April 14, 2021

Successful Marketing Tactics on a Small Business Budget

If you think you can’t have successful marketing tactics on a small business budget, think again. We’d like to share a story about our client, Molly

If you think you can’t have successful marketing tactics on a small business budget, think again. We’d like to share a story about our client, Molly, who was able to have a successful, cost-effective, marketing campaign by being creative. It’s a tale of expanding and marketing while on a dime. We review a case in this post, however, we cover how to develop marketing strategy for a small business in great detail.

Molly’s Story

Molly ran a success yoga practice, which she wanted to expand. She was concerned about how she was going to attract new clients to her new location. Molly had a successful formula, but most of her current client base came from her personal network and built over time. She wanted to grow her business, but she had outgrown her space. She knew her new location was perfect, since the demographics of new location were nearly identical to her current. But what she didn’t know was how to reach them. Sound familiar?

Importance of Marketing

Every small business owner knows the importance of marketing. However, when they hear the word, most think only of dollar signs. It’s tough as marketing involves risk. You don’t know if it’s going to work until after you spend the money. It scares us all. The good news is that there are some cost-effective in-bound marketing tactics you can use that increase your chances of being successful.

Cost-Effective Marketing Tactics

The first step in any effective marketing campaign is knowing your target audience’s need. In marketing jargon, it’s called the insight. It’s knowing what your target needs on both a rational and emotional level. While that might sound scary, it usually not. Ask your clients why they come. Listen to what they say and watch their body language. What motived them is likely to motivate others. Having a solid grasp on this motivation will only make these tactics more effective.  

Video marketing

With technology today, video marketing is cheap, easy, and effective. Nothing conveys emotion more than video. Happy clients will attract other happy clients. In Molly’s case, she gave a free class to anyone who was willing to participate in her video. People could see how she taught, how she interacted with clients, and how her clients loved her. It was shot on her iPhone, edited in several short clips with Adobe, and uploaded to YouTube. It cost her next to nothing to create it.

Social selling

So how did we distribute that great video content? By social media, of course. She added the video to the company pages. But, that wasn’t all. She offered her clients a discount on their next class if the tagged her and included the video in the social media feeds. For a minor cost, she had the content distributed to thousands. The great thing about social media is that friends of the current clients were more likely to become new ones. She also did a little paid advertising to boost the video, but we’re talking hundreds of dollar vs. thousands in order to save money.

Social media is marketing asset for all small businesses. A strong social presence can help raise brand awareness, trial, and offer promotions. The targeting capabilities are very powerful as well.


Since she used online booking for classes, Molly had all of the current and lapsed clients’ emails. She was doing a monthly newsletter, but she wasn’t using it to promote her business. A simple refer a friend promotion was a very effective way to gain trial. Like social media, friends are more likely to try than those without a referral. Again, it cost nearly nothing, and it had a big impact.

Make information easy to consume

While Molly didn’t need this tactic, it is useful in other cases and worth mentioning for marketing purposes. Infographics are a creative and useful way to convey complex ideas.

Molly’s Results

Molly’s marketing was extremely effective. After 3 months of effort, she was at about 50% of where she wanted to be. After 6 months, she was ahead of goal. Her second location was a success, and after year and a half, she’s considering expanding again. These marketing tactics aren’t all of the tactics available at your disposal, but they are a few that can be cheaply and effectively executed with little to no investment. This is why they are great starting points for marketing on a small business budget. We share some addition lost cost marketing strategy options for entrepreneurs and small businesses on other posts, such as guerilla marketing for small business.

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About the Author

Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile

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