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How to Market a Business with a Small Budget

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

Marketing a business can be hard if you only have a small marketing budget. We have broken down our top tips to help your small business succeed!

I recommend the following options for marketing a small business to my clients. Of course it depends from industry to industry but a lot of the basics remain the same across the board.

“A small business is an amazing way to serve and leave an impact on the world you live in.” -Nicole Snow


Not a designer? Canva is a brilliant tool to help small business owners design banners or design elements for a website, or social media elements in the correct dimensions (game changer!) You can do pretty much everything you need on the free plan, bar changing dimensions of designs (you have to recreate a FB design if you would like to use it for Instagram for example) and uploading of custom fonts.


I find Facebook Groups to be useful to also encourage people to support a local start up (beyond just your immediate friends and family). It can get good visibility especially if it your business is very relevant to the group (e.g. fresh produce sourced locally). To a certain degree, LinkedIn groups can be utilized however these tend to become spammy quite quickly whereas Facebook groups are often better moderated and managed.

Facebook groups I personally have found a lot of value in include:

- The Resource (for South African based advertising professionals)


If you have a mailing list, no matter how small, it is a cost effective way to communicate your offer. Mailchimp offers a free plan for businesses with up to 2 000 consumers, making this the go-to option for start-ups and small businesses looking for an affordable way to market their business.

You can encourage sign ups with coupons (if you are an eCommerce site) or special offers (e.g. a form on your website - Wix has some nice options here). Alternatives to Mailchimp include Klaviyo (one click Shopify integration) and ConvertKit.


A basic website is useful as it creates a hub for your content and helps you to gain visibility particularly when people are searching for your service. It need NOT be an advanced site - I like Wix but Squarespace and Wordpress are great options too. Leads from searches have intent which distinguishes them greatly from display advertising or ads across social media networks. They are more valuable as a result.

I can’t emphasise enough that the website doesn’t have to have advanced functionality initially - it should be a minimum viable product but house all of the most relevant information about your product or service and where to find it. If you are going to spend money, spend it on search engine optimization (SEO).


Facebook advertising typically has the lowest cost per click (CPC) of any social media network, as well as having the most advanced targeting options which helps you to rest assured that your message is reaching the right people. It is simple to set up basic advertising on Facebook, and if you get stuck Facebook Blueprint is an incredibly useful resource in this regard.


If you have the means to produce even simple videos, it can help you to win over social media algorithms and get good engagement rates. I would recommend starting with a video of 1 minute explaining your business or service. You don’t need a DSLR or expensive equipment but good lighting and great sound help. Prefer not to be on camera? Fiverr is a fantastic way to get explainer videos made cheaply.


Great content can stand you apart from your competitors straight off the bat. You don’t need a big production budget but a good eye for design and some strategic apps will take you a long way. For Instagram Stories for example I recommend: Over, Unfold, CutStory, Flaticon, AZ Recorder if you have an Android and the native screen recorder if you are on iOS.

Need more info? Check out my video about upping your game on Instagram stories.

Understanding hashtagging properly might also help you to get good organic visibility and growth, particularly on Instagram and Twitter.


Friends and family are your greatest ally when it comes to starting a new business. I would recommend using broadcast messages to people who you know will be willing to share your message and support your cause. If you would like to take it one step further, you can also change your personal Whatsapp to Whatsapp for Business, which has some great tools for small business owners. Regardless of whether you are using Whatsapp or Whatsapp for business, you can send broadcast messages to up to 256 consumers.

We hope you are feeling more inspired to make your goals a reality! Just remember - in the words of the ever famous Richard Branson - "a big business starts small."
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