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Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Marketing is a necessity for businesses of all types and sizes. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the average business spends between 9.6% and 11.8% of revenue on marketing. However, small businesses may not always have a large enough budget to launch a massive campaign. The good news is that you do not need a huge budget to begin your marketing strategy. 


“While using a trustworthy agency will ultimately give your business the best results,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, said. “There are many free or inexpensive tools at your disposal.”


BBB provides the following tips on how to promote your business in a big way on a small budget.


Use free online marketing tools

Small businesses can leverage free marketing opportunities provided by search engines. For instance, by creating a profile on search engines, your business will rank in top results when users enter “near me” queries. With optimization strategies like geo-targeting and local Search Engine Optimization (SEO), local businesses can appear on the top of the search engine results page without spending any money.


A survey of online user behavior shows that there has been a 200% surge of “near me” searches since 2017. The survey also reveals that 97% of users discover local businesses through online searches, and that there is a 50% chance that users will visit a business’s website from their search engine profile. 

Search engines make it simple for consumers to find the nearest business providing the goods or services they are seeking, which means this is an important area to concentrate your marketing efforts, especially if you are on a budget.


Use email marketing for informational or promotional advertising

Email marketing is proven to drive a worthwhile return on investment (ROI). For every dollar spent, businesses earn an average of $36 from email marketing efforts. Utilizing email marketing to maintain communication with your customers while also making sure they are aware of complementary product offerings is a great way to increase sales.


Cultivate sustainable practices

One way to raise local brand awareness is by making positive contributions to the community. Some examples of how your business can get involved in community-centered activities include:

  • Partner with the local government for environmental beautification.
  • Mobilize the community to participate in recycling projects.
  • Donate or participate in community causes, such as raising funds to save abandoned animals, raising funds for local students, or helping cancer patients.
  • Organize social events, such as annual runs to raise awareness for cardiovascular illness or cook-offs for businesses running eateries.


Use the right social media platforms

While social media users are on the rise, especially in the under-30 age bracket, this trend does not translate to a market niche for small businesses. Strategizing is vital to driving a positive ROI from your social media marketing efforts.

Some strategies for succeeding with social media marketing include:

  • Focus on the platforms your target audience frequents. Each social media site has distinct demographics requiring different marketing techniques.
  • Utilize the free analytics tools on social media platforms to understand the characteristics of your audience.
  • Engage with your followers and subscribers to build brand awareness and loyalty.
  • Remain consistent in posting.


Make the most of mobile advertising

Research shows that in 2022, worldwide mobile ad spending will reach 395 billion and grow to 494 billion by 2024. This trend is being driven by the global rise of smartphones. There are several inexpensive ways to market your business to mobile users. These include:

  • Optimize your website for mobile devices and ensure that mobile response times are quick.
  • Use free tools to create mobile videos for marketing. Most tools have integrated features that simplify the creative process.
  • Use stories on social media platforms to generate user traffic.
  • Send out SMS offers.


Form strategic partnerships

You can also promote your small business by partnering with businesses that provide complementary products or services. This can make it easier for locals to fulfill their purchasing requirements. 

You can better the package deal by providing subsidized prices for the product or service combination. If you pursue this strategy, however, it’s important to ensure that the companies you partner with share your same values.


For example, partnering with a reputable organization like the BBB is a great way to strengthen your reputation. By getting accredited with the BBB, consumers will know that your business is trustworthy and that it adheres to the BBB values, which will boost your brand value.


Visit the BBB Business News Feed for more useful tips and tricks that will help you start your marketing journey. Remember, great businesses are out there. Always look for the BBB seal; it’s the Sign of a Better BusinessSM. Start with companies you can trust by going to To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call BBB at (903)581-5704 or use BBB Scam Tracker


About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.


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