Marketing Without a Budget? Use These Proven Growth Strategies (That Actually Work)

Taryn Williams

Whether you're just launching a business or you've been in the game forever, it pays to know how to spread the word without spreading the cash. Here's how you can market your business without a serious budget.

If no one knows who you are, how can they do business with you?

Answering that question is the challenge all new, emerging and experienced businesses face. As we collectively emerge from the pandemic and confidence in businesses returns, it’s inevitable that you’ll face increased competition as new brands and businesses emerge too.

So how can you take your business, cut through the online noise, and flourish?

If you want to win friends, influence people, and fill your bank account with cold, hard cash, you’ll need to be strategic with your approach. But odds are you don’t have an ‘Amazon’ or ‘Pepsi’ marketing budget.

And you don’t need one.

The following strategies can help you boost brand awareness, find customers, and supercharge your sales without you having to sink your life savings into your marketing. I’m not promising that these strategies will turn you into a billion-dollar company overnight, but they’ll start building priceless momentum. The longer you stick with these strategies, the more growth you’ll experience. 

So let’s start with something you probably use every single day…

Use social media to grow your audience and build connections

Notice how I didn’t say “grow your bank account”.

Whether you’re launching a new brand or looking to get over the hump and grow an established business, you’ll need to grow your social media presence. But it’s a mistake to think social media should only be a direct selling channel.

A quick look at the current social landscape shows a seriously, seriously saturated space. I’m talking about the 95 million photos and videos hitting IG feeds every day. 500 million tweets posted every day. And 720,000 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube videos in a single 24-hour period.

With endless amounts of content being created, your audience is highly selective about what they click on… and what they avoid. For new businesses, this means you can’t simply sell, sell, sell on social media. Instead, successful businesses use social media for relationships building, reputation management, audience reach, and branding.

When you’ve built a loyal following and developed your brand, sales will follow.

Tips to help you build your presence on social media:

  • Make your profile as professional and engaging as possible
  • Identify your area of expertise and stick to it
  • Follow influential figures in your industry
  • Engage with people in your niche (don’t half-ass it!)
  • Use automation apps like Sprout, Buffer and Hootsuite to save time
  • Regularly share content that adds value to your follower’s lives
  • Keep your brand voice, tone and image consistent
  • Use influencers to tap into new, related audiences (more on that below)

Your audience already spends time on social media. Like, a lot of time. The average consumer spends 2 hours and 27 minutes a day on social media. It only makes sense to meet them where they are so make growing your social brand a priority.

Use testimonials to build strong social proof and word of mouth

Alright, let’s set the scene…

It’s a lazy Sunday and you’re shopping for shoes on Amazon.

You come across two similar sellers both offering the same pair of shoes. One of the sellers is offering the product at a cheaper price but they have no reviews. Literally, none. No one has ever bothered to drop any feedback. The other seller is charging *slightly* more but they have over forty 5-star reviews.And every review is glowing whether they’re complimenting the packaging, the delivery speed, or the quality of the shoes.

So, who would you buy your new shoes from?

If you’re like most people, you’ll pay a little more because you can trust the product more - and that’s the power of testimonials in action.

Consumers want to buy products from businesses they trust. And that’s why your customers are your best salespeople. By adding testimonials to your website, social media accounts, or advertising campaigns you build trust with your audience and turn leads into customers.

Testimonials can help you:

  • Improve perceived credibility
  • Create emotional connections
  • Build new and existing client loyalty
  • Influencer purchasing decisions

79% of people trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from friends and family. And 91% check online reviews before making a purchase. Using testimonials is practically free advertising that helps you generate leads and customers are more likely to give you their business because they trust the honest feedback of your current customers.

Social proof is all about the power of the crowd. The more examples you have of happy customers, the stronger your testimonials will be.

Use influencers to sway purchasing behaviour and drive conversions

If you're like most businesses, odds are you’ve got limited time, money and resources to throw at your marketing efforts.

So, how do you drive the best results without spending big?

Influencer marketing.

On Instagram, 60% of users report they have discovered a product on another person’s profile. Partnering with influencers can help put your products in the hands of well-known and trusted individuals to boost engagement or drive conversions. At the same time, there’s more to influencer marketing than sending a DM to the latest graduates from the ‘Married At First Sight’ academy (or equivalent reality TV star).

Just because big brands can hire leading celebrities and influencers doesn’t mean they’ve cornered the market on influencers.

Micro-influencers are a great starting point instead. With followers counts between 10,000 and 50,000, these smaller influencers typically have a highly engaged community who genuinely cares about what they have to say. To back this up, results from recent surveys show reliability was nearly TWICE AS IMPORTANT as popularity. Don’t be put off by follower counts alone. Micro-influencers can endorse your products or share your brand with their followers in exchange for a free product.

Need a quick refresher? Check out our ‘What is a Micro-Influencer’ guide

Remember, consumers prefer to buy from people, not from a faceless company. Influencers literally put a trustworthy face to your brand’s name. At the same time, you’re meeting your audience where they are - on social media - for considerably less than other forms of advertising.

Use offline executions to develop brand image and stand out from the crowd

The amount of time your audience spends with their heads buried in their phones has surged since the start of the pandemic.

6 hours and 58 minutes.

That’s how much time the average consumer spends online in 2022. Whether surfing the web, browsing social media, or watching YouTube, it’s easy to assume your time and resources are best spent by creating digital content.

And that’s true… sort of.

While digital marketing and influencer partnerships represent exciting opportunities for brands, don’t rule out the offline world entirely.

Tangible, real-world relationships can deliver serious results when utilised properly. This could mean stepping back from the keyboard and hosting a launch party for your new brand. By integrating your marketing to combine the online and offline world, you can grab the attention of current and new customers and leave a lasting impression when those people do head back online.

Or, consider hosting an influencer event to build rapport with your content creators. This is a cost-effective way to roll out a new product and create positive experiences that influencers can share on social media.

Whatever your approach, offline events are a powerful community-building tool, so don’t sleep on integrated marketing!

There’s one quality all new businesses need to be successful…

And that quality is…

Consistency.

Yep, it’s not flashy or sexy. But the truth is, consistency is what delivers results.

You can pour money into a one-off influencer marketing campaign, or throw up a billboard by the highway, but none of those strategies will work in the long run unless you stick with what works and give yourself enough runway to succeed.

The more consistent you are with the strategies in this guide, the quicker you’ll get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Double down on anything that drives results. Tweak and improve anything that’s underperforming. It’s that simple.

Whether you’re in your first week of business, or you’re approaching your tenth year, growth will always be an ongoing process that requires hard work, patience and dedication. There’s no shortcut to the top, but there are ways to grow your brand without spending big. 

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