8fbd035081bd09934004bfc61d79c31c5d5d9ee4

20 Ways Startups With Limited Marketing Budgets Can Thrive

A new venture’s success depends on more than its founders having a great idea and a tremendous amount of drive; it also needs paying customers to grow. While the founders of a startup may possess the ambition and energy to pull their business together initially, generating the revenue it takes to make it thrive means getting the word out about their solution.

Unfortunately, what many startup founders don’t have in abundance is the financial wherewithal to fuel a robust marketing strategy. When the budget is tight, check out the tips below from members of Forbes Agency Council to learn how to acquire customers on a shoestring.

1. Position Yourself As An Authority

Position yourself as an authority in your niche. Start by riding on the power of established traffic platforms versus spending money building your own website traffic from the ground up. Look for partners, associations, podcasts, blogs and more in your industry. Immerse yourself in groups to answer questions and provide advice. It’s quicker and more cost-effective to do this while you build your own site traffic over the long term. – Michael Fox, Corberry Digital

2. Establish Strategic Partnerships

Establishing strategic partnerships can be a game-changer for startups operating on a shoestring budget. Identify businesses or influencers that share synergies with your brand and whose audiences align with your target demographic. Collaborate on initiatives that provide mutual benefits, building credibility and trust. Leveraging the existing audience of your partners can significantly expand your reach. – Ranzie Anthony, Athlon

3. Offer A Solution To A Real Problem

Ensure that your product or service is a solution to a real problem. Buy some early success with clients who will let you publicize their success. Winners like to hang out with other winners. Also, be eminently helpful and likable. – Duncan Alney, Firebelly Marketing

4. Define And Prove Your Differentiators

Branding is everything for new and established companies alike. If you want to win, your business must own a unique place in your target’s mind. Even if the product or service is not unique, many things can differentiate you. Define what makes your company special. Focus on not only getting the word out, but also on delivering something special to those who are willing to give you a chance. – Jacquelyn LaMar Berney, VI Marketing and Branding


Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


5. Articulate Your Vision And Mission

Clearly articulate your company vision and mission to inspire and attract followers, partners and customers to join you on the journey. Make sure you have a compelling, valuable offering that is credible and differentiated from others, providing justifiable reasons for customers to buy into the offering now. Investing this time will reap rapid rewards. – Kate Whelan, Notch Communications

6. Leverage The Power Of Three

When you start out, you must have three companies that buy into what you’re selling. Two is not enough—if you lose one, you’re exposed. One is too risky—you haven’t proved the model. Once you have three people who buy what you’re selling, then launch. Also, be clear on your values and your messaging; can you say what you do in 140 characters? Is it clear and unique? Make it count! – Julia Linehan, The Digital Voice PR Agency Ltd

7. Learn To Sell

When I launched my business 15 years ago, I was assured by everyone around me that I would be in demand—post-launch, no one who said that signed with me. I learned a valuable lesson that encouragement and compliments don’t launch a business; payments do. Very quickly, I learned to sell and give permission for prospects to say “no, thanks,” providing me more time to get business. Learn to sell. – Douglas Karr, OpenINSIGHTS

8. Prioritize Building Strong PR

A new founder with a limited marketing budget should prioritize building strong public relations. This involves crafting a compelling story about your startup, networking with journalists and influencers, and leveraging social media to generate organic buzz. Effective PR can create brand awareness and attract customers without significant financial investment. – Qamar Zaman, KISS PR Brand Story Press Release Distribution

9. Build A Complementary Community

Build a community of partners and colleagues with complementary business offerings. As a media agency, partner with a respected creative agency to expand your outreach and offerings. Also, forge relationships with organizations that cater to various customer segments in your market, encouraging mutual referrals for jobs or opportunities. Cross-promoting and community-building make a difference! – Rosie Walker, Mediate.ly

10. Make Sure You Acquire The Right Customers

The best thing founders with tight marketing budgets can do as they try to acquire customers is ensure they are acquiring the right customers. Stay super-focused on your niche and who your audience target is. You can grow from there, but you cannot grow meaningfully when trying to be everything to everyone. – Kirsten Ludwig, IN GOOD CO

11. Build Solid Relationships With Your Audience

Focus on building solid, authentic relationships with your target audience. Understanding your ideal customers will help you conduct market research to identify their needs, preferences and pain points and then create high-quality, relevant content that addresses their needs and interests. Share valuable content, engage in conversations and build a community around your brand. – Jonas Muthoni, Deviate Agency

12. Leverage WOM Marketing

The No. 1 action a new founder with a tight budget can take is to leverage word-of-mouth marketing. Focus on building strong, genuine relationships with your initial customers, encouraging them to share their positive experiences, thus organically growing your customer base. – Blake George, BMG Media Co.

13. Establish Your Personal Brand

Who do you want to be? What do you want to be known for? Craft your point of view, and then create content that reinforces this compelling, intriguing and differentiated POV, which will start to transform you into a thought leader. This also offers an outlet for getting your ideas on paper while startup pressures ignite. Long-form and short-form content and podcasts are all relevant and effective. – Allison Minutillo, Primacy

14. Conduct Customer Interviews

New founders should focus on building a great product and team and conducting customer interviews. Organic social media, strategic partnerships, meetup events and email blasts from LinkedIn connections are all free ways to get traction and grow without a marketing budget. – Benjamin Kepner, Global Social Media Marketing

15. Connect With Colleagues, Friends And Family

Connect with former colleagues, friends and even family members to gain an advantage in acquiring new leads. Attend conferences to make a lasting impression by posing insightful questions and joining panels. Also, familiarize yourself with the vendors at these events, even if their rates exceed your current budget. Establishing relationships with them could lead to partnerships with their clients. – Larry Gurreri, Sosemo LLC

16. Invest In Messaging

The right messaging will motivate the right audiences to take action. This also sets the stage to ensure you are consistent across your website, email and social media content. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing

17. Provide A Stellar Customer Experience

All the awareness, communications, connections and sales made are worthless unless you have happy, satisfied clients who will vouch for you, recommend you and refer you. Nail your product and/or service experience, then leverage that success for sustainable growth. – Lorrie Thomas Ross, Web Marketing Therapy Inc.

18. Write Social Media And Blog Posts

Generate awareness by writing, posting and spreading your name and brand as much as possible. Use your personal stories to your advantage. Additionally, attend trade shows and conferences where you can talk about your brand, and pitch to the media—it doesn’t cost a thing and won’t break the bank. – Nataliya Andreychuk, Viseven

19. Leverage Organic Reach

For a new founder with a limited marketing budget, leveraging organic reach on platforms such as LinkedIn and TikTok is crucial. These platforms offer free, direct access to target audiences. The key is to consistently post content specifically tailored to your audience. This strategy can effectively attract and engage potential customers, fueling growth and success for a startup. – Nico Tettenborn, MAKE IT TETTEN GmbH

20. Share The ‘Story’ Of Your Business

Be sure to share the “story” of your business. Making an announcement is good, but sharing your brand’s purpose and why you founded the business will make it meaningful. Connecting authentically sets the stage for a strong and lasting partnership. – Alicia Arnold, AK Arnold

Related Posts

You may also like...