10 Low-Budget Marketing Ideas For a Startup in 2022

10 highly efficient marketing tasks that require zero budget. Every task has a use case, filters, and a step-by-step guide.

10 Free and Low-budget marketing ideas for a startup
10 Free and Low-budget marketing ideas for a startup

Marketing is hard, tiring, and complex. Paid ads, influencers, long-term collaborations, and billboards are not an option for early-stage startups. They have high costs and take a lot of time to implement.

But is it possible to do marketing activities with ZERO budget? Yes, it is.

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We collected 100 marketing tasks in MakerBox Workbook. The majority of tasks (77) are low budget, 19 tasks are medium budget and only 4 tasks are high budget.

In this article, we collected 10 highly efficient marketing tasks that require zero budget. Every task has a use case, time and complexity estimations, description, and a step-by-step guide. No more excuses, time to market your product.


1. Create a Welcome Email Sequence 📩

Use case: user activation
Complexity: medium
Time-cost: low

Having an email list is a superpower. But if you don’t have a welcome email sequence to nurture users, you are not using it.

This guide will get you going.

Define your email marketing strategy

  1. What content can nurture users to make a purchase?
  2. How many emails is it acceptable to send to your target audience?
  3. What email marketing tool will you use?

Write a welcome email

  1. Repeat your product’s positioning and provide the link
  2. Give light-sale content to nurture users (e.g., case study)
  3. Don’t push users too hard

Write a content email

1. Share insightful content for free:

  • Article
  • Ebook
  • Webinar
  • Checklist

2. Add a testimonial to embed your product organically

Write a storytelling email

  1. Tell about yourself
  2. Why have you built this product?
  3. What is your experience with this problem?
  4. What are your plans for the product?
  5. Engage users with a question that you will reply on
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Unlock the full version of MakerBox Workbook. 100 tasks with step-by-step guides, examples, and additional resources. Actionable Workbook that will boost marketing of your product.

2. Add Parity Pricing 🎲

Use case: conversion
Complexity: easy
Time-cost: low

Not everyone earns a US salary. Get more paying customers by giving dynamic discounts based on users’ countries.

Pick a tool

  1. ParityDeals
  2. Parity Bar

Integrate it

  1. Add to your website
  2. Track the conversion rate after 2 week
  3. Make the decision: turn off or continue

3. Start Doing Product Demo 📺

Use case: user activation
Complexity: medium
Time-cost: low

Nobody can sell your product better than you. So, start offering a 30-minute demo, and your sales will skyrocket.

Plan the demo

1. Ask questions about the customer (5-10 minutes)

  • What is their experience with this problem?
  • What other solutions have they tried?
  • What are they most interested in your product?
  • What questions do they already have?

2. Show your product (10-15 minutes)

  • Highlight the main value before telling about secondary use cases
  • Present key features and describe the value of each one
  • Ask what the customer thinks of the particular feature

3. Ask questions and close the lead (10-15 minutes)

  • Summarize the demo and let the customer ask the questions
  • Ask what pricing is the best for the customer
  • Negotiate the next steps

Promote it

  1. Add it as the secondary CTA on your landing page
  2. Add it to your welcome email sequence
  3. Send a Sales email to reactivate old users

4. Pitch Media with Your Product 📰

Use case: acquisition
Complexity: medium
Time-cost: medium

Publication in media can get you both new users and helpful backlinks. But it’s not easy to get into. So here is a quick guide to doing it right.

Find media

  1. Google “Best media for YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE”
  2. Google “New YOUR NICHE media in 2022”

Find contacts

  1. If they have a submission form, you are all set
  2. If they don’t have a submission form:
  • Find Founders / Journalists on Twitter
  • Find Founders / Journalists on Linkedin
  • Find emails of Founders / Journalists

Pitch your story

1. Write a highly personalized email

  • Compliment for the recent achievement
  • Context why you are writing
  • Pitch of your product (1-2 sentences)
  • Quick social proof
  • Interesting detail that can grab their attention

2. Don’t follow up Founders (ignore means no)

Prepare the content

  1. Share curios details about your startup
  2. Highlight the story of why you’ve built this product
  3. Share data and product visuals

Promote the article

  1. Send it to your email list
  2. Repackage the article into a Twitter thread
  3. Add a media logo on your landing page (press block)

5. Promote Your Product on Indie Hackers 🧑‍💻

Use case: acquisition
Complexity: medium
Time-cost: medium

Indie Hackers is a popular forum among bootstrap founders. If you have a B2C product for Entrepreneurs or a B2B product for startups, it’s a great match.

Get an approved account

  1. To publish content, you need to have an approved account. To make this happen, you need to comment on existing posts for 3-5 days.
  2. Find 5 posts on the front page with < 10 comments
  3. Write in-depth, valuable comments that will get upvotes

Engage in the comments more

  1. Find 3-5 groups that are relevant to your product
  2. Comment on 10 posts daily to get followers and karma
  3. Add value and ask questions. Promote your product organically

Post non-promotional content

  1. Ask questions that 50+ people can answer
  2. Curate and share great content from other creators

Post promotional content

  1. Post a story about why you’ve started building your product
  2. Create educational content around your product
  3. Share revenue milestones with your lessons
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Unlock the full version of MakerBox Workbook. 100 tasks with step-by-step guides, examples, and additional resources. Actionable Workbook that will boost marketing of your product.

