3 Clever Strategies for Marketing Your Startup on a Tight Budget

Low cost marketing strategies that you can use

You’ve launched your startup, congrats! The next step is building brand awareness and enticing in those crucial new customers. As a startup business, you know that marketing is key to driving growth, but you’re also strapped for cash. Even when you’re backed by an investor, you still need to make sure that every penny counts. Yet, marketing is crucial to driving your success.

The good news is that’s it possible to deliver big marketing results, no matter how tight your budget. Here, we run through three proven, budget-friendly strategies for marketing your new business on a tight budget.

Tap into Social Media Marketing

 Marketing your startup on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest is a great way to get your name out there and start building a community of fans. There’s currently more than 39 million users on social media in the UK, so your target audience is bound to be on there! While seeing significant results on social media today requires quite a bit of advertising budget, there are some clever ways that you can leverage social media to gain exposure, without blowing your budget.

One proven approach is to host a social media giveaway. With giveaways, the goal is to connect with and introduce people to your brand and inspire them to develop a longer-term relationship with your product or service. Because the goal is to reach as many people as possible, look for cost-effective giveaway items, like button badges, enamel pins or handy keyrings.

Consider hosting a ‘like to win’ contest, where followers are asked to like a post, profile or photo in order for the chance to win a covetable item. These types of contests are a simple, yet effective, way to promote your social media channel and engage your fans. It’s also a great way to get those precious first followers.

Take for example, this holiday giveaway from Fabletics as part of their #GiftsforMeSweeps campaign. The joint promotion between @Fabletics and @ClassPass requires entrants to follow both brands’ accounts, like the contest photo and tag a friend for the chance to win a free month of ClassPass for themselves and a friend. Fans can also score a bonus entry by sharing the contest post with #GiftforMeSweeps.

Another option is to launch a hashtag contest. Hashtags are a great way to start a conversation, interact with fans and promote your startup. This kind of giveaway contest is particularly good for branding – especially if you come up with your own hashtag – and gives fans the opportunity to have an experience with your brand.

For example, High Society Freeride, an outdoor and sporting goods store, encouraged sports enthusiasts to share photos of the things they love doing outdoors using the #OneLifeMakeItCount hashtag. Not only did the campaign help promote the brand’s message, but it also helped expand its reach. 

Team Up with Other Businesses

 Another way to promote your business without breaking the bank is to join up with another business. As a start-up, you’re strapped for cash and eager to reach new audiences. Partnering up with another business can help you reach a whole new set of potential customers, without going way over budget. By pooling your resources and leveraging each other’s customer bases, you can cost-effectively expand your reach and build a sales pipeline.

For example, fintech startups Transferwise and Monzo recently teamed up to make international payments easier for Monzo bank customers. The partnership introduces both companies to a whole new pool of potential customers, while expanding upon their own offering. The key to a successful partnership is to find businesses that serve a similar target audience and complement your offering. From creating co-sponsored content to running cross-promotional ads, the opportunities for partnership promotion are endless.

Produce Great Content

Last, but not least, create great content. The phrase ‘content is king’ has become ubiquitous in online marketing publications of late, and for good reason. Well-written, thoughtful content is a highly effective and budget-friendly way to promote your business. It builds brand awareness, improves your SEO and most importantly engages current and potential customers, which will in turn increase sales in the long-run.

The best place to start is creating a company blog where you share the latest industry-related insights, tips and expert advice. Sharing compelling content via your blog and social media helps people find your website and demonstrates your value.

Another idea is to seek out ‘guest post’ opportunities on other blogs or publications that align with your company ethos. For example, a marketing company might approach an online publication for start-ups about writing an article around email marketing success.


 Just because you have a small marketing budget, doesn’t mean you can achieve big results. This list just scratches the surface of all the budget-friendly strategies you can use to market your new business. Ultimately, it can be done on a tight budget, but keep in mind that investing ample time and money on promotion plays an essential role in growing your business in the long run. Experiment with different methods in the early stages and determine which works best for your business.

For example, if you’re a B2B tech start-up, you may find that a combination of email marketing and content marketing delivers the most impactful results. On the other hand, a beauty ecommerce startup may find the most success with social media campaigns. The trick is to find what works for your unique business. Either way, the most important step is get started! So, choose one of the budget-friendly strategies above and start marketing your startup today.

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