it’s time to follow the herd and when it’s safe to walk alone. If you choose wisely, your potential clients will surely be seduced whenever you decide to break the mold and do something innovative. Of course, also keep in mind that innovation doesn’t mean expensive, so follow your wild ideas as long as they don’t break your business down.

10 – Host an event

Want people to learn where your store is located? Host an event! You can arrange a public class, a brief seminar or a small conference or talk. Just be sure to open your doors for anyone interested and to print enough flyers to hand out around the city. Additionally, dress the store up for the occasion with some charming decorations. Finally, you can give away some little inexpensive reminder with your business name on it, like a balloon.

The idea is for you to introduce your business to everyone that attends and to let them know you exist! Of course, we surely don’t have to remind you to display your products in the best possible manner, since you’re doing all this to show them to your potential clients.

These are just 10 of the many tips we here at L7sto can offer your business. Want to know more? Then make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to learn the latest on how to take your business to a whole new level!

Small Businesses That Rocked Social Media (Examples)

We’ve been saying for years now that having a social media marketing strategy is essential for any business that wishes to take full advantage of the benefits of the Web. Well, guess what? Having it is not enough anymore – and it hasn’t been for a while now. Since everyone got on that wagon, for your business to truly stand out among the hundreds of thousands that populate the Internet, you’ll have to squeeze your brains. In other words, get creative on your online marketing plan or get out.

Fortunately, anyone can have a bright idea to promote a business. Want proofs? Below you’ll find 5 examples of small businesses that had THE idea and knocked the ball out of the park with their content marketing strategies. See if they can inspire you to do the same!

Maes Beer

Selling beer isn’t as easy as you might think: there’s a lot of beer companies out there that live in the shadow of the big brands. That was happening to Maes Beer when they decided to go with a totally creative idea via Facebook. What did they do? They offered a free barrel of beer to any person with the last name Maes.

Of course, people wanting the barrels had to do a little thing for the company: they had to share it with 20 friends. Now, think about it: a company offers you and your closest friends a free barrel of beer. What would you say about them? The campaign was a total success and it even drove more than 7,000 people to change their last name to Maes just to claim a barrel. Besides, the company got over 75,000 likes on Facebook and more than 500,000 visits on its Facebook page in six weeks.

What can you learn from this: your product is your best promotion. Learn how to use it – and even give it away if it’s necessary!


The casual wear designer Uniqlo had created a new line of Dry mesh T-shirts and were thinking about promoting it. Of course, they wanted to make an impact on social networks and especially on Pinterest, the social network of choice for clothing companies. They knew, however, that grabbing the pinners’ attention isn’t an easy feat: they jump from image to image almost aimlessly and without stopping.

So, Uniqlo marketers felt that they had to come up with an idea to increase the chances of pinners finding their new clothes. To do so, about 100 users started pinning images with the new line in a simultaneous fashion. Thus, users logged on at that time started seeing how their streams were hijacked by Uniqlo’s T-shirts and their wide variety of colors. When they scrolled, they saw a dance of tones that were really eye-catching. Pinners were fascinated and Uniqlo reached 55 million impressions and more than 6,000 mentions on Twitter without spending a single extra dime.

What can you learn from this: first and foremost, you should focus your main effort on the favorite social network of your target audience. Second, that knowing what to post and when to post it might prove enough to make a difference.


Many marketers still remember Airbnb’s short film “Hollywood and Vines” as an amazing hit by the rental company. Why? Because they took advantage of the recently-introduced Vine, a new social network that had a buzz of its own to make the company name go from mouth to mouth. How did they do it? By using Vine’s ability to share six second videos to create a full short film of about five minutes.

The company asked for help on Twitter to complete the project. Users had to submit their 6-second videos to the company following an strict list of pre given shots. Of all the submissions they got, Airnbnb picked 100 and their creators got $100 for their collaboration. The result wasn’t just interesting in and by itself: it garnered users and media attention for being the first short film directed via Twitter. Besides, it helped in demonstrating Vine’s creative capabilities and (more importantly) helped the company gain a wide recognition.

