Marketing Without a Budget: Is It Possible?
The promotion of any business is difficult to imagine without advertising. You can hire good specialists, draw up a well-thought-out marketing strategy and purposefully move towards success. This is much easier to do if the business owner has sufficient financial resources. However, start-ups and small businesses do not always have separate marketing budgets. It is not an option to wait for money to appear. Therefore, we suggest you check out inexpensive promotional ideas for low budget marketing.
Use Your Own Creative Skills and Capabilities
In the digital era, any of us that have basic skills and tools can be used to test our strengths in marketing without a budget.
How can this be?
We talked about why blogging is important for business in the article How to Promote Your Blog in 2020. Here, we just remind you that if you are good at combining words into sentences or you have a friend who can help with this, you should start blogging! This is a direct way of open interaction with the audience, an opportunity to attract new customers, a tool for gaining authority in a niche, and a platform for presenting all the news about your business. Read the related article – How to Write a Great Blog Post in 2020.
2. Shooting marketing videos
Video blogging is another inexpensive promotional idea worth taking note of. It can seem scary, expensive, and nearly impossible to shoot video. To start you will need:
- A camera or smartphone with good shooting quality. If you don’t have this, you can always ask your friends for help. You don’t have to spend money on a purchase.
- Several tutorials on YouTube (you can do without them if you have already encountered video shooting or had your own video blog). We suggest that you familiarize yourself with an example of a training video. Everything you need to start self-filming is described in detail here:
- Thorough knowledge of your product/service and understanding of what you want to convey to people is also important. Different businesses can cover completely different marketing tasks using video. For example, if you are promoting your own clothing brand, you can record the fitting of your collection, tell how much it costs, and how it looks live. If your business is related to production, show it behind the scenes by editing fragments of the footage from a factory/plant, etc.
- You need to plan. It is necessary to determine what you will shoot, what goals you are pursuing, sketch out a posting schedule for a selected period of time. We recommend doing this at least a month in advance.
Read the current related article – How to Become a Successful Vlogger?
3. Launch a podcast
Creating a podcast requires even less effort and expense than creating a video blog. Therefore, we safely consider this opportunity as a small business marketing idea. According to statistics, about 144 million Americans listen to podcasts, and interest in them is not decreasing.
To get started, you will need a microphone, a laptop for recording, an audio editing program (such as Sound Forge), a plan of topics you want to reveal, and a presenter. This role can be played by you or one of your partners.
You can post a ready-made podcast both on your website and on special platforms. Here are some of them:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- Digital Podcast
Having a successful podcast will help you improve brand awareness and increase your credibility in the eyes of peers and potential customers.
4. Webinar development
If you are an expert in your niche, you know the field like no one else. Why not share your knowledge with your potential audience?
With the help of webinars, you can increase conversions, increase revenue, improve brand awareness, and collect data about future customers.
Webinars have become one of the few ways to stay in touch with the outside world during the 2020 pandemic. Many companies have appreciated their benefits.
5. Active presence of business in social networks
Marketing on a small budget is impossible without the use of social media. Are you taking full advantage of social platforms? Let’s check!
- You are a regular on the Reddit and Quora platforms.
If for some reason you have not discovered these two platforms yet, you may havelost a lot! Correct the situation immediately.
Quora is a platform where users can ask a question on almost any topic and get an immediate answer. When you register on the site, you can immediately outline a circle of interests. Based on this, a news feed with questions and answers will be formed for you.
Quora does not encourage direct advertising but you can actively participate in discussions as an expert in your field. You can also ask questions that will help you get to know your target audience better.
Reddit is a community that lives by its own strict rules but has enormous potential. Unlike Quora, there is no opportunity for self-promotion but there is an opportunity to become part of the community and receive some benefit. For more information on using Reddit for business, read our Reddit for Business and Reddit For SEO articles.
- You are constantly working on business pages on major social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
Ideally, your business should be featured on all major social media platforms. If you don’t have enough hands to manage all the pages yet, select the most appropriate and main platforms for your target audience. Do your best to improve them.
The key to success on social networks and ensuring a stable presence of your business is regular posting and working with content. You need to have an approved content plan for at least for a quarter and a posting schedule. Basic skills in SMM can be obtained in the process or through video tutorials.
Pick a suitable style/direction and stick to it. Take care of the quality of your visual content, especially if we’re talking about Instagram and Pinterest. Try to choose interesting and engaging topics for your audience.
- Comment on expert articles in your direction on trust resources.
