Marketing your business on a budget

(Updated: 27 July 2023)

Marketing your business on a tight budget does not mean you are restricted to using outdated or cheap marketing tools and techniques. In fact, many businesses, whether a start-up or an established business, have been able to market their products or services using various cost-effective and trackable online marketing tools.

Before you consider cutting down on your marketing efforts to make more “wiggle” room in your budget, take a look at these inexpensive, yet effective ways you can market your business.

Top 6 ways to market your small business with a tight budget:

1. The ‘Elevator Pitch’

According to Supportive Care, the average attention span of a human is only 8.25 seconds. This is less than the estimated attention span of a goldfish!

This is where the “Elevator Pitch” comes into play. Once you have successfully engaged with your desired target market, you have less than a minute to sell them on your products or services. Therefore, having a succinct and persuasive sales pitch can definitely give you a leg up!

2. Engaging with the Community

It is tempting to think nationally or even globally when it comes to your business opportunities. You want your business to grow, we understand, but it’s important to take a step back and think smaller.

Take a look at your local community, there are plenty of missed marketing opportunities that your business can take full advantage of. For example, your company could sponsor a local sports team, take part in a charity run, hand out free merchandise, or run a special on select products that your community needs.

Get to know your community and your ideal customer within it, and search for marketing opportunities that will allow you to get your brand in front of your customer with the least amount of effort.

3. Collaborating with Local Businesses

In some instances, forming collaborative teams with non-competitive businesses can prove extremely beneficial. For example, you own a pet store that sells animal feed, toys, beds etc. you could easily have marketing material for a local animal groomer, or dog walker in your store, on your social media, or on your website. These businesses can in turn also refer their customers to you based on your range of products.

This synergistic relationship can open your business up to new clientèle that may have otherwise been out of reach.

4. Networking and Building Relationships

Networking may initially seem like a waste of time, but this cannot be farther from the truth. Companies that have taken the necessary steps to secure strong relationships with clients, suppliers, local businesses etc. can see the difference compared to companies that don’t.

For example, by having strong relationships with clients, means they are more likely to refer you to their friends or family over other competitors. When it comes to suppliers, they may be willing to offer payment plans and discounts, and local businesses may also be willing to offer word of mouth referrals.

5. Create a Buzz

With so much media noise out in the world, your business needs to work smarter and not harder to ensure your marketing message is heard. A way to do this is to firstly establish what platforms your target market uses, how often they use it, and what their interests are.

Knowing this will give you an advantage over your competitors, as this will allow you to tailor your marketing message and market directly to your audience where they are.

6. Embrace WOM and Ask for Referrals

Word of Mouth (WOM) is still one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses world-wide. It’s easy for businesses to say how amazing they are, or how they are better than everyone else, but the fact is, people trust people.

This is why building strong relationships can be vital for many small businesses, as these clients can help spread the word. Another thing to consider is asking your clients for referrals. As a start-up or small business, there’s no point in being shy, as this could end up costing you future business, so the next time a client comes in, ask them for a referral.

Marketing methods your business should consider using:

1. Conduct Market Research

Conducting market research can help you to better understand your target audience, which in turn will help you improve your marketing strategy.

By doing market research, you can determine the following:

  • Target audience demographics (age, gender, income bracket, race, employment status, position type etc.)
  • Target audience location
  • Target audience interests and lifestyle
  • Target audience purchasing patterns etc.

2. Identify Your Business “Unique Selling Proposition”

Knowing why customers choose your product or services over other competitors can help you establish your company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You can find out what your company’s USP by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What do you love most about the services & Product you offer?
  • What special skills or knowledge do you have?
  • What makes your customers come to you instead of your competitor?
  • How does one benefit from your product or service?
  • What part of your business do you highlight when you describe your services/products to potential client?

3. Choose How to Market Your Brand

When it comes to marketing your brand, your company can choose from a variety of digital platforms and traditional marketing methods. Which you choose will be entirely based on your target market and available budget.

Here are a few ways you can market your business:

  • Create a website to showcase your products and services.
  • Setup social media profiles on platforms your target audience visits regularly.
  • Create blog content to demonstrate your industry knowledge.
  • Get brochures, flyers, posters, or billboards printed and distribute them in high-traffic areas.
  • Invest in client feedback, testimonials, and referrals.

4. Set Your Goals & Budget

Before any marketing activity begins, it’s important to set realistic marketing goals in place that aligns with your available marketing budget. Your marketing goals should be relevant, attainable, and measurable. Otherwise, you could end up spending a fortune on your marketing without yielding positive results.

Here are a few things you should consider when setting your marketing budget:

  • The cost to set up your company’s brand and website.
  • The cost to invest in Search Engine Optimization.
  • The cost to create and print traditional marketing material.
  • The cost of using PPC platforms vs non-PPC platforms.
  • General costs of undertaking your marketing activities.

5. Take Care of Your Loyal Customers

Having loyal customers is extremely beneficial for your business, regardless of size. Therefore, it is imperative that you nurture your relationships by providing consistent customer care. This not only helps you to easily build trust and develop strong relationships but can also encourage repeat business.

Here are ways you can take care of your customers:

  • Keep communication open and transparent.
  • Provide after-sales follow-ups to ensure your customers are happy with their purchase.
  • Always deliver on your promises.
  • Offer reward programs for your repeat customers.
  • Be sure to train staff on the importance of customer service.


Marketing your business doesn’t have to be expensive, with the right marketing partner, you can grow your business in no time. So remember to engage with your customers regularly, build strong relationships, but most importantly- keep your brand in mind.