Max Impact, Minimal Budget: Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for Startups

Starting a business is exhilarating and full of dreams and possibilities, but when it comes to marketing, sometimes these dreams can hit a budget brick wall. The misconception that high-impact ads and big media buys are needed for visibility and effectivity can be daunting for many a startup with smaller pockets. 

However, with the right approach, startups can create powerful marketing campaigns and practical approaches without breaking the bank, leveraging their agility and creativity to boost the business visibility in the market and compete for customer's attention. 

low cost marketing strategies for startups


In this guide, we'll take you through various low-cost marketing strategies that can help a startup shine in a crowded and competitive market.

We'll talk about these topics below; feel free to jump to any section you'd like to learn more about:


Utilizing Social Media

In today's digital age, social media is on top of the mind for a low-cost and successful marketing for start-ups for building brand awareness. 

With the effective use of socials like Facebook posts, Instagram stories, Tiktok videos, Twitter tweets and LinkedIn posts, among others, which are easily accessible to most of the people with a wide range of demographics in this age, startups can easily reach a bigger crowd for engagement and visibility. 

Know your target market, choose the social media platform appropriate for your brand, and be consistent in your posting schedule. These things will surely help you to be more strategic when posting advertisements for startups online.


Leveraging Platforms Effectively

When you use social media for marketing, the top question is how to use these platforms effectively. 

Firstly, you have to know your business goals and your target market or audience. 

What are the demographics, such as gender, age group, race, and interests of your target audience? 

Secondly, determine which online platform your target market uses. 

Is it Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok for visuals, LinkedIn for professional networking, or Twitter for quick updates? How often do they visit these social platforms?

Once you have determined the target audience and you have decided on the desired platform to be used that would align with your brand's voice, optimize your visibility by creating compelling profiles with clear information about your products or services. 

Use keywords to improve the discoverability of your brand on these social platforms. For visual-based platforms, you may add creative videos or photos that would draw in the interest and engagement of the market in your business. 


Social Media Platforms to Use. Source: Sprout Social

Social Media Platforms to Use. Source: Sprout Social


Engaging with the Audience

The key to social media success is engagement. Be receptive, respond promptly to comments and messages, and spark conversations with your followers. 

This approach does not only increase the visibility of your posts or online advertisement but also fosters a community around your brand. 

This builds good relationships with customers, which would consequently lead to loyal clients who would always come back and support your business. 

Also, when you engage clients, you would be able to pinpoint areas in your marketing strategy that would need improvement and how you can further innovate your products and services to increase marketability to your current and potential future customers.


User-Generated Content Strategies

Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand. 

This organic content is like gold dust as people, in general, want to be heard, and it gives them a sense of importance when you value their narratives on their experiences about your products and services. 

Run user-generated content (UGC) campaigns, share customer stories, and host user polls to keep interactions flowing. 


Understanding User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content, be it reviews, videos, pictures, blog posts, or social media posts, created by individuals rather than brands.

This type of content is incredibly powerful for startups, as it allows for authentic customer voices to shine. UGC acts as a form of social proof, demonstrating to potential customers the real-world application and satisfaction of your product or service.

By encouraging your satisfied customers to share their experiences online, you're effectively amplifying positive word-of-mouth in the digital space. This not only increases your brand's visibility but also builds trust with your audience.

Implementing a UGC strategy could involve encouraging customers to tag your brand in their posts, sharing testimonials on your platforms, or even running contests where customers submit content for a chance to win something. Remember, the goal of UGC is to foster a deeper connection with your audience by showcasing real stories from real users.


user generated content


Always remember that marketing strategies that foster interaction with clients are very effective in a way that makes your customers feel like they have a voice and that they are part of the success of your business. 

Again, this kind of engagement with the customers builds their loyalty to your business.


Content Marketing

Content marketing is about providing value and building a relationship with your audience. 

It's a strategy not bound by the weight of your wallet; impactful stories can be told on any budget to connect with your target market and promote your business.

Remember: humans are wired to connect through stories. 

Your startup's story – the 'why,' 'how,' and 'what' – is a compelling marketing tool to reach out to your target market. Use these narratives in your content to create a bond and loyalty with your audience. 


Potential for Virality

Never underestimate the power of a personal recommendation or word of mouth. Focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience that warrants high praise. 

Encouraging reviews and referrals can magnify your reach and visibility to your target audience, all with very minimal or without any additional marketing expenditure.

Relatable stories tend to go viral, reaching the audience faster and more effectively through social media sharing or word of mouth.


content marketing-4


Blogging and SEO Tactics

A blog is a startup's search engine optimization (SEO) playground. Blogging can be in written or video formats. 

