How to market when you have no budget or advertising spend

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Date: 18 November 2021

A marketer at their busy desk

It is definitely possible to market your business or website even when you have no budget. Whether you are a start-up, looking to ramp up sales or have a side project, you can find ways today to convert customers even without putting in any advertising or marketing spend.

Without a budget, you may just have to hustle a little more, but there are certainly effective ways of getting your business, service or product out there.

From selling products like cupcakes or beauty products to selling your digital marketing or accounting services, our guide offers some great ideas below.

Start with social media

Social media is always going to be your first port of call if you are trying to drum up sales in a free way or without a budget.

You can start by using LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram where you already have a circle of connections or followers; it can be as simple as asking if anyone would like to buy or sample your product or service.

A popular post is something along the lines of "Hi everyone, I have just set up my own business, please DM if you are interested and please enjoy our early bird special."

Adding a hook can be useful if you are just launching, whether it is an early bird discount or a freebie on top - but if you are not spending anything, you need to capture the customer.

If you are using other social media platforms where you do not have followers yet such as Twitter, just make sure that you use the best hashtags possible so that it can reach a wider audience. Also consider using emojis in your posts, since statistically these create a higher engagement than not.

Use forums

From money forums to Facebook groups, there are a number of forums out there where people are discussing their troubles and they could be your potential customers. In fact, price comparison site Forces Compare came about after helping people save money through Facebook group.

With regular problems such as lack of sleep, weaning babies or even fixing a website, you can comment or join these groups for free and approach people one-by-one, commenting on their posts or sending them a direct message, helping them to overcome their pain points.

Some forums may require sign up and some may need to be approved by the administrator, but if you are not forceful or overly promotional, this can be a free and effective way to market your business with no budget.

Speak to existing customers

If you have existing customers who are happy, they may be in a good position to refer you some business.

You can include some clever language in your email marketing, social media and on your email website too such as 'Want to refer us to a friend?' - and offer a simple way for them to share or email your services to a close contact.

Any added incentives are recommended, whether it is discounts from future orders, a freebie included in their next order or even making someone 'customer of the month'.

Seek referral partners

Referral partners can be extremely effective for boosting sales for a business with no marketing budget. A referral partner often receives commission for making the introduction, which could range from just 1%-2% for a big value item or sale, or 10%-20% for typical services in recruitment, dentistry, law or marketing. 

Dan Kettle of Pheabs explains "Referral marketing, or affiliate marketing if it is done online, is a very viable way to grow or scale your business. It works beautifully, because you are only paying a commission to the referrer if they make a sale and you can also choose what you accept or do not accept.

"Be sure to make good incentives for your affiliate or referrer, because they may have a number of options or other companies they can work with. But try to make it complimentary, maybe they offer one thing, but can upsell yours too, which could be make-up artists who also recommend hair stylists, or web designers who also recommend social media consultants. Relationships can be key here, so always speaking and keeping in touch with referral partners is very important."

Try word of mouth

Word of mouth is undoubtedly the best form of marketing possible and of course, it is completely free.

To generate word of mouth marketing, you truly need to deliver a superb proposition and ensure that it makes a real difference to the customer's business or life. 

Word of mouth can take time, but whether it is offering great value for money, a service that is better than anywhere else or always going that extra mile for the customer, you should be able to create word of mouth in no time.

Copyright 2021. Article made possible by Tudor Lodge Digital.

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