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7 no-fail ideas for businesses with a small marketing budget

Whether you’re a self-funded small business or a startup with little to no marketing budget, there are still ways to market yourself to your customers without the hefty overheads.


Marketing has always been associated with costs. Various CEOs and marketing heads create deep annual budgets for promotions and branding; however, not all businesses can afford that. The good news is that self-funded small businesses or startups can create a strong brand presence and attract customers by having a planned strategy and smart ideas. By the end of this article, you’ll learn seven ways to market yourself to your customers without spending much (or any) money.

1. Create Videos

As technology advances and 5G is at our doorstep, content is moving majorly towards videos and other innovative mediums, rather than simple write-ups. And, perhaps, this is why you want to be confident about counting on videos for the benefit of your business. Irrespective of age brackets, we all love to watch interesting short videos. Video opens up an excellent opportunity to showcase products and services to your target group, while gaining ample attention for your brand – and it’s easy to make sure it suits your budget. If you are a little tech-savvy, there are some low-cost, and even free, tools available to create and edit quick videos. Trust me, it is undoubtedly an effort that’s worth making.

2. Have a QR Code

People today want timesaving, hassle-free options and this is why you should avoid hefty processes that make it difficult for your customers to access your company webpage. Instead, have a QR code and put it everywhere, including on all your marketing and business collateral. The uses of a QR code are endless. You can redirect your potential customers to a sign-up page, app download page, your social media accounts, or any landing page of your choice. This way, they will be able to access what they are looking for, without the hassle.

3. Be Collaborative

Partnerships go a long way. Look for places that sell related products but are not direct competitors, and see if a collaborative effort could work. But before that, ask yourself if they are serving the same target group as you are. You can promote each other’s businesses by giving coupons to customers or placing flyers, and these local businesses could include the nearby coffee shop or salons. This technique will help you increase your visibility and get enhanced exposure from a larger customer base.

4. Nurture Digital Platforms

I know most of us have social media accounts and websites for our business, but it’s not enough to simply have a presence. You need to be active on these platforms in order to grow. The key to success is to be creative. Simple steps like integrating your WhatsApp business account with your social media accounts and website may go a long way in adding unique value and creating brand loyalty. Keep yourself updated on the latest feature updates, be active on various question and answer platforms, respond to feedback – both positive and negative, and take time to explore your way through. This way, you’ll not just prove that you’re an authority figure in your industry, but you’ll also get attention from those who may have never heard about your business before. My mantra is to be innovative and stay ahead of your competition by leveraging technology.

5. Value Existing Customers

“Old is gold”. Always remember this proverb because it is sure to take you far. Never give up on your existing customers because you want to be able to convert them into repeat customers. Seek their permission to add them to your email lists, send coupons and business/product updates, but be careful not to spam them. Keep a regular conversation going so you’re always at the forefront of their minds. You can also try a referral program, which works well when it is incentivised. The cost of acquiring a new customer is much higher than retaining your existing customer.

6. Apply for Business Awards

Consistency and credibility are effortless ways to gain trust and directly impact business growth. Various industries offer awards that you can win, or at least participate in, which you can then let your audience know about. Moreover, socialising within your industry will bring more opportunities for growth along with new learnings.

7. Turn Employees into Brand Ambassadors

A company’s employees are its backbone and it’s important to nurture them. Having them spread the good word about your business so that they are brand ambassadors and encouraging them by offering lucrative discounts or opportunities will keep their interest in your business. It also means they’ll have a genuine, positive voice to help you reach a larger target group. Events like a ‘friends and family sale’ can also encourage them to promote or tag your business and increase your reach.

You can count on these simple ideas and activities to never fail; however, it is always important to give ample time to your strategies to meet your objectives. Don’t forget to revisit and revise your strategy, whenever required. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all.

Read more: Is India ready for transformation in marketing after COVID-19?

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