Through articles and video content rich with industry insights, trending topics, effective keywords, and how-tos, you have a chance of ranking higher in search engine results. The higher the rank, the more visible it is to the possible target audience.

Implement basic SEO tactics like keyword research and optimize meta descriptions. 

Determine your marketing goals and target audience before creating these keywords in your blogs. 

Also, these keywords should spark curiosity among existing and potential patrons of your business.  

Guest posting on other websites can also funnel traffic back to your blog and boost your backlink profile.


Native Advertising for Promoting Your Content

On a growth pathway, you may need to promote your best content. One of the best ways to do that is through native ads.

Native advertising is paid advertising wherein your blog posts and articles are promoted in places that your audience already visits, like CNN, Entrepreneur, and Forbes, among others, providing a more organic user experience that is less intrusive. 

This is a more traditional marketing strategy as it camouflages the style of the content on your chosen platform. For an effective business marketing strategy, ensure the relatability and appropriateness of your advertisement on these web platforms.


native ads for health and wellness


Leveraging AI for Content Creation

One of the most significant hurdles businesses face today is the ability to produce effective content, a crucial element in digital marketing strategies in 2024.

Fortunately, the rapid advancement and proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have democratized content creation in unprecedented ways. AI-driven tools can now assist in generating well-researched, engaging, and high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. 

For startups operating on minimal budgets, this comes as a boon. These AI platforms offer a cost-effective solution by automating part of the creative process, from generating ideas and drafting posts to optimizing content for search engines.

With AI, businesses can maintain a consistent content output without the need for extensive resources or specialized skills. This ensures that your marketing efforts remain on track, fostering growth and engagement, even in the competitive digital landscape. 


Recommended Reading: What is Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Content That Converts


Networking and Partnerships

There is a saying that no man is an island, and this is very true in the marketing world. 

Success in business often hinges on who you know and who you collaborate with. 

For startups, forming connections with industry peers who are already known in the market can be a potential partner in promoting your business.

Participating in social events, conferences, webinars, and industry meetups is networking on steroids to meet possible business partners. 




During these events, share your expertise, highlight the products and services that you can offer, exchange ideas, and collect business cards like confetti. These tangible connections are invaluable and can lead to fruitful partnerships, collaborations, business exposures, or press mentions.

In line with networking and partnerships, join forces with other startups or complementary service providers for a win-win partnership and have mutual benefits. 

This can double the marketing firepower through co-branded campaigns or shared resources. Also, collaboration with effective partners can reach a wider range of your target market for your products and services.


Creative and Unconventional Approaches

From the conventional marketing approaches that we have mentioned awhile ago in this article like the use of social media, blogging, native advertising, networking and partnerships, we will also tackle the possible creative and unconventional approaches in marketing wherein you can show more of the creative and artistic fun side of promoting your products and services. 


The use of guerrilla marketing tactics or street marketing gives the element of surprise to the target audience to grab their attention and curiosity about your products and services. 


It is perfect for startups to make an impactful impression and cost-effective splash in the market. These days, usually, the more unconventional marketing strategies that you use, the more viral and more effective your advertisement is.


Street Art and Installations

Make use of simple chalk drawings, wall murals and graffiti, or interactive displays that are eye-catching, and they would definitely prompt passers-by to stop and engage with your products and services. 

In the modern world, an artistic or interactive twist to your sidewalk advertising will make anyone, no matter what the demographic is, take a photo or video and post on their social media, which would then reach a wider range of potential customers. 

In this way, we can actually combine the conventional marketing strategy (which is making use of social media) with the unconventional approach (which is street marketing) to have a more effective and strategic way of promoting your brand.


graffiti marketing

INTRINSIC Wine Co.'s Graffiti Marketing. Source: EMCOutdoor


Flash Mob and Street Performance

Organize flash mobs and hire street performers to highlight your products and services in public places. This will surely captivate the onlookers' attention and create excitement and curiosity for your brand. 

This kind of attention-grabbing strategy will usually make its way through word of mouth or social media (once again). 

For this to be effective, you need to know your target market and the right places to perform for greater visibility. Ensure that the content of the street performance per flash mob is what you would want your brand and services to be portrayed in the public eye.


flash mob


Viral Campaigns on a Budget

Content that resonates with the masses can go viral, which, in turn, provides free marketing on a global scale. 

Making viral campaigns doesn't have to be expensive – remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Think about ways to start a viral trend that connects back to your brand or values.

These viral campaigns don'tneed to be super strange or out of the box. Campaigns that spark strong emotions or relatability of the potential customers to your brand, creativity, customer engagement and fun ways to advertise your business is the key for these viral campaigns to spread like fire in whatever marketing platform that you would want to choose.


Engagement-Driven Social Media Challenges

One effective method I've noticed brands adopting on platforms like Instagram and TikTok involves creating engagement-driven challenges. 

