When a crisis happens, the first thing to get cut is often a company’s marketing budget. Even Google announced that it would be cutting its budget by as much as half in April. 

The good news is that effective marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are five low-cost levers you can pull to keep leads coming in, even when resources are tight. 

Google ads

More good news: ads are cheap right now (average cost for Google retargeting ads is $0.66-$1.23), though impressions and clicks are still high. Google has multiple ad campaigns you can choose from, but retargeting ads are the ads to focus on in a recession marketplace. Ads that retarget are among the highest converting, and consumers are particularly responsive during this time. Approximately 36% of US consumers report they have made an impulse buy based on an ad since the start of the pandemic. Even if you need to cut your spending, you can prioritize these ads and see results.

Social media 

With a smaller budget, you want to target the leads who are already in your funnel—that means taking to social media. For example, if you’re selling furniture, your furniture should be on Pinterest to reach more prospects who are already in your marketing funnel (as this site can be used to impress a super targeted audience). Many social media platforms have lowered their prices for ads, though impressions and clicks have doubled. The average cost per click of facebook ad is $1.72. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram all offer PPC ads for as low as $5.


Speaking of ads, there are many different options for how to contract them. But some are more cost-effective than others. With pay-per-impression, you pay a predetermined fee for every 1,000 impressions of an ad. But with pay-per-click (or PPC), you only pay for an ad when someone clicks on it. It guarantees traffic to your website. So if you’re working with a tighter budget, PPC will make your marketing dollars go further. The average cost per click on a search network is only $2.32.


With the surge in online traffic since the pandemic, many businesses have found a new market getting found online. However, getting found is no easy task, and SEO investment can often be expensive. Enter reviews. About 84% of consumers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Reviews are free and are a primary factor in how Google ranks businesses. If managed correctly, they can help you top search results and prove a cheap and effective way to reach leads in your marketing funnel.


After leads see your stellar reviews, they land on your site. One low-cost marketing channel that turns your website into a lead-converting machine is live chat. Website chat is a convenient communication feature that approximately 41% of customers expect to see when they land on your website. This kind of convenience pays. A recent survey reported that live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate. You can install a website chat (that can convert conversations into text conversations and cater to multiple locations) for free here.  

If you’re a marketing director or manager, we know you’re facing new challenges and a lot of pressure. That’s why we want to help you work smarter, not harder. If you take advantage of these low-cost marketing channels, you’ll be able to drive leads more effectively, without breaking the bank. 

To learn more about driving leads with low cost, download our new ebook, What Every Website Needs to Win Leads Locally.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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