7 Budget-friendly marketing strategies for your small business 

7 minute read

7 Budget-friendly marketing strategies for your small business 

Every year the online marketplace grows more and more crowded, a shift that has only been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it’s become increasingly challenging to market your business online and cut through the clutter to stand out. 

Not to worry. We’ve compiled seven marketing strategies to help you select the right sales channels, fine-tune your brand, and establish lasting relationships with loyal customers. Plus, every strategy we’ve included is scalable depending on your specific budget, helping you cut marketing costs. Let’s get started.

7 Budget-friendly marketing strategies for your small business  (1)

Do your market research

You’ve created an awesome product or service. You know it works and effectively solves a specific problem. In other words, you have the what and the why. What you need to hone in on now is the who. Who is this product or service made for?

You can’t effectively market your product to your target audience until you know who that target audience is. Identifying yours, and the best ways to reach them starts with market research.

Market research requires you to analyze how your target audience behaves – how they shop, where they shop, what motivates them to buy, when they’re most likely to make purchases, their values, their lifestyle, social media habits, etc.

Remember that you’re by no means the only company trying to reach your target consumer. They want to feel valued and seen as more than just an email address on a list. The more you know about your consumer, the more targeted and personalized you can make your marketing approach to reach them. This is how you will stand out.

Develop your brand  

It’s rare to be the only company selling the goods and services that you do. Chances are your competitors are selling very similar products to yours, if not the exact same ones. You can’t solely rely on what you’re selling to make you stand out. This is where branding comes in.

Branding is how a business makes itself truly unique. Think of it like a company’s personality. It’s the story behind the business, the company’s motivations for selling what it does, and the mission the business has for improving the world in some way.

Effective branding communicates a business’ internal values but also pertains to how the company presents itself visually. Color schemes, logos, website look and feel, social media content – it’s all a part of branding.

Effective branding has psychology behind it. Your brand needs to communicate to its customers in a way that forges an emotional connection with them, and that connection has to be stronger than the one they feel with any other brand in your marketplace.

Especially if your competitors are selling the same products or services as you, it’s the emotional connection a consumer feels to your brand that will get them to choose your company above others. We refer to this emotional connection as part of your brand's reputation.

Write blogs to attract prospects

Blogging is a great tool that gives companies the power to position themselves as experts and thought leaders in their fields, and further establish their brand’s credibility (beyond the retail component).

For example, if you are a beauty brand that sells skincare products, you can utilize your website’s blog to post articles on skincare tips, tricks, and insights. Not only can this drive traffic to your website, which may result in added sales, it’s also a great opportunity to infuse your brand’s voice into your content and build that emotional connection with consumers.

Blogging also helps immensely with SEO strategies. According to HubSpot, companies that blog generate 67% more leads than companies that don’t.  The more content your company produces, the more opportunities you create for consumers to find you as they search online.

Find partners to grow with you

Partnering with another brand (or co-branding) is a great way to:

  • Instantly tap into that brand’s target audience
  • Generate greater awareness of your company
  • Build a social buzz
  • Share resources

Depending on your specific goals for the partnership, this can be done in various ways.

You could tap an influencer within the same industry to expand your reach among an audience who you know is interested in the products or services you sell. For example the Alexander Wang & H&M collaboration. The purpose of that partnership between two brands within the fashion industry was to have the high-end designer create pieces at a more affordable price point for fashion-lovers on lower budgets.

Or, you could partner with a brand in a totally different industry that has an audience who you think would find value in your products or services. For example, the partnership between GoPro and Redbull. The products exist in different industries, but they both cater to a similar consumer. 

The fruit of a partnership could be anything from a new product launch or limited edition offer, to an event, content collaboration, or philanthropic campaign. The more creative the better.

Ask for referrals

You’ve worked hard to establish a strong customer base, so why not utilize that resource to continue to grow your reach by asking for referrals? Traditional as it may seem, word-of-mouth marketing still proves to be an effective initiative in promoting your brand without breaking the bank.

A good way to go about doing this is to create an incentive program that rewards customers for making referrals. This could be anything from a discount, free service, or product giveaway. 

Give freebies and discounts

When it comes to securing new customers, consumers love the opportunity to try something before committing to making a purchase. Giving away sample products or free services may be all it takes to convince a customer to shop with you. If that customer remains loyal, it will result in multiple sales over time.

Speaking of loyal, conducting giveaways of some form is also a great way to reward customer loyalty. For instance, every ten purchases get you a freebie or discount. The bottom line is, giving away free products or services is a short-term investment that can have long-term benefits.

Join groups that are interested in your niche

In addition to your social media efforts – content creation, promotions, etc. – joining groups online is another great way to find potential customers beyond your follower-base, as well as other business owners and potential partners.

Facebook and LinkedIn are two large platforms that allow users to form subgroups based on specific interests, locations, etc. These smaller communities exist to allow like-minded people to connect with one another.

Whether you’re looking to connect with other local business owners in your area, other entrepreneurs, or just people who enjoy whatever it is your company is all about (be it food, technology, film, etc.), these groups create a space for you to do just that. 

All you have to do is find the social groups that are relevant to your brand, follow the rules and regulations, and introduce your most authentic self.

Final thoughts

Marketing strategies for small businesses will continue to evolve, so it’s important to keep pace with the trends. We hope these seven strategies will serve as a great jumping-off point for your own efforts.

Remember, there is no one way to implement any of these so do not be afraid to get creative and try different things. Being a small business owner is all about trial and error and that pertains to your marketing efforts as well. See what works and what doesn’t, learn from it, and grow. 

Small business marketing strategies FAQs

What are the benefits of investing in market research?

Market research requires you to analyze how your target audience behaves – how they shop, where they shop, what motivates them to buy, and when they’re most likely to make purchases. All of this information can be used to create targeted, more effective marketing campaigns.

Does my small business need a blog?

Yes! Virtually all businesses can benefit from starting a blog. In fact, companies that blog generate 67% more leads than companies that don’t.  The more content your company produces, the more opportunities you create for consumers to find you as they search online.

How can I gain more referrals?

A good way to go about doing this is to create an incentive program that rewards customers for making referrals. This could be anything from a discount, free service, or product giveaway.