Shoestring marketing budget? No worries, 9 ideas to trial

Shoestring marketing budget? No worries, 9 ideas to trial image

As a small business, it’s only right that you see fit to spend what little budget you have on business-related expenses. It’s evident that marketing might not fit into the top ten things to spend your money on - particularly if the activities don’t yield an instant return on investment (ROI).

If results are noticed straight away with marketing, the budget can be chopped down to a minuscule amount - but is it down to what you spend? Or is it more about consistency and trial and error approach to strategy? According to Deloitte's Annual CMO Survey, the average business owner will dedicate 13.6% of their annual budget in 2023 to marketing.

But here at Capalona, we believe that there are plenty of low-cost marketing ideas floating around out there for business just like yours so we’ve handpicked some of the best budget marketing ideas.

So the big question is, can you market your small business on a shoestring budget? Give it a whirl and find out.

Marketing Strategy

Get your elevator pitch down

Sounds easy, but it can be difficult to succinctly say what you do in a way that everyone can understand. Getting your elevator pitch down is something that will help you keep your marketing message short, sweet and relevant to your audience. If you can tell a stranger or novice to your industry what it is you do, and they understand it - you’re onto a winner.

Many businesses use the real estate of a website to fill with as many words as possible. A Companies House blog post stated that companies should be writing in plain English. A survey they conducted found that 1 in 6 UK adults have difficulties reading. So what are you waiting for? Keep it simple.

Create a Google Business Listing

Creating a Google Business Listing is another indicator to Google that you’re present online. Not only can you provide your audience with a website address, phone number and opening hours - you can also be assured you’re dominating the search engines when people search for your business name.

If you don’t come up on the right-hand side - just like our listing on the right below, there’s more chance the user can click on a competitor instead. Dominate that branded search term! Here are some straightforward guidelines to follow so you can set yours up in no time at all.

Create a Google Listing

Use your connections

Getting a list of business owners you know, along with friends and family is a great way to start spreading the word about your company. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful lead generation tactics for businesses. According to information, data and measurement firm, Nielson, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over other types of advertising.

Extra tip: it’s a good idea to order more business cards and pass them along to each family member or friend you feel is relevant. If they come across someone who might need your services or products - they can hand out a business card.

Actively collect reviews

BrightLocal reported that 84% of people now trust an online review just as much as a personal recommendation. This is excellent news for your small business - asking for reviews is entirely free. Asking for LinkedIn recommendations and Google reviews can help your business build trust with its audience. Place these reviews on your site for maximum exposure.

Collecting Google reviews also helps you stand out against the other Google Business Listings in your area. If you’ve got five stars next to your name - who would you click on - your business or a business without stars?

Here’s a template you can use to send to all your past and current customers to help you harness Google and LinkedIn reviews. For LinkedIn, you can request recommendations directly from the person’s profile.

“Hi [First Name],

We have really enjoyed working with you over the past [slot in timeframe here].

We are currently collecting reviews, and we’d appreciate it if you could share your experience with us.

Here’s a direct link to review us - it would just take you two minutes.

Any questions, please let us know.

Best wishes,
[Your Name]

Use LinkedIn to generate leads for your business

LinkedIn is a free platform - so it’s perfect if you’re trying to keep marketing costs down. All it costs is your time and energy - and you’ve got bundles of that, right…? LinkedIn can be a fantastic way to increase awareness of your small business while generating relevant leads.

Are you still wondering if LinkedIn is an excellent platform for lead generation? Check out the below graph from DemandWave. It clearly shows that LinkedIn is the leader when it comes to generating business leads through social media.

Use linkedIn to generate leads

Image source: DemandWave

If you’re interested in building your LinkedIn profile, we’ve written a complete guide on how to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn.

Get yourself to some networking events

The British Chambers of Commerce have local chambers, so there is bound to be one near you. The Chamber, although a paid membership scheme, does enable non-members to attend some of their events.

This is a great way to meet new people and spread the word about your business. Some of the events offer attendees the chance to speak at the event, usually just a one-minute introduction to who they are and what they do - this is where your elevator pitch would come in handy.

The Chambers also put on a variety of learning events, including social media workshops - this is something that you usually have to pay for but offers a great opportunity to network and expand your digital skillset. It’s a win-win.

Create interesting and educational content

Did you know that B2B buyers engage with three-five pieces of content before engaging with a company sales rep? With that being said, visit your website, what kind of content do you have on there that is genuinely educational and not sales-focused?

If you’re not sure, then that probably means you haven’t got a lot of really great content.

Creating content helps you educate your audience until they’re ready to even think about inquiring about your product or service. Let’s face it, how many people are prepared right there and then to enquire about buying? You need to play the long game with your content creation.

Over time, consistent, relevant and engaging content can help you perform better for organic keywords in the search engines, and it helps you to become a thought leader in your field. You want your audience to come back time and time again to engage in your content.

Focus on creating and distributing relevant and actionable advice - and don’t forget to focus in on your audiences’ known pain points!

Repurpose old content

It’s all well and good creating new content - but what about older content that performed well in its heyday? Repurposing content - updating it for a new year with new tips, making it into a video or an infographic - whatever you want to do to this older piece of content, can help you save time and reignite a classic piece of content. You can join the 60% of marketers already reusing content two to five times.

As we’ve already mentioned, marketing is trial and error - so go and trial!

Write guest posts for relevant websites

Guest posting is simply creating a blog post for another website as a guest. Why bother, we hear you ask? Guest posting offers a fantastic opportunity to write for an audience who didn’t know you before and sometimes if you’re lucky, it can generate high-quality backlinks for your website.

Backlinks are like a vote of confidence to your site. The more high-quality and relevant links back to your site, the more Google will notice your site as an authority in its field. Google stated that guest posts should “inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company.”

If you don’t have a subscription to a search engine optimisation (SEO) or a content analysis tool, use Google. It’s a great way to find new guest writing opportunities.

Use the shortcuts below to search for websites accepting guest posts:

“keyword” “write for us”
“keyword” “guest blog”
“keyword” “guest post”
“keyword” “become a contributor”
“keyword” “guest article”
“keyword” “guest *” inurl:blog

Before you go…

We hope you’ve found a few titbits of information in this piece to help you conquer the business world one low-cost marketing idea at a time!

We don’t suggest you take all of our ideas on board, but instead, start simple and focus on one tactic. It can be easy to overwhelm yourself, especially if it’s just you in your business. If resources are tight, don’t take on too much work - start slowly and take it from there.

Remember, keep your marketing consistent, relevant and keep trying new things - you never know, you might stumble across a great marketing strategy that works perfectly for your small business.

Thirsty for business growth? We help many small businesses grow everyday - see what funding options are available to you

About the author

Helen Jackson Author
Written by Helen Jackson | December 04, 2023

Money Writer

Helen has over nine years of experience in content writing and writes financial content for us here at Capalona.

Updated: December 04, 2023
Published: November 11, 2019

Share this guide?

Related articles