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10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

Thinking of and developing effective ways to market your small business or agency can sometimes be overwhelming, considering the cost and the return on investment (ROI).

Every year big and well-established businesses spend thousands to millions of dollars to market and build their businesses. Small companies have the same need to get the word out, but on more modest budgets.

As a small business or startup owner, you are probably working on a tiny marketing budget. To become a successful marketer, keep this close to your heart: marketing your small business or agency doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

Below we discuss the low-cost and free strategies and techniques you can use to spread the word.

1. Create a Business Blog and Post Amazing Content

Are you seeking low-cost tactics to raise awareness of your business products and offerings? Blogging is one of the best. When it comes to your startup or small business, you’re the expert. Therefore, find something exciting for you and your audience and write about it.

Writing great content on topics related to your business attracts a lot of traffic to your business, mainly through answering the customers’ most frequently asked questions (FAQs).

2. Start a Podcast

Are you among the ones who like the sound of their voice? Your customers will love hearing and listening to you telling them about your business and products.

The human voice is humanising, authentic, and connecting as no other media does. A podcast makes business more human and is an excellent way to build awareness.

Make sure you follow your brand’s identity design principles when creating marketing channels like podcasts. Ensure that your visual identity remains the same.

3. Create Product Samples

To establish a strong base, it’s important to remove barriers for your new customers to experience your products. Well known as “try before you purchase”, it makes customers feel confident that they can try your products without fear of cost or commitment.

Buyers want to be sure they’re making informed decisions, and offering them samples will give them the necessary information that will influence their purchase decision. Combine this with other marketing efforts, and you will have a noticeable effect on your business.

4. Add Personal Touch (Such as Shout-Out Videos)

You might have all three of the above marketing ways in place but still not achieving your desired goals. Don’t worry, you are about to learn about a cornerstone of most small businesses.

Providing exemplary service and a personal touch, such as attaching a thank you note or card with an order, is a great way to personalise your service and make your business authentic.

Customers remember when they’re treated well, and it builds awareness and goodwill with your audience.

5. Run an Event

As a business owner, you might have attended a business event and gained the experience of conducting one. Now it’s time to run your event! Your event means more control over:


    • The target audience.

    • The message you deliver (of course you had a message you intended to pass).

    • The takeaways you want your audience to have.

If you need ideas on the kind of event to hold, here are some ideas:


    • Find and host an interesting speaker whose message or talents match your marketing strategy.

    • Run an online seminar on a topic related to your audience. For example, design-related businesses run seminars that cover topics specific to designers.

    • Set up a “pop-up” store in an area you’re interested in but have no presence yet.

6. Create a Cool Giveaway

One of the tried strategies for creating consumer awareness and getting your name out there is doing promotional giveaways. You’ve probably come across businesses that offer things such as t-shirts to customers when they make purchases. Go for this great way to attract and retain customers to your business.

You can also choose to run a contest with some of your services or products as the prize. The key factor to consider is ensuring that the reward you select has a greater appeal to your audience. Your audience will only participate in something they know about; therefore, ensure you promote the giveaway effectively.

In the end, publicise and talk about the results. People who missed the event will be alerted and will keep an eye out for the next.

7. Ask for Testimonials or Reviews

The best way to collect customer information about your business is by asking for reviews and testimonials about the customer experience of your products or services. Comments made by real people about your business are the best motivator for new customers.

Asking for reviews means that customers will spend some of their time; thus, do that respectfully. Understand that it isn’t possible to satisfy everyone; therefore be prepared to act on the negative reviews. Customers want to know the reviews are unbiased and fair.

8. Get Social on Social Media

A strong social media presence with killer content is a sure method to boost your brand awareness. For startups and small businesses, social media is a tool for sharing and a medium for communicating with customers.

Social media is the best marketing tool because it’s cost-effective and efficient.

9. Build Up Your Email List

The inbox is a place that many people visit every day. Email plays a key role in small businesses and agencies because it allows you (the owner) to interact with your customers at a more personal level. When you share helpful and informative information, customers will be more likely to trust you as you establish yourself in the market.

10. Create an Affiliate or Referral Programme

In marketing, word of mouth is the most persuasive tool there is. Tap directly into its power by creating a referral or affiliate programme that rewards your customers for sharing your business with their network. This becomes an effective way to generate more business while encouraging stronger product loyalty from the existing customer base.

Final Thoughts

Understand, as a small business owner, it’s possible to create successful marketing campaigns on tiny budgets. All it takes is a little determination, ingenuity, and a well-planned marketing strategy.

The humanity behind small businesses makes them stand out from big companies, and this can really shine with a good marketing strategy. Thanks to social media, your small business or agency can now have higher reach and visibility, just like big corporations, and on a shoestring budget.

What are you waiting for?



  • Emmanuel Mwendwa

    Emmanuel Mwendwa is a content writer who helps businesses (from startups to large agencies) with their content so they can focus more on their clients. His main focus is digital marketing, work environment and relationships, and health and wellness, although he has also written content for clients outside these industries. He believes in providing quality work, making a lasting impact on his readers, and enhancing brand loyalty.

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