Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

Small Businesses: Marketing on a Budget

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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When starting a business and operating off a shoestring marketing budget, there’s always that one all-important question: “How can I conserve money and bring in results?” Because no matter how small your niche or how loyal your company customer base is, you need to have a robust marketing strategy to create and sustain a digital presence.

So, how can small companies accomplish this with limited resources? Let’s explore how you can effectively run your business on a modest marketing budget. 

Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that the average small business invests 7 — 8% of gross revenue in marketing and advertising. Here’s a selection of inexpensive ideas to keep your marketing within those lines.

Leverage Organic Social Media 

While it’s true that paid social is extremely effective, organic social serves as a strong foundation for any social media strategy, especially when there are creative marketers involved.

There are plenty of ways to create cool social campaigns without spending a penny — it all comes down to thinking outside of the box. For example, if your product is in the health and wellness space, you can create a campaign featuring motivational quotes. Or, if your audience likes to be super engaged, you could launch a campaign that revolves around their testimonials. 

For more on how to create an organic social media strategy: 

Create a Blog 

Blogging is a critical customer acquisition tool for businesses of all sizes. Not only is it inexpensive (there are plenty of free blogging platforms that can be easily managed from the front-end), but blogging also provides many benefits. Increased website traffic, exposure via search engine results, and more prospective customers are just a few. When your company has the marketing budget for it, you can graduate to premium plans for more advanced plugins and apps. 

For tips on how to create a blog: 

Host Webinars on Your Site 

While hosting webinars can be expensive, some companies offer free or low-cost options for small business owners. 

Webinars are an exceptional marketing strategy for a few reasons

  • You can provide great value. Webinars offer educational value and can keep your audience engaged for hours. 
  • You can be seen as an expert in your field. If done right, webinars can help position you as a thought leader in your industry. The fact that it’s free is even more of a draw, and a testament to how much you want to help others learn. 
  • You can engage with people from anywhere in the world. With webinars, there aren’t any time or geographical restrictions — you can draw in people from all over the globe. This is an excellent way to bring in new leads because people don’t have to leave the comfort of their homes to engage with your company. 

Guest Post on Other Company Blogs

Of course, it’s important to churn out original content on your blog regularly. However, it’s also important to look beyond your brand. Guest posting on company blogs is a great way to:

  • Gain access to a new audience.
  • Attract traffic back to your website. 
  • Boost your domain authority using external links to high-authority domains. 
  • Increase your brand credibility and awareness.

For tips on how to write dazzling content: 

Create Email Campaigns and Newsletters

Whether it’s just an onboarding email series or an external newsletter, even the most basic email marketing strategies can have a significant impact. Similar to blogs, there are also free platforms that you can use. Search for a free plan that provides CRM reporting features and template options. 

For everything you need to know to get started with email marketing: 

Use Your Website to Advertise Your Business

Remember that websites aren’t just for selling products online — it also serves as a huge marketing tool. If your webpage looks dinky compared to your competitors’, guess who has the advantage? Make sure that your website is user-friendly with the following tips: 

  • Pay attention to your site layout: About 80% of internet users are spending more and more time accessing the Internet via their phones. With this in mind, make sure that your site looks good on both desktop and mobile. 
  • Provide in-depth information: When someone visits your website, they’re looking for specific information to decide whether they should purchase your product or service. If they have to go in circles to find what they’re searching for, they can get frustrated and leave your page to visit a competitor’s. 
  • Be mindful of your call-to-action (CTAs): Ensure that your webpage CTAs are bold and easy to locate. 
  • Use meaningful, high-quality, and consistent imagery. When a visitor lands on your website, they should know exactly what your company is about. Be wary of using “cheesy” imagery, or too-generic stock photos. 

For more tips on how to create effective CTAs:

Cross-Promote Your Business With Partners

Small businesses aren’t the only ones partnering with other companies — big-box retailers do it all the time to cut advertising costs.

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