For instance, a fitness apparel startup could launch a 30-day fitness challenge, encouraging users to post daily workout videos wearing their gear and tagging the brand. This not only fosters community engagement but also serves as user-generated content that promotes the brand's products. 

Similarly, a food-related startup could inspire a cooking challenge, asking followers to create their unique recipes with a specific ingredient and share their culinary creations online using a branded hashtag. These challenges often become viral when they are fun, relatable, and offer incentives like discounts or a chance to be featured on the brand’s main page.


pillow challenge

The Pillow Challenge. Source: Glamour


Interactive Polls and Q&A Sessions

Another strategy that captures attention entails the use of interactive polls or Q&A sessions. 

A tech gadget startup, for example, could utilize Instagram Stories to conduct polls asking followers which color variant of a new product they prefer, or they could host a live Q&A session on TikTok to answer customers' queries about the product's features. 

This not only increases engagement but also gives followers a sense of involvement in the product development process, making them feel valued and heard.

instagram poll for startups

Incorporating these hands-on, interactive approaches encourages followers to actively participate in the brand's narrative, transforming passive viewers into active participants and advocates. These strategies underscore the power of leveraging social media's interactive capabilities to build a community around your brand and drive engagement.


Measurement and Optimization

An often-quoted business adage is you can't manage what you can't measure. This is true in marketing, too. For every strategy you put in place, ensure there's a way to track its performance to monitor the effectiveness of the strategies that you have used in promoting your products and services. 


Tracking ROI

You may use web analytics tools to measure traffic, conversion rates, and other key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Questions like:

  • How many customers came through your social media platforms?
  • How many customers came from paid ads like native advertising?
  • How many liked and shared your content?
  • How many of them bought your product?
  • What is the engagement level of your target market to the marketing strategy that you have used?

These can help measure and evaluate the ROI of your marketing efforts. 

Tracking ROI is important to ensure the effectiveness of your campaign and to determine which aspect you need to improve, retain, or remove in the marketing strategy that you have used to advertise your brand, products and services.


brax dashboard


Leverage tools like Brax to actively monitor the performance of your campaigns, especially for native advertisements and Facebook ads. Brax stands out by offering real-time insights into how your campaigns are performing, allowing you to make agile adjustments to maximize their effectiveness. 

It’s vital to keep a close watch on your metrics to ensure that your budget yields the expected return on investment. With Brax, you're not just tracking clicks and impressions; you're also monitoring more nuanced metrics such as engagement rates, time spent on site post-click, and conversion ratios. 

This comprehensive data collection enables you to precisely understand where your strategies excel and where they fall short, thus providing a clear map for budget optimization and strategy refinement. Monitoring these metrics accurately and efficiently ensures that every dollar you spend is an investment toward achieving your marketing goals rather than just an expense.


A/B Testing Strategies

Want to know which ad copy or email subject line works best in promoting your products and services? 

You can use A/B testing strategies wherein you prepare different versions of your advertisements and compare them against each other to determine which is the better way to reach your targeted market. 

It can be the case that version A is more effective than version B in marketing platform X, but version B is more effective in marketing platform Y. This data-driven approach sheds light on what resonates most with your audience and the platform that you would want to use to reach your target market.


ab testing-1


Iterative Improvements for Long-term Success

Marketing is a living organism that needs constant nurturing and fine-tuning. Based on the data and insights you gather, make iterative improvements to your strategies. 

Continuously monitor the effectiveness of the marketing strategies that you use by measuring your ROI, target market engagement, etc. 

Remember the sting that the only constant thing in the world is change. Whatever marketing strategy that may have worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, so you have to stay agile and be adaptable. 

Continuously seek improvement and be innovative in whatever marketing strategy that you would want to use to promote your brand, products and services.


Recommended Reading: Track Native Advertising Performance: Ways to Improve Your Campaigns



Startups are brave voyages into the unknown, and marketing is the wind in their sails. While big budgets can build big rockets, for many startups, it's the clever use of limited resources that enables them to rocket forward. 

Making your brand visible in the market doesn't have to be expensive. The key is to know your goals and how you want your brand to be promoted. 

By engaging with your audience on social media, crafting compelling content, building networks, and unleashing guerrilla tactics, your startup can build a marketing engine that not only drives visibility but also resonates deeply with potential customers.

The key takeaway is this: in marketing, money can't replace imagination and innovation. With ingenuity, even the smallest rocket can reach the stars. 

Brax is well-versed in the language of low-cost startup marketing. If you're ready to take the next step but need a co-pilot to help chart your course, reach out to us. Our team of digital wizards is poised to assist you in your marketing odyssey. Remember, even the grandest of journeys started with a single step – make yours count.