Marketing on a Shoestring


If you’re a solo entrepreneur or small business owner, you know that marketing your business can be a challenge. And if you’re on a shoestring budget, it can seem impossible.

But there are ways to market your business effectively, even when money is tight. In this post, we’ll share some tips and strategies for marketing your business on a shoestring budget. So whether you’re just starting out or trying to save, read on for our best tips.

Social media

Social media is a great way to reach a large number of people for free. The best part? There are a lot of platforms you can choose from based on who you’re targeting. Here are a few insights on various social media platforms based on their audience profiles, according to Sprout Social reports:

  • Facebook users are mostly between 25-34 years of age with 43% being female and 57% being male. The length of time people spend on the platform has actually been falling for the past 5 years, from 38 minutes to 33 minutes. However, Facebook is still the largest social platform among consumers and marketers.
  • Instagram has a similar age group of users to Facebook, with 18-24 close behind. The newest features of Instagram shopping and reels bring a shift from social usage to e-commerce.
  • TikTok’s largest age group is aged 10-19 and 61% of its audience is female. Users are spending an average of 90 minutes per day on the platform 🤯
  • LinkedIn users are mainly between 25-34 years of age and the platform is mostly used for lead generation and is a great source for B2B marketers looking to find motivated audiences for their campaigns.

… So as you can see, you should decide which platform to use based on who you’re targeting. Although these platforms share a few similarities, each social media platform is designed differently. They have different content types and styles, different features and different interactions. Your content strategy should also adjust to what kind of content each of these platforms favours.

Using social media is a great way to generate buzz and traffic to your brand with small to no costs.

DIY branding

Okay, so this second tip has to come with a warning. When DIY-ing your brand, even though you may save some money, you may fall into the hole of not making it consistent and cohesive. Most DIY brands I see are a compilation of different styles, colours, shapes and messages that are put together without a strategy. That being said, if you can take the time to start your brand design with the proper strategy and build it from the ground up, you can come up with a decent brand identity & design. Just make sure you don’t just follow what you like. Think about what your audience might like.

If you are not a designer, there are a few useful tools out there that can assist you with producing great aesthetics and brand assets for your business. The most popular one is Canva, which has a free version and a paid version based on your needs. This is not to replace a professional designer of course, so when you finally manage to allocate a budget for your branding to be done professionally, you should definitely go for it.

Content marketing

Content marketing involves creating and sharing content that attracts and engages your target audience. This can include blog posts, articles, social media posts, lead generation freebies and more. By creating and sharing valuable content, you can attract new customers while building loyalty among existing ones. This could by far be the most time-consuming type of marketing for small business owners. Not only do you have to produce content regularly, you will also have to maintain, schedule and publish your content in a way that will reach your target audience. Because of its heavy workload, a lot of small business owners delegate their content marketing tasks to virtual assistants or copywriters. If you’re just starting out, you can experiment with your content marketing budget. Start small and adjust your time & money according to your needs. Once you are ready, you can scale up.

(On-budget) Advertising

If you want to get your business noticed quickly, paid advertising is a great way to go. By targeting your ads specifically to your target audience, you can ensure that your message gets across loud and clear. The key to a successful ad campaign is focused targeting, on-point budget and appropriate length. There are no cookie-cutter configurations for setting up ads as they are highly flexible and dependent on your business goals. Because of this, ads require experiments and constant tweaking to work. If you’d like to learn more about ads, Facebook and Google have tons of information you can access for free.

Community-based networks

This one is probably the oldest one out of the lot. Whether it’s face to face or online, community-based networking has been one of the staple methods of marketing. Joining relevant online communities and forums is a great way to connect with potential customers and get your name out there. You can share your expert insights, answer questions, and build trust with potential clients. Plus, it’s a great way to stay up-to-date on industry trends. One of the most popular platforms to do this is Facebook groups. There are so many active entrepreneurship-based groups on Facebook whose members share opportunities for collaborations, paid projects and job vacancies daily. If you go down this path, make sure to follow the group’s rules and guidelines.

Even if your budget is tight, there are still plenty of ways to market your business effectively. Try some of the tips and strategies we shared in this post, and see how you can start getting more exposure for your business. And don’t forget to keep track of your results; that way, you can adjust your marketing plan as needed to continue seeing success.

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