Big-name brands like Coca-Cola have marketing and PR budgets well into the billions. Fortunately for the millions of small businesses across the globe, it’s still possible to promote your products for way less than that. If you’re operating at just a fraction of what the big guys spend, rest assured that it is still possible to optimize a budget in the $0 to $200/month range.
Of course, the hope is that one day you’ll have the budget to hire a bigger, more creative PR and marketing company. But if you’re still trying to promote yourself on a shoestring budget, it’s 100% possible to boost your presence in other ways, especially through digital marketing.
Follow these tips to boost your brand—even with a microscopic budget.
1. Revamp Your Website Content
What are you putting out there? Even tiny brands can do very well when they position themselves as high-quality and ready to take on the world. You are likely to lose a significant amount of customers if your website looks thrown together. By investing in your website, you are ensuring that any interested party (customer, retailer or investor) has the best possible first impression.
If you don’t currently have the budget for a total website redesign, then an SEO optimization is a fantastic place to start. Keywords change all the time, and by having your website verbiage jam-packed with words that people are searching for, you give yourself a much higher chance of being discovered.
🗺️ Related Reading: 5 Keyword Tips to Boost Your SEO Strategy
With that said, if your site feels sloppy or low-budget, try amping up your content. Given 94% of first impressions are based on a website’s visuals, by adding beautiful lifestyle images can both entice potential consumers and establish a sense of security with your brand.
You can also try:
- A new template to refresh your website, especially if it’s built on a platform like Wix or WordPress.
- Adding videos to your product pages—video is increasingly important for brands to get recognized and entice their consumer.
- Sourcing quality photos from stock photo sites such as Adobe Stock.
2. Ditch Perfectionism on Social Media
Social media is a goldmine for small brands for one simple reason: It’s free! Sure, you can get more eyes on your content if you pay for ads, but you don’t need to pay to put your products in front of other social media users.
If you’re hesitant to post on social platforms because your content isn’t studio quality, it’s time to ditch the perfectionism. What matters isn’t the quality of the video footage, but the quality of your message. People don’t expect pricey video quality on social media, so your iPhone is more than enough.
You don’t need to invest in expensive paid ads, either. As long as you have something interesting to say, post about it! Try out different content ideas to keep your social feeds fresh, such as:
- Live video Q&As.
- Day-in-the-life videos.
- Polls to increase engagement.
- Your brand’s take on a funny meme.
✔️Related Reading: The Ultimate Social Media Marketing Checklist [Infographic]
There is always the option of Instagram and TikTok filters to make your content look more buttoned-up. If you’re really in a hurry, you can create content for TikTok and repost it to Instagram or Facebook to get more traction for less effort.
3. Invest in Affiliate Marketing
Need to boost sales on a small budget? Affiliate marketing is an affordable way to market your business to shoppers while bolstering your bottom line. With affiliate marketing, you only pay affiliates when they bring in a sale. Since you’re paying for results, this type of marketing can easily pay for itself—which is way more affordable than expensive ads on Google or Facebook.
You do need a budget to pay your affiliates, though. The commission needs to be juicy enough to persuade affiliates to promote your brand long-term. It can take time to build a reputation with your target audience, so make sure you have the budget to sustain at least three months (ideally six to 12 months) of affiliate marketing for the best results.
4. Pitch Influencers
You have loads of product in hand. Why not exchange that product for influencer mentions? Consider leveraging influencer endorsements via LinkedIn, Instagram or TikTok.
Offer free products in exchange for an unboxing or an honest review. The worst thing that can happen is that the influencer ignores you—but the best-case scenario? You might see organic growth that takes your non-existent budget to big-investment status.
Keep in mind that most influencers will require a fee; however, some will do it for the right partnership at a discounted rate when it is a cause or brand that resonates with them.
But first: Investigate ways to optimize your business for free.
A gargantuan budget is helpful for a high-end aggressive experience, but plenty of entrepreneurs do PR and marketing without a monthly fee. If you have a small budget (or no budget at all), you still have plenty of opportunities to grow your business.
When in doubt, explore all free and low-cost avenues first. A smidge of creativity and sweat equity will scale your business and its marketing budget over time, leading to even more opportunities down the line.