The Most Affordable Marketing Tactic (you can test this right away)

Affordable marketing

The big issue facing many small businesses is the lack of affordable marketing ideas that actually work. Plus, business owners don’t have time to waste on unproven marketing tactics, no matter how affordable. 

Then they have to worry about those complicated marketing plans where the results are hard to even judge.

That’s why email marketing should be a part of every small business strategy.

I’ll go over all the reasons behind that philosophy and give you the most affordable marketing tactic you can test right away no matter the size of your business.

Here’s What Email Marketing Is… (skip down if you already know) 

Email marketing is getting your message out via emails. These emails go to people who sign up for your email messages. Key point. Email marketing is only effective if you mail to people who truly want your emails.

This type of marketing gives you a direct line to your audience and potential customers / clients. 

Not all of your emails are supposed to be selling something. You can sell with 100% of your messages but it’s best to mix in editorial-type content that is of value to your subscribers.

This keeps subscribers open to more of your emails in the future. Because you’re not just interested in their wallets. Email marketing builds trust and real relationships.

Some key email strategy components:

  • Building & maintaining an email list
  • Getting proper authentication
  • Protecting your sender reputation
  • A/B testing
  • List segmentation (grouping subscribers)
  • Metric tracking to improve future campaigns

Now… why email is the smart affordable marketing move.

8 Reasons to Send Marketing Emails

Even if your email list is new and has less than 50 addresses, these reasons still apply.

  1. Email campaigns are free to send
  2. Email success and failure are easy to track with email platforms
  3. Everyone uses email and it’s the preferred communication method for B2B
  4. Experts agree online ads are filled with fraud (complexity also)
  5. Effectiveness: ROI is in the range of $40 to $1 spent 
  6. Even busy business owners can implement email due to automation 
  7. Email is for those in business for the long run
  8. Endless use cases— education, news, updates, confirmations, sales, feedback, etc.

Sure, I could go on but you get the picture. 

For further proof, you can take a glance at your own inbox. Just see the variety of businesses that try to connect with you using email.

Now, you may not be a giant company like Home Depot, HubSpot, or Apple, but your customers can still be reached using similar email strategies.

In fact, taking advantage of emails sent to you is the affordable marketing tactic I want to share.

The Reply Button for Affordable Marketing

We don’t have to do a deep dive into sales processes. Just know that potential customers are typically in one of five stages.

  1. They either know about your business or they don’t
  2. They’re considering buying from you
  3. Have spent money with your business
  4. Are repeat customers
  5. Become super-fans and promote your business via word-of-mouth

So, if your business lacks awareness you can use the following affordable marketing hack with email. 

🌟Sign up for other businesses’ emails and when you get their ‘welcome email’ hit the reply button. It’s almost guaranteed the sending business will read your short reply because it’s likely they don’t get a ton of replies. Plus, welcome emails often ask subscribers to reply (💡it helps companies’ deliverability).

The key is to have your business name and a link in your email signature. This is called email signature marketing. It is so simple but effective at gaining awareness for your business.

Not Just for Newsletter Replies

Email signature marketing works in other ways besides newsletter replies. 

  • Upselling at the bottom of invoices & receipts
  • Thank-you emails you send
  • Replies to other business owners in your local network
  • Cold email outreach
  • Confirmation emails (example→ price quotes)

The best part? This tactic is automatic once you set up your business email signature. 

Your business name and link will be at the end of all your email sends and replies.

This is great incentive to email and reply more. As long as you have something important to share or feedback that can help another business owner.

🛎Tip: Make your entire signature graphic clickable but also use a text link for readers who don’t allow pictures to load in their inbox.

Affordable marketing

Use the Same Mentality to Grow an Email List

The best part? The more email subscribers you add, the more affordable marketing you’ll be able to do. It makes marketing more efficient because…

Validity estimates the average lifetime value of an email subscriber is $50. So growing your list means more people will become aware of your business, shop with you eventually, and later refer your business to friends and family.

And, remember, you’re not paying anything to email your list. Except your monthly subscription to an email platform which is affordable to almost any business (many platforms are free to start).

📺Eric Johnson gives insights on email platforms in the video below.

So, to grow your list, use a similar mindset to email replying. Add your sign-up form everywhere you can. Think of creative ways to get your sign-up forms in front of people who may need your products or services (at some point).

Sign-up options and ideas:

  • Place a sign-up form in your email signature (this AMP interactive article will help)
  • Put sign-up links in 20% of your social media posts
  • Sign up for 100 similarly-sized businesses and request they sign up for your email campaigns, as long as the match makes sense
  • Physical sign-up forms work too and can give you an advantage since your competition won’t go to all that trouble
  • Partner with local restaurants to place sign-up forms on their website or with QR codes on menus (think outside the box)

Wrapping up Affordable Marketing with Email 

Email marketing is a no-brainer for any small business even if you only test email signature marketing. 

The cost cannot be beaten nor the ROI. Plus, you don’t need a giant email list to generate great revenue through email campaigns. 

A small roofing company, for example, may only have 100 people on its list and just send 12 emails a year. But the upside is all the referrals and awareness from making such a small effort. 

Then when the company expands to different cities, the owners can expand their affordable marketing efforts with more customers and a bigger email list. 

Down the line, businesses that grow and build a larger email list of a few thousand, those companies can utilize our platform, Inbox Mailers. It produces higher open rates (50%-70%) and increases overall click volume, which equates to more sales. We have a free demo available here.


In the meantime, you can use our free sponsored newsletter to grow your email list with tips and tactics twice weekly. Inbox Hacking is free to join so sign up today and take your affordable marketing strategy up a few notches!

John Gardner

John Gardner

John Gardner is an expert email marketer and co-founder of Inbox Mailers. He specializes in email segmentation and improving overall deliverability, helping top brands and businesses optimize their email marketing strategy.