Marketing Center

Tips for marketing your business on a budget

You don't have to break your budget to build a successful marketing campaign that reaches your target customer.

Published: March 15, 2017

Marketing campaigns are an essential component of winning your ideal customer's attention. Even on a tight budget, you can create effective marketing campaigns for your business that maintain a clear understanding of your target customer and your marketing goals.

Once you have determined the type of customer you want to reach, you can implement any number of cost-effective marketing strategies to put your product or service on their radar.

Budget-friendly tip #1: Create a referral system

Word of mouth is one of the most affordable means of gaining new customers, and you can tap into your already-established network to create an effective referral system says Ivana Taylor, CEO of Third Force Marketing and Publisher of DIY Marketers. Start by writing down the names of individuals who can spread the word about your business and categorizing them into three groups: insiders, partners, and influencers.

  • Insiders are your family and friends who can refer your business to others. Describe your ideal customers to those closest to you and ask for their help seeking out new customers.

  • Partners are members of your professional network who can recommend your business to clients within your target demographic. For example, a real estate agent could be instrumental in recommending an insurance agent to a homebuyer.

  • Influencers are high-profile individuals who, if they love your product, can speak to potential customers on your behalf. Choose influencers who are already members of your target audience, so they can share your product with like-minded groups of people.

Taylor suggests having a conversation with potential insiders, partners, and influencers to find out what they like about your product and discuss ways to talk about your product knowledgeably. Also, make sure they understand your target customer group so they use their time as effectively as possible.

Budget-friendly tip #2: Be strategic with content marketing

Consider creating content, such as a blog or video tutorials that can be shared via social media, to showcase your expertise. You'll build credibility with your target audience and drive engagement with potential customers. Use inexpensive distribution methods such as search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and email marketing to share the content with your ideal customers.

In addition to content marketing on your own website or blog, consider social content marketing. Determine the most popular social media platform among your desired customers, and focus your efforts in that space. You can share blog and video content, but you can also create new content specifically for the social platform you're using. Hopefully, as you build a stronger social media following, you'll see momentum on your posts.

Budget-friendly tip #3: Spend your budget on meaningful items

While there are a plethora of traditional print marketing options available, Taylor says traditional advertising isn't necessarily the most cost-effective marketing strategy. "You throw $5,000 or $6,000 into an ad, and you have no control [over the outcome]," she says. Instead, she suggests redirecting the amount that you would have used for print advertising toward targeting members of your specific audience with a gift certificate for your service or store. "That's going to drive traffic to your business," Taylor says. "So you're still spending money, but the benefit is more customers."

Review your marketing budget and strategy at least once a year to determine which campaigns were most effective in finding customers, and adjust your spending accordingly. Once you have determined which campaigns have been successful, Taylor suggests allocating a portion of your increased profits to the most effective marketing sources to gain similar customers.

For more ideas on developing your marketing strategy, invest time in researching your competition.