Don’t underestimate the comments. A good example is Reddit because your reputation is built on the basis of posts and comments. If you are an expert in your niche, feel free to voice your opinion on professional forums, blogs in your area, and even on competitors’ websites. The main task is to get noticed. If you can really speak competently on the topic, the potential audience will appreciate it.
6. Ensure business presence at offline events
Internet activity is not enough to know about you: sooner or later you will have to go offline.
Let’s try to figure out how to market a business with no money in the real world:
- Go to thematic meetings and trainings, meet people
Track themed events in your city and capital, if you can afford to attend. Look for an opportunity to act as a speaker but do not miss the chance to be a listener. You can make many useful acquaintances, find business partners, and network with investors at these events. Don’t forget to take your business cards with you and work on their design. It is important to leave a good first impression, even in detail.
- Attend trade fairs/city events.
Find out if your city has fairs, festivals, exhibitions or other events where you can present and sell your product/service. Contact the organizers and find out the conditions of participation. This is especially important for local businesses.
- Become a sponsor on a barter basis
Sponsorship has many marketing benefits, but how to advertise with no money? Try to negotiate a barter cooperation. The organizers will often agree to such conditions and both parties benefit from this. For more information on sponsorship for local businesses, read the article Local Sponsorship for SEO: Why You Need It.
7. Engage people
Low cost marketing requires active audience support. To start, you can ask for help from friends and family. Ask them to write a product review or post with recommendations. Then contact the local media with a proposal to write about the business. If you create something worthwhile and unique, you may well be told to readers. Organize sweepstakes and participate in affiliate programs more often. This will help attract a new audience and activate the one that has already been formed. Try guest blogging because it can be quite effective as a long-term strategy. Read the related article – Contests and Giveaways.
Also, do not forget to place your business contacts in different city directories so that anyone can find you. For more information on the topic, see the Local SEO Checklist 2020 article.
8. Work with content
Affordable marketing for small businesses begins with working on content. The improvement of specific indicators of the resource effectiveness and the business largely depends on this.
- Start by auditing the content on your site
Check that basic information and contact details are up-to-date. Refresh old articles and delete outdated material. Make sure that statistics and infographics are always updated. After all, the main purpose of content is to cover the needs of the audience with which they come to the site. For more information on how to audit site content, see Website Content Audit as Part of a Content Marketing Strategy.
- Don’t forget to post regularly
Even if the content on your site is in order, don’t forget to update. If you have a blog, make regular posts, start shooting videos. Also, don’t forget about regularity. This way the audience will gradually get used to the constant presence and you will be in sight. This can increase your chances of selling.
Consider Doing Your Own SEO Strategy: What You Can Do On Your Own
SEO promotion is a very time-consuming and financially expensive process. However, you can do what is within your power to complete the following:
- Accurately define the target audience
- Choo kseeywords and phrases for targeting
- Optomise your site for search engines
- Earn backlinks on quality content
- Use existing analytics
- Monitor competitors
For more information, see DIY SEO: a Checklist for Self-Optimization of a Website.
More Tips on Using Cheap Marketing Strategies
Here are some cheap marketing ideas to consider:
- Discount coupons
Offering a discount coupon is always a positive customer experience. Prepare lucrative offers for regular customers and attract new ones by holding discount promotions. For example, bring a friend and get a 50% discount on the service.
- Free trial period
If you provide users with a product/service, why not offer them to test it for free? You can invite a potential client to a test English lesson, donate a certificate for one free massage, or give them a month of free use of the software. It will make it much easier to build a reputation for the brand, and people will be more willing to make a purchase knowing what they are dealing with.
- Create an email campaign
Collect the data of potential customers. This can be done by using a webinar where people leave their data for registration. Make a newsletter with a profitable offer. Choose the appropriate tone of voice, and try not to impose anything. Your task is to make you want to read the letter to the end.
- Participate in contests
Winning awards in your niche is good for your brand’s reputation. See where and under what conditions the awards ceremony takes place and how you can participate in them. It can be “National Economy of the Year” or “Best Startup”. In all cases, participation and getting into the list of nominees will help to increase business awareness.
- Collaborate with influencers
Make a list of influencers, such as bloggers and other media representatives, who could advertise your product. Chat with them and analyze their audience. Perhaps they will be interested in cooperation on a barter basis.
People are more likely to buy a product that is recommended by people they trust.
Read the related article – Influencer Targeting and How to Use it for SEO.
We got acquainted with the main, in our opinion, directions of marketing with no money – as you can see, this is quite possible. Using the information received, you can significantly improve the marketing performance of your business. Do not forget about the need for planning. Think over the costs of marketing strategies, assign responsible persons, maintain consistency, and be sure to control the entire process. Remember, low cost marketing is the beginning of a long journey.