By 2026, global advertisement spending is projected to reach $876.10 billion. With this in mind, when thinking about your own business, you may be questioning: are ads important for a brand to thrive?

Before setting up any budget for marketing and advertising, your brand must first think of possible ways to grow sales and a customer base, free of any cost. Is your site SEO-friendly? Are you engaging with customers? Are you giving consumers relevant and trending information, products or services? These are all factors that should be considered before putting money behind paid ads business growth.

So, answering the question, are advertisements necessary for the success of your brand, the initial answer is no. Zero dollar marketing can be the first step towards optimizing your business for successful eCommerce.

What Is Zero Dollar Marketing?

Zero dollar marketing is the strategy of ensuring your business is free of any costs, something that’s specifically handy for small eCommerce companies just starting out with little to no budgets. The aim is to use the available resources in a more thoughtful manner, something that many businesses could benefit from.

This tactic is a great way to grow your sales at no additional cost, as opposed to the budget that usually comes along with other marketing strategies and paid advertisements. If you’re clever about it, you would use these cost-effective marketing ideas alongside your paid efforts to reap the most benefits.

4 Zero Cost Digital Marketing Trends and Examples

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck – or even spending no bucks – there are a few emerging trends that you should be taking note of if you haven’t already.

1. Influencers: Influencers are taking the world by storm. While some may charge a pretty penny, there are lower-level influencers with an impressive following that will be more than happy to work alongside your brand for a trade exchange or even exposure. Yes, the dreaded “exposure”, but, it works. It doesn’t need to be an over-the-top post, a simple mention is more than enough.

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2. User generated content: Loyal customers will always do their best to share your brand with the world, especially if they know that you’ll take notice of it and share it. It could be out of their own free will, or form part of an overarching campaign like Apple’s example below. Not only is it free content, but it also builds brand trust as it comes from an unbiased third party.

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3. Unpopular opinions: Instead of saying everything people want to hear, shake things up and take it in the opposite direction. This stands out in a sea of content and will get people talking.

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4. Page takeovers: Have an industry expert takeover and manage your page for the day. The buildup alone will have people interested, and the actual takeover will drive engagement.

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10 Zero Cost Marketing Strategies

In regards to your own eCommerce brand and how it should utilize zero cost marketing strategies, below are several tips on how to start optimizing your business:

1. Track Customer Behavior: A great method to attract a larger audience and potential customers is through tracking consumer behavior. By researching and analyzing your target audience, you’ll be able to produce relevant content that will likely bring in more traffic. It is inherently cost efficient too as this strategy can be executed using your own data and insights on consumers or by researching competitors’ reports to see how they are adhering to customer needs.

2. SEO: Although this method may be somewhat time consuming, creating and transforming your content to be SEO-friendly should be a priority amongst your zero cost marketing strategies. An effective way of working on this optimization besides having keywords and phrases throughout your site, would be to create a blog page where your company can talk about relevant topics that your audience and consumers will be interested in. For example, makeup company Glossier has recently started an article section on their site, highlighting beauty, fashion, and lifestyle trends that their customers most likely would relate to, as well as intertwining key phrases and linking to relevant sources to improve their Google ranking. Glossier also took it to the next level by creating additional social media platforms on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest, and an email sign-up to promote its blog.

3. Engage: Engaging with consumers is a crucial factor in how fast your brand will grow and how searchable it will become. This tactic needs no budget, meaning your company should be utilizing this to give customers support and have your platforms perceived as a trustworthy, interactive space. NYC’s food delivery service Seamless has taken to Twitter to connect with its followers, using it to promote restaurants and give discounts to consumers in a fun and inviting manner.

4. Crossovers: Partner with other brands for a cross promotion collaboration. All you need to do is mention them in a few of your posts, and they’ll do the same. It’s as simple as that – no budget spent, and you reach a wider audience.

5. Claim a Hashtag: Your company claiming a hashtag is a cost efficient way to not only creatively brand yourself but allow consumers to follow and interact with your business. Take for example, marketing company The Mayfair Group who use the hashtag #MayfairWorld, where followers are encouraged to use it within their own content as it is a way to help the company promote itself, budget-free.

6. Referrals: If your site has a system set up allowing customers to refer others for a possible discount, this is a savvy way of attracting potential new consumers with the same interests and behaviors as the ones’ that promoted your company. Referrals can be very helpful in reaching alike consumers as well as offering loyal customers benefits.

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7. Social Media: Creating social media platforms can significantly increase brand awareness and eventually help with your business’s sales. Despite platforms offering paid promotions and advertising, simply creating a platform for your company and beginning to post relevant, constant content will likely greatly impact your brand for the better. Make sure to research appropriate platforms that your target audience uses for optimal reach.

8. Claim Mentions: Sometimes, people will mention your brand online without tagging you or linking back. By doing some research, you can identify the users doing so, and reach out to them to have the content link back to you. To prevent mentions from slipping through the cracks, make sure that your handle is easy to remember and spell.

9. Customer Service:Customer service can play a key role in whether consumers decide to keep supporting your brand or seek competitors with possible better assistance. As important as it is to grow your audience and consumer base, your company will need to maintain loyal customers as they will help spread positive reviews and create a trustworthy relationship for others to see.

10. Create Content: Generate content that can easily be shared by third parties. This could be writing guest posts, or simply by creating relevant, shareable content that ties back to a worthy cause or a topic your audience will actively engage with.


In conclusion, your eCommerce brand needs to focus on creating a great product and defining value proposition to compete against competitors. Through zero budget marketing techniques such as SEO-friendly content, tracking consumer trends and behavior, increased engagement, and more, your business will be able to save a ton of money along with creative success for itself.

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