Tips for Marketing Your Business on a Tight Budget

For small businesses, going up against deep-pocketed competitors must be seen as a barrier to overcome and not an impediment to succeeding. Only with faster growth than your peers, can the business eventually outstrip the revenue and marketing budget of competitors. But that comes later.

For now, marketing on a tight budget is what’s needed. Here are some tips on how to go about doing that.

Use Social Media to Generate Revenue

People often think of social media as just for socializing. That’s completely wrong. Businesses need to look at social media platforms as a way to market their brand, build a solid reputation for it and drive new traffic to their website to convert it. Using social media just to be seen is for the social influencers, not busy small businesses needing to make a meaningful impact.

Use social media to connect to people interested in your brand and build followers. Think of marketing as the ‘hub and spoke’ model where each social platform is one spoke with traffic flowing into the hub, your company website. Follower numbers and ‘Likes’, while nice, don’t put money in the company’s coffers. Conversions and new sales do that.

Look at which platforms are most successful for your peers. Post regularly on the same platforms. Use a healthy mix of industry news and helpful information; not just promos to your latest product or new blog post. Be generous in your recommendations to show sincerity – no one likes to be constantly marketed to. Build a relationship first.

Business Expos to Create New Contacts & Leads

To get on the ground with in-person meet and greets, there’s nothing as effective as attending a business expo that covers your industry. For the company operating on a spartan budget, just attending and bringing along distributable marketing materials is something you can do. With a little larger budget, a small booth at the expo is the next step. It may be a stretch financially, but the industry contacts – especially if selling B2B and not only B2C – can be invaluable.

Plenty of marketing leads comes from initial contact and conversations that originate at an expo. When calling the person back to follow up, it doesn’t get categorized as a cold call because you can remind them about the previous conversation. This gives an invaluable ‘in’ and can lead to sizeable orders later.

Sponsor Local Events

If your company trades locally and sees room to expand within the city or state-wide, then sponsoring local events is a great way to get greater attention for the brand.

The closer the fit between the event type and your business, the better. For instance, a 3K race could be sponsored by a local private hospital making the connection between fitness, wellness and health. Procure (or create) a calendar of local events and details about the organizers for each event. Get in touch to see if they’re looking for sponsorship. There are usually several planned spots for corporate sponsorship at different price points to choose from.

Use Paid Online Advertising

The beauty of pay-per-click advertising is that the company can spend a limited amount on a single advertising campaign, refine the approach, and then press on with the next campaign. The budget is adjustable depending on results and available resources.

Companies do require deep pockets to advertise online because the account is funded in advance with the sales payoff coming later. It’s possible to get a business loan to increase the available cash in the business to get into paid advertising, but talk to an expert first.

Making a good showing of marketing on a small budget is perfectly possible. Unlike in days past, companies don’t have to start with substantial sums; smaller amounts work just fine too.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.