Creative Insights On Entrepreneurial Marketing When You Have Little To No Budget

 In Marketing

Effective marketing on no budget


If you have started a company or currently work in one, you might think you need a big budget to do your marketing. Well, let’s assume you have very little or no marketing budget. The reality, quite often, is that the highest quality marketing is often a shade of free. For example, spending money on paid acquisition channels like Google AdWords and Meta will help pull people directly to your website. But while paid marketing can buy scale, it doesn’t buy quality. More often than founders think, some of the most worthwhile marketing efforts are free. Here is another example.

When Pura Vida, the fashion bracelet and jewelry company first started, the founders had zero dollars for marketing. So, they focused on building organic content in social media, especially Instagram. By recruiting a small group of brand ambassador interns, encouraging them to create organic content in Instagram, as well as targeting nano influencers, they lifted their following in Instagram from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands. Organically.

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Before you can focus on building your marketing efforts with no money, you need to adopt a mindset of opportunity and here are the three key elements:

– Really focus on the problem you are solving.

– Treat everything as a media opportunity.

– Focus all your efforts on the core target segment.

With this focus in mind, let’s review what you can actually do with little to no marketing budget.

Build a great brand. A brand is everything you stand for that is relevant to your future customers. It represents your culture, what your values are, how you communicate your product, and what you want people to feel when they interact with your company. Essentially, your brand is the personality of your business and a promise to your customers. Without a good brand, your marketing will fail.

Storytelling is key. Everyone loves a good story. Better yet, people tend to remember stories more than facts. Figure out how to tell your companies story in as many ways as possible in a way that is relevant to your future customers. If they believe in your story, they will repeat it.

Build a marketing network. If you have zero dollars for marketing, then you want to surround yourself with marketing experts and mentors who can advise you on how to do great marketing with little to no budget. They only way to get 60 years of knowledge in a few months is to ‘steal it’ from some experts.

Get your SEO right. If your customers cannot find you, then what’s the point? Take the time to learn search engine optimization (SEO), or better yet, hangout with an expert so you can SEO your website, your email content, your social media, your content videos, etc. Remember, organic website traffic is the best. And its free.

List your company on business directories. The online website company directories are free. And yet so many entrepreneurs do not use them. Online directories like Yelp, Google My Business, and Meta are where many consumers discover companies and it’s imperative that you maintain your listing with your search keywords. When a company shows up in Google Maps but not on the page of results, it’s probably due to the business directory listing.

Email marketing is your friend. The cost of email is so low cost, almost free, yet quite a few entrepreneurs do not leverage this marketing platform. Build email outbound marketing, inbound marketing and re-targeting into your marketing strategy from day one. The best way to increase sales is to sell something to an existing customer via a re-targeting strategy.

Develop a content marketing strategy. In today’s world, content rules. Well, actually video rules. So, build a content strategy into your website with page and blog content, into your social media with images, videos and words and utilize videos appropriately by platform (Tik Tok versus YouTube, etc.).

Invest in your social media presence. Social media has continued to be a prevalent marketing tactic for any company. In fact, it’s one of the main ways that Gen Z discovers new brands and products. As long as you have a phone and a camera, you can dominate on social media by focusing on community building, engagement and storytelling.

Get to nano or micro-influencers. While you obviously cannot afford major influencers, you can target nano (1,000 to 10,000 followers) or micro influencers (50,000 to 100,000 followers). They are often more authentic, have the right core followers and are approachable. By searching for nano-influencers through hashtags and keywords related to your businesses and products, many smaller influencers pop up. You can then send them a DM or email, if they have one listed in their bio. Using this information, you can send a collaboration inquiry to the creator to get a conversation started.

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Encourage user-generated content UGC). UGC is one of the best gifts a brand can get. Why? It serves as social proof, it’s reusable, and it can require little effort on your part. UGC can look like: video testimonial from a customer, social media post from a customer, feature on a blogger’s or influencer’s website. Adding testimonials from real customers can add credibility to your marketing and provide social proof that customers are happy with your product or service.

Host a webinar or work the podcasts. If it’s appropriate, consider hosting a webinar or podcast series. Great way to establish your brand and you as an expert. It’s also very cost effective to reach potential customers and the content can be re-utilized across your website and social media. Live commerce is also trending where you can showcase your product live to potential customers online.

All PR is good PR. Public relations is one of those areas quite a few entrepreneurs ignore in the early days. It should be just the opposite. You need exposure and good word of mouth. Public relations is crucial to the success of every business, especially a startup. You start with a simple story, good SEO and perhaps a targeted list of journalists, podcasters or influencers that need…a good story.



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