What can you learn from this: don’t close the door on the possibility to try new things. Just keep your eyes open to identify potential opportunities for your creative output. An interesting work can really go a long way – and take your business name with it.

Body Form

Body Form had it all worked out. It had the perfect social media marketing strategy and it was sticking to it. But when a disappointed Richard Neil commented on their Facebook page that he was angry at the company for lying to him about “that wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things like bike riding, rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, blue water’ and wings”, the strategy had to be slightly corrected.

Rather than feeling discouraged, Body Form seized the opportunity to use Richard’s joke to release a video response to the comment. Since Neil’s comment was being commented and discussed to begin with, the video went viral in a blink and got more than 5 million views – and the company earned some free publicity that came out of the blue skies.

What can you learn from this: it’s perfect to have a marketing plan but feel free to step out of your way to adjust it as you go. There will be some opportunities down the road you didn’t consider in the first place: be sure to stay focused to identify and take advantage of them.


Software company SmartBear wanted to do something different to advertise their development tools. Rather than just creating a video or ad, they started a little game called “Where’s Dain”, the company’s version of “Where’s Waldo” in which one of its developers took the role of Waldo. Then, they hid Dain in various spots throughout the company’s official site and invited visitors to find and click on him.

Once visitors did that, a Twitter prompt appeared inviting them to join a contest for a T-Shirt by tweeting a message with the company’s Twitter user and a special hashtag. Of course, this shoot SmartBear’s mentions through the roof and increased the site’s traffic by more than a 120%, making the campaign a clear success for its creators.

What can you learn from this: invite visitors to participate in new and fun activities and make sure to include some sort of message that can be viralized. If people are engaged with the activity you’re offering, they’ll likely share the message and your brand will see a significant recognition boost.

Have more stories about social marketing successes? Have you ever tried a campaign like this? Join us on Facebook and Twitter and tell us!

Hashtag: What Is It Good For?

Since being created back in 2007 almost by accident, #hashtags have been massively adopted and used in almost every way imaginable. Although intended to easily organize Internet conversations around a topic, hashtags now exceeded that goal to the point that they are now created to start conversations on their own. So, they’ve grown from being just a filter to become a powerful tool that, used smartly, can be used for marketers and businesses advantage.

Top 10: The Most Viral Video Ads of 2014

2014 is coming to a close, which means it’s time to look back to see what it has left us in terms of video advertising. Companies have really been improving their video ads year after year and 2014 wasn’t the exception. In fact, this year we saw the most-shared video ad of all time which, unsurprisingly, aired just in time to promote the World Cup and got nearly 6 million social media shares. However, that wasn’t the only one that made some noise – there were plenty more videos this year. So, it’s time to watch the best viral videos of 2014 again!

1. Activia – Shakira La La La

This year saw the rise to popularity of trackvertising, a current video trend where a brand associates with a musical artist to release a video that’s both a music video and an ad. Although it isn’t particularly new, this methodology proved to be the perfect fit for Activia, which sought Shakira’s collaboration for the video La La La. The company’s strategy couldn’t be more accurate: tying one of the most popular artists in the world with a social cause (via the World Food Programme) in the World Cup’s eve turned this video into the most shared video of all time.

2. Devil’s Due – Devil Baby Prank

Devil’s Due won’t be remembered as a classic or as an effective horror movie. In fact, it’s one of the poorest attempts in the horror genre we’ve seen in decades. However, and unlike the script writers, its marketing team did something many still remember: a funny prank that was the second most shared video of this year with 2,153,236 shares. Pranks, when properly executed, have proved to be an effective way to get attention. Devil’s Due did just that with a demonic baby and a remote-controlled stroller. Too bad that was the only good thing associated with that name.

