An effective marketing campaign is important for every business but with a small budget, it is not easy.

The good news is that the whizzy website and flash business cards aren't always business critical. You don't need spend a lot of money to achieve the significant marketing results for your business.

Whether you are a start-up or established business trying to cut your marketing spend, there are a number of cost-effective marketing solutions.

Here are 11 tips prepared by the Multi-Award winning Marketing and Branding Expert, Vee Roberts, which will allow you to create an effective promotion that doesn't cost you the earth. 

1. Get your Website or Holding Page

You need an online presence, so make the best of what you have and create your online shop front so that you are visible. An online presence is better than nothing. You may not have cash for a smart, snazzy website - or perhaps you don't have time to create one yourself straight away....and that's fine. But you will need to work with something.

Get a functional holding page or website that looks smart, at least. As long as your images look great and your contact information is on your site, that's perfect as a short term solution. Once you have your business information accessible online, you basically have your online shop front sorted.

Be sure to maintain branding consistency too, align your design to your branding. 

Over time, your marketing should develop and blossom to establish your brand, attract loyal customers and make you money. So don't beat yourself up about everything being perfect, from the start, just Go For It!

2. Get Chatty On Social Media

Look into social media networks that might suit your business. The obvious choices are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter but there are more out there worth checking out.  Snapchat, Periscope and Buffer to name a few.

When considering social networks consider the audience they attract, the way that the audience engages on the platform and your social media objectives.

Don't take too long on this, the key thing is to get started.  Select a least two (but don't get too carried away) and start using them. Ideally look to ensure that your social media handles are consistent across all platforms (www.knowem.com - always you to check if a social media handle is available across multiple platforms). 

3. Create Your Visual Identity​

No budget?  No need for a designer or marketing agency, you can get started yourself and develop it over time.  If you don't have an eye for design then research some ideas or pay a low-cost designer.  Remember free creative websites like BeFunky, Canva.com and PicMonkey are excellent tools to create professional brand elements you can be proud of.  

If you think you will make use of them, create an online business card or get a designer to create your business cards. Avoid using time/date sensitive information on the hard copy of your business cards, as it will mean they only have short term shelf life. Think about your print costs too, how many cards do you really need to print? If you won't use business cards then don't make or purchase any.

4. Become Your Own Publicist

Press - dices containing the word press, a book, glasses and a fountain pen.

You need to know the target audience of the publication you are targeting. Make a few phone calls and send a few emails. Do a Google search on editors and journalists (by theme) for relevant publications. Call them, introduce yourself, invite them to your launch or even tell them more about what you do. Just remember to be engaging and interesting when communicating with press contacts. Keep them on side

5. Create your email signature​

C reate your email signature and if possible link it back to your website or current offers. This sounds very obvious but is so often missed.  In addition to your  key contact information, you can include social media details too.  You could also link to a showreel video if you have one.  

Don't get too carried away, your email signature shouldn't double your email's length. If you choose to use an image make it aesthetically pleasing on the eye and avoid going over 50 x 50 pixels if you're including your logo as part of your signature. Don't include your mini CV as part of your email signature, especially not including your 'mini CV' on your reply emails too....now that's just overkill!!

Make use of what you have in the short term and aim higher in the long term. If your marketing is on point, the revenue will come in and you can then develop into the all singing and all dancing brand you want to be....

6. Get Out There and Network

Model in studio isolated on white background

Speak to people and tell them about your business. Your network is your net worth. It is a good use of your time to attend networking events, especially if you are easy to communicate with and have a friendly face.  Just make sure the events are aligned to your business objectives and/or target audience.

Events like the Collaborative Masterclass are brilliant as they give you the opportunity to network & learn something new.​

7. Curate Awesome Content Online​

And engage your key target audience. Whether it's a blog post or YouTube video consider how you can be engaging and memorable.  Curating content is simply grouping other people's content together in a single location.  Why not push yourself and start a video blog.  Social Media Channels such as Twitter, Vine and Instagram now also allow you to create video content for free You can do this via a blog or YouTube channel too. 

8. Use Tools like Skype, Zoom & Phone

Press - dices containing the word press, a book, glasses and a fountain pen.

To have conversations with potential clients. Be available online to speak by video or audio, tools like Skype and zoom.us make this really easy and affordable to do. There is alot of power in a good old fashion conversation.  When you are new to business you will need to make yourself memorable and the most powerful way to do this is through connection.  

Don't be afraid to pick up the phone, yes that's right the telephone. Audio and Visual based conversations will always be more effective than text-based conversations.  As old-fashioned as it might sound, face-to-face will always beat all others.  But where this isn't possible there are lots of affordable alternatives that allow you to have video based conversations.  

9. Create your own newsletter​

It's free. Constant Contact or Mailchimp are handy tools that make it easy to both create and distribute a newsletter. Plus they are both simple to use and easy to navigate. Share your newsletter in forums and online communities. Better still, perhaps do a small print run that can be distributed physically (if of course it's suitable for your offline target audience). Remember to send your email newsletter to people who have opted in to receive this communication from you. You should also allow them to opt out (unsubscribe- Mailchimp and Constant Contact offer this built into the service) too. Email newsletters are a great way of communicating with your target audience.

10. Be Accessible and Searchable

Press - dices containing the word press, a book, glasses and a fountain pen.

Businesses that are easily found on the world wide web are by far more likely to get more enquiries than others. How easy is it for people to search your business online? Consider this as a gentle reminder on why you need a holding page or basic website as a short term solution when you are in business.

What does the internet say about your business and where it's located? Are you based where the internet says you are? Make sure everything is factually correct when you run a search on yourself or your company (in the early days the two tend to be one of the same). And consider having a profile on Google+ too and Google My Business.

11. Consider running a crowdfunding campaign

Thankfully with the rise of social media and new technologies there are now more ways to generate cashflow for your business. Make sure you are clear on if the crowdfunding platform you are using insists that you will be giving a part of your business away in exchange for cash.  There is nothing wrong with this, it is just important that you are clear up front.  In addition to raising money crowdfunding can also make for a really great PR opportunity. If you take this route, make sure you use a good video to ensure you build awareness of your business and your crowdfunding campaign. 

Don't Beat Yourself Up!

A note from Vee Roberts

Remember, don't procrastinate or beat yourself up about any of this marketing malarkey! For example, when I (Vee Roberts)  was a sole trader, I took months and months and months trying to save for my website to be designed properly (this was before I knew about templates and DIY site builders!). 

I launched Phase 1 of the insight2marketing website on zero budget and it was a 'make do' site with a few pages and basic details about the company. Phase 2 was an upgrade of Phase 1 (still very static and boring but with the social media feed and news). We launched that site knowing it would absolutely have to develop over time.

Not all small business owners are able to launch with an all singing all dancing marketing strategy so the trick is, use what you have and deliver what you can. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to have everything looking slick from day 1. It's a nice to have, but not always feasible. 

 Connect with Vee Roberts on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/insight2marketing) OR Facebook (Facebook.com/insight2marketing)

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An effective marketing campaign is important for every business but with a small budget, it is not easy.

The good news is that the whizzy website and flash business cards aren’t always business critical. You don’t need spend a lot of money to achieve the significant marketing results for your business.