Good marketing is essential for your small business to grow and expand. Unfortunately, marketing can be expensive, which means some small businesses aren’t doing as much advertising as they could. 

In this article, we’ll look at how to market your small business on a budget. We’ll explore a range of cost-effective marketing options, including:

  • Use social media
  • Register your business online
  • Try co-marketing
  • Research SEO opportunities

How to market your small business on a budget

Use social media

Social media is a hugely popular marketing tool, because creating a social media profile is totally free. Although you will need to spend time creating the profile (and then creating content for it), doing so won’t cost any money. 

It’s important that you post consistently on any social media profile you have for your business. Doing so ensures your audience stays engaged and interested in your company.

It’s also important to know that different social media platforms provide different benefits. For instance:

  • Tiktok is best for videos, so Tiktok marketing content might include short how-to videos on making your products, or “day in the life” style videos.
  • Instagram is great for visual content. If you sell a physical product that looks good in pictures (like clothes or jewellery), Instagram should be your primary social media platform. 
  • Facebook is suited to text-based marketing and customer engagement. By checking comments and industry Facebook groups, you can see your customers’ reactions to your business and marketing content. 

Effective social media marketing allows you to promote your products and services to a huge audience. That said, keep in mind that establishing an audience on social media requires a significant time investment and consistent, high-quality content.

Register your business online

If your marketing strategy is focused locally, it’s essential that you register your business online with companies like Yelp, Google and Facebook. It’s free and easy, and helps massively when people search for your business online.

The most useful place to register is with Google Business. Doing so allows your company to appear on Google Maps, alongside a small info box with details like opening times and a website link. 

By listing your business on Google, you’ll appear as an option when people search for local businesses in a specific industry. For example, if you run a bakery and someone searches for “bakeries near me”, your business will pop up.

Although Google is the most useful, it’s important to register online with other companies too:

  • You can create a listing on Yelp for free, which provides a great place for customers to leave reviews. Doing so also improves your search engine rankings. 
  • By creating a Facebook business page, you’ll make it easier for people who search for your business on social media to find you.

Try co-marketing

Co-marketing is the practice of creating a marketing campaign alongside another business. It shouldn’t be done with a direct competitor, but with a business offering a product or service that might interest your target market. 

This method is good for small businesses on a budget because it means your marketing partner can share some of the financial burden of creating a marketing campaign. 

By pooling knowledge and resources, it’ll be easier for you and your partner to overcome the marketing challenges of a small business.

The key to co-marketing is finding the right partner. The most important features of a good co-marketing prospect are: 

  • An overlap in your target market
  • Being located in the same area
  • Being businesses of a similar size
  • Similar marketing goals and objectives

On top of that, here are a few tips to make your co-marketing as effective as possible:

  • Identify where your target market overlaps
  • Establish roles and a marketing strategy ahead of time
  • Promote each other through social media
  • Appear at industry events together
  • Try guest blogging (i.e. writing content for each other’s websites)
  • Hold contests with your partner’s products as prizes

Research SEO

SEO is a crucial factor is getting the name of your small business out into the wider world. SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of improving your visibility when people search for terms related to your business on a search engine. 

A lot of SEO revolves around keywords, which are the words people put into search engines when they’re looking for something. For a bakery, a keyword might be “local handmade cakes”. 

If these keywords appear on your website, you’ll appear in a visible spot on the results page for the relevant term.

SEO mostly means creating well-written content and having a well-made website. There are a ton of website builders that allow you to create a website (and content for it) completely free. So, you can ensure great SEO even if you’re on a budget.

SEO is a pretty complicated subject, so check out our guide to small business SEO if you want to know more.

The importance of marketing

Whichever method you choose, just remember to put time and effort into your marketing. Although the methods we’ve listed above can be completely free, a marketing strategy needs quality content to be effective.

Also, remember that low-budget marketing doesn’t mean you can’t spend any money. Consider using a website designer to ensure good SEO, or pay for advertising to make your social media content more effective. Even a small investment in your marketing can have huge rewards.

Manage your budget with Countingup

If you run a small business with limited funds, keeping an eye on your money is essential. That said, financial management can be tricky if you’re not experienced.

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates complicated bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 

With Countingup, you can spend less time managing your budget and more time promoting your business.

Start your three-month free trial today