3. Nike – The Last Game

The World Cup served as a major platform for companies to promote themselves and, of course, Nike wasn’t going to let the opportunity go away. As it already its tradition, the sports clothing company released The Last Game, a funny animated short starring some of the best players of the teams it sponsors. With appearances from cartoonish avatars from Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Ibrahimovic, the short underlines the importance of the human heart for soccer rather than a bunch of skills. Overall it’s a very entertaining short that was shared 2,151,148 times to become a close third. It’s a shame for Nike that none of the national team it clothes made it to the World Cup finals, but that’s another story.

4. Budweiser – Puppy Love

Years of romantic movies have taught us that love stories sell a lot. YouTube is the proof that people love to watch animals do adorable things. Budweiser just did the math and put one and one together and brought a cute Labrador Retriever puppy with a horse to serve as a bond in a hinted love story. The thing was a sure bet: the video was shared 1,976,253 times and it was the ideal companion for its #BestBuds social campaign.

5. Cardstore – World’s Toughest Job

Cardstore was very clever when it came down to promote its line of greeting cards for 2014 Mother’s day. They ‘invented’ a job opening ambiguously called director of operations, which was also labelled ‘The World Toughest Job’. They received various résumés and they even held some interviews for a job that sounded absolutely crazy. The video that resulted from those interviews was a perfect mix of humor and emotion that was rewarded 1,894,721 shares and the feeling that’s worth to watch over and over again.

6 – Wren – First Kiss

LA-based clothing company Wren really did something different with this ad. With the aid from director Tatia PIlieva and accompanied by the beautiful We Might be Dead Tomorrow by Soko, the brand asked 10 couple of strangers to kiss for the first time while being filmed. The whole ordeal was captured on video and we can see the uncomfortable first moments, the chitchat and, of course, the kisses. Nothing in the video gives away that this is an ad but after watching it for the first time, you’ll surely run off to google Wren – like the people that caught it for the first time when it was shared 1,548,628 times.

7. Always – #LikeAGirl

Another hashtag-focused campaign, Always’ #LikeAGirl is a smart clip even in its simplicity. The premise was simple: ask a bunch of people to do things ‘like a girl’. The results were as expected when the adults were faced to the tasks but things changed when the girls took the spot. The video is one of the best content marketing campaigns of the 2014 not because it was shared 1,482,633 times – but for the way it confronts the watcher with a well-established prejudice.

8. Nike – Winner Stays

With 1,431,422 shares, Nike was capable of putting another video in the Top 10 of most viral videos of 2014. The premise was the same as in video mentioned above, although this time the actual players shot the ad. Though the premise isn’t as strong as the animated ad, this video at least included two players that actually were in the World Cup finals: Higuaín (whose clear failed goal attempt in that match will be remembered by Argentinians for years to come) and Götze
(who actually made the goal that won the cup for Germany).

9. Thai Life Insurance – Unsung Hero

A video from a Thai insurance company is one of the unlikely ads to win a spot among the most viral videos of this year – but it surely deserves it. The inspiring story about the titular unsung hero shows how the little things we can do every day can have an impact on other lives. It certainly might seem simple and clichéd at first, but after watching the video you’re guaranteed to feel otherwise. As they used to say in times of yore, 1,289,592 shares can’t be wrong about it.

10. DTAC – The Power of Love

Another Thai ad closes the top 10 and adds another unlikely winner to this list. Mobile phone provider DTAC resorted to a simple but powerful message for this video: technology can’t replace love. Such conclusion turns the video into a very relatable ad, despite its promotional intentions and the fact that DTAC only operates in Thailand. That’s the primary reason why The Power of Love got 1,101,023 shares and ended up crowning a list of very creative videos.

Do you feel that Unruly’s cold numbers left out some amazing ads? Do you think that there were some viral videos that deserved to be watched again? Tell us which in the comments!

Where Will You Find Your Clients On The Internet?

Saying that the Internet has gotten bigger since its humble beginnings is surely an understatement. From the handful of sites of the early 90s to the more than 1 billion we can visit today, the Web has expanded in spectacular fashion and has given us access to anything and everything we can think of. From a user point of view, this is undeniably fantastic. From a business standpoint, however, reaching the targeted audience sometimes feels nothing short of a miracle.