Running A Business

Cost-Effective Marketing Moves to Make on a Tight Budget

Dec 03, 2020 • 4 min read
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      It takes money to make money. Even mediocre marketers can turn a massive pile of cash into a cluster of new customers. However, it takes a little bit of ingenuity to turn pennies into dimes when money is tight.

      Fortunately for you, making money with limited cash is far from impossible. If your marketing budget is teeny-tiny, you’re going to have to get creative. Below, we’ll share our favorite cost-effective marketing moves to help you make more with less.

      Focus on Organic Marketing

      Although paid advertising allows for endless reach, it costs money for every click, view, and eyeball. On the other hand, organic marketing doesn’t increase (dramatically) with each additional follower you obtain. Let’s take a look at the 4 most effective organic marketing channels:

      • Email marketing
      • Social media marketing
      • SEO (search engine optimization)
      • PR (public relations)

      Email Marketing

      Once someone subscribes to your email list, it costs little-to-nothing to market to them. Yes, you have ESP (email service provider) costs like contact storage and price-per-email, but these are insignificant when you consider email’s 4,000% ROI.

      The real noteworthy costs to email marketing are associated with how you gain email subscribers. Driving paid traffic to high-quality landing pages is one easy method to gain subscribers, but organic social media, SEO, and PR are low-cost alternatives that work well, too.

      Social Media Marketing

      If you build up a large social media following, you can market to your followers on several social channels at zero cost. You can directly sell to your audience on social media, or you can lure them to landing pages with high-quality content and convert them into email subscribers (to become customers later).

      Regardless, the only cost you should be concerned about is the investment required to build your social following. If you’re creating first-rate content that people love, it’ll be easy. However, if you’re producing stereotypically boring content, you’re going to need to get clever or invest in paid ads.


      SEO is the marketing tactic of writing content for the web that ranks higher on search results (think Google, Bing, YouTube, etc.). The only costs associated with SEO are building a reliable site infrastructure and paying to create top-notch pages that have a chance of competing with similar content.

      SEO usually requires an up-front investment, but it takes months (and sometimes years) to start seeing the fruits of your labors. However, it pays dividends in the local market and can ultimately drive your marketing program when done correctly.


      PR has many different aspects, but the portion we’re focusing on here is media outreach. A well-written press release sent to the right people can get you free exposure from bloggers and journalists. You’ll have to do some networking to find the contact information for influential individuals, but it doesn’t cost anything to do research and send some cold emails.

      Become a Local Sponsor

      Sponsoring the right event, business, or initiative can drive brand awareness at an incredibly low cost. Plus, you get to support causes that are important to you and your company.

      Here are a few solid reasons to consider local sponsorship:

      • Low costs: Local sponsorship doesn’t have to be expensive. You can sponsor local causes with cash donations, pro bono services, volunteer work, prize donations, and more. It could be as costly as a brand-new car or as cheap as new jerseys for the baseball team—you can make local sponsorship work with practically any budget.
      • Good publicity: Unlike an annoying ad interrupting your YouTube video, local sponsorship usually leaves a good taste in your audience’s mouth. When your audience sees your name sponsoring a local concert or park upgrades, they’ll typically have positive feelings toward your brand.
      • Exposure to target audience: If you’re looking to sell soccer equipment, sponsoring a local team puts your name in front of the players, parents, officials, and more in a natural setting.
      • Tax write-offs: Cash payments can be deducted as business expenses, and donations can potentially be deducted as charitable contributions.

      Make More With Less

      There are always ways to market your business—regardless of the size of your budget. As you put these plans into action and reap the rewards, you’ll hopefully grow your revenue and customer base, unlocking new marketing opportunities.

      Whether you have a brand-new business or you’ve been forced to cut your marketing budget, starting with a small amount of cash pushes you to be efficient. Large budgets often lead to waste and low-ROI-generating tactics. 

      With a tight budget, you’ll spend every dollar with care—and that’s not a bad thing. Start small, scale your efficiencies, and cut money-wasting tactics before your budget grows.

      About the author
      Jesse Sumrak

      Jesse Sumrak is a Social Media Manager for SendGrid, a leading digital communication platform. He's created and managed content for startups, growth-stage companies, and publicly-traded businesses. Jesse has spent almost a decade writing about small business and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped startup. When he's not dabbling in digital marketing, you'll find him ultrarunning in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Jesse studied Public Relations at Brigham Young University.

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