Very few startup businesses are blessed with large marketing budgets, and if you’re in that position, you’ll be glad to hear that thrusting your new venture into the spotlight and reaching out to potential customers doesn’t have to break the bank.

In fact, there has never been a better time to market a business with limited funds. The older, more traditional forms of advertising are expensive and inherently risky, but new methods for brand promotion are finally accessible to all thanks to the Internet and abundance of social media platforms.

In this post, we’re going to list 5 ideas for creating engaging marketing campaigns on a tight budget.

1. Content marketing

This form of brand promotion isn’t new – in fact, it has been around for decades. Content marketing positions businesses as publishers and relies on their ability to create great content that draws in an engaged audience.

The content can be blog posts, videos or podcasts (consider blogs to be the most accessible and easiest to get started with) and must be published regularly. In addition ‘lead magnets’ such as downloadable e-books or checklists can be attached to such content and act as methods by which subscribers are gained.

As the subscriber list builds, so does a layer of trust until, eventually, those subscribers become paying customers. It seem counterintuitive, but the educate first, sell later mentality reaps significant benefits in the long run.

2. Email marketing

Do yourself a favour and sign up to a free email marketing service like MailChimp. Then, simply add their signup form to your website and start combining your content marketing efforts with email.

Make a note to send an email out to that growing subscriber base every month featuring the blogs you’ve published during that time. Send it on the same day, at the same time every month and they’ll come to expect it just as they do their daily dose of their favourite soap.

Email remains a fabulous way to connect directly with customers both existing and potential.

3. Make a name for yourself on the social web

If you haven’t already, sign up for accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Once you’ve done that, start getting involved. Join groups, post mini blogs and connect with industry influencers. The more of a name you make for yourself on the social web, the more your business will start to get recognised (and you won’t have spent a penny).

4. Referral programs

In order to create ambassadors for your brand, you need the customers you have to become your sales team. An excellent way to do this is to create referral programs where your customers can benefit in some way by passing on good word about your business.

Just ensure that whatever you choose as the reward is valuable to your clients but of low cost to you. This is a tricky balance to strike, but classic examples are small lifetime discounts, free entry to a forthcoming event or a free half day of one-to-one consultation on your product.

5. Sponsor non-profits

Charities and non-profits are usually keen to find sponsors whether the offer be monetary or in-kind. Being a sponsor for such an organisation will raise awareness of your brand and put it in the best possible light. Chances are, that non-profit will be on point with its own content and social marketing, and you’ll be able to benefit significantly from the effort they put in.


The above list certainly isn’t exhaustive. For example, we haven’t got on to the benefit of social media marketing, speaking at events or hosting virtual seminars, but they’re for another day.

In the meantime, if you’re struggling to find marketing funds, focus your time on the above. Just be aware that most of these tactics require you to be in it for the long run; they’re not quick wins, but boy do they pay off when momentum starts to build.

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