6. Leverage Affiliate Marketing 🗣

Use case: acquisition
Complexity: medium
Time-cost: medium

Some media and creators are pumped to promote your product for the sale commission. You just need to find them and offer the partnership.

Find affiliate marketers

  1. Find Creators who already do affiliate marketing for other brands in the similar niche
  2. Find blogs or Facebook groups that specialize in affiliate marketing in your niche
  3. Find Creators who have your target audience and are open to promoting other products
  4. Use affiliate marketers’ directories

Negotiate the deal

  1. Ask if they are comfortable with a 20-30% commission rate
  2. Align the dates and promotion type
  3. Give them a product for free to make a promotion more authentic

Analyze the results

  1. Have you achieved a positive ROI?
  2. Partner with 10 more affiliate marketers to understand this acquisition channel better
  3. Add a page “Become an Affiliate” to your website

7. Launch on Product Hunt 🐱

Use case: acquisition
Complexity: medium
Time-cost: medium

Launching on Product Hunt is the easiest way to get more users. But to make it happen, you need to get into the top 5. This playbook will help you with it.

Plan the launch

  1. Set goals for your launch
  2. Pick the date
  3. Find the hunter

Prepare the content

  1. Pick a name
  2. Write a clear tagline
  3. Choose popular topics
  4. Write a great description
  5. Craft 3-5 illustrations
  6. Write an engaging first comment

Plan the distribution

  1. Announce the launch one week before
  2. Prepare all message templates
  3. Find 50 people who will support you in the first hour
  4. Join Facebook and Linkedin groups to promote your launch
  5. Join Discord and Slack channels to promote your launch
  6. Write posts for Reddit and Indie Hackers to promote your launch

Engage on the launch date

  1. Reply to every comment
  2. Engage in Product Hunt Discussions to get more traffic
  3. Outreach your followers to support you

8. Craft a Marketing Freebie 💸

Use case: user activation
Complexity: easy
Time-cost: high

A marketing freebie is usually a free content product that solves users’ problems while promoting your main product. This approach can generate a lot of “free” users that already trust your product.

Pick a pain point

  1. What problem can be solved with the educational resource in 1 hour?
  2. How does this problem relate to your main product?
  3. Which target audience segment suffers from this problem the most?

Choose the format

  1. Do you need to write, curate, analyze, or visualize to solve this problem?
  2. Do you have a specific platform (Notion, Figma, etc.) that should be aligned with your main product?
  3. Pick the best format for you:
  • Notion Template
  • Airtable List
  • PDF Cheatsheet
  • Video Course
  • Ebook
  • Figma template
  • Challenge

Define the strategy

  1. What is your value proposition in 1 sentence?
  2. What is the marketing funnel for your Freebie?
  3. How will you promote your main product?

Create a freebie

  1. Align the content with your target audience’s Persona
  2. Double down on visuals to make a great impression

Embed your product

  1. Add light promotion of your product in the first session (first 5 minutes)
  2. Add a limited offer to buy the main product
  3. Create an email sequence to nurture your users

Publish it

  1. Use either your website or Gumroad

Distribute it

  1. Add it to your website as a secondary CTA
  2. Run a Twitter Giveaway
  3. Launch it on Product Hunt
  4. Share it on Reddit
  5. Email to your non-customers
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Unlock the full version of MakerBox Workbook. 100 tasks with step-by-step guides, examples, and additional resources. Actionable Workbook that will boost marketing of your product.

9. Get Testimonials From Opinion Leaders 🥇

Use case: conversion
Complexity: hard
Time-cost: high

Feedback from users is good. But people trust opinion leaders way more. Can you get a few testimonials from them?

Find opinion leaders

  1. Whose opinion do people trust in your niche?
  2. What accounts will grow dramatically in the future?
  3. What accounts are more likely to agree to your offer?

Reach out to them with your offer

  1. Engage with their content for 2 days
  2. Write a highly-personalized message
  3. Give your product or service for free in exchange for the testimonial
  4. Follow-up not more than one time

Leverage the testimonial

  1. Add a new landing page block with testimonials from opinion leaders
  2. Add this testimonial to the welcome email sequence
  3. Add this testimonial to your pricing page

10. Update the Pricing Page 💲

Use case: conversion
Complexity: medium
Time-cost: low

People who are interested in your product spend a lot of time on the pricing page. Let’s make it better.

Add value

  1. Repeat your positioning
  2. List key features that customers will get
  3. Add a testimonial that highlights the value of your product

Handle objections

  1. Objections related to the payment
  2. Objections related to the product
  3. Objections related to your company

Update plans

  1. Do you have a high-ticket plan?
  2. Do you have a low-end plan?
  3. Do you have a lifetime deal?
  4. Do you highlight the visual difference between them?

Nudge users to buy

1. Give something free

  • Free trial
  • Free plan
  • Free bonus

2. Give a discount

  • Monthly-annual subscription
  • Limited discount

3. Use psychological tactics

  • Decoy effect
  • FOMO
  • Center stage
  • Charm pricing
  • Odd-even pricing

Conclusion

With MakerBox WorkBook, we converted theoretical and hard marketing into an easy-to-understand and actionable workbook.

We know that it’s hard to find a marketing strategy that fit Indie Products.

MakerBox Workbook
MakerBox Workbook

That’s why we made MakerBox Workbook. 100 battle-tested marketing tasks for startups. Easy to understand description, convenient filters, step-by-step guide to implement it in your product, and examples.

Crush your marketing goals without going crazy. Know exactly what to do in your next marketing week. Check it out here!