Guide to Online Marketing With No Budget

November 10, 2022
Laura Smith

For startups and small business owners, every penny counts towards making their business a success. But how can small businesses market themselves on a tiny or even non-existent budget?

It’s not easy but it can be done.  You don’t need a massive marketing budget to boost your business profits and reach your customers. The key to success is to ensure you have a clear goal and know who your target audience is.

Here we guide you step by step through tried and tested techniques to market your business with no budget whatsoever!

Understand Online Marketing

You could waste a lot of time if you don’t understand what online marketing is all about.  Subscribe to marketing resources such as BuzzSumo (enjoy a 30-day free trial), Neil Patel (loads of free blog content available) and Moz if you get the chance. The more you read and understand, the better armed you will be to make your business a success.

Understanding how digital marketing can help your small business to grow
Understand how digital marketing can help your small business to grow

Set your Business Goals

What do you want your marketing to achieve? Create a clear plan that outlines your marketing goals, why they are important, how to achieve them and how to measure success (think SMART goals). 

It's important to make sure that your marketing goals match your businesses long term plan. 

Measure, refine and retarget!  Track marketing results weekly, monthly and quarterly so that you can compare data over time and quickly make adjustments.

Make The Most of Free Marketing Tools

There are so many great tools that can help you to properly implement and optimise your digital marketing campaign, even when you have zero budget. Use them to gain insights into your customer and their behaviour.

Below are some of our favourite and invaluable free tools:

Google Search Console

Great for understanding where your websites page is ranking in search engines and what key terms you are being found for.

Google Analytics 

Great for understanding what your customers are looking at on-site, which channel they have been directed from (social or search engine). This can give you insights into who is interested in your brand. 

Market Yourself in your Local Community

Google My Business is a great tool to market your business in your local area. Google My Business is only for local businesses that do face to face business with their customers so you will need physical premises of some sort to be able to list here such as a shop, warehouse or office. 

Identify your Target Audience

Who is your marketing trying to reach and speak to? In many cases, this might seem obvious, but it isn’t always. It’s hidden in the unique selling point of your product or service. Understanding exactly who your customer is will help you to reach them. 

create your own video content to be shared on social or your website
Utilise free on low cost design tools to create engaging video content using just your mobile phone

Social Media

Free to set up, the likes of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok offer vital exposure to your target audience, every day! Using social media in the right way will help increase awareness of your brand, ultimately leading to an increase in sales. It's vital to be really disciplined with posting, but by putting aside a small amount of time each day, you will soon start to see followers and engagement build.

Email Marketing

Ensure that your website is set up to capture emails via a subscribe button or keep in touch-field if you are service-led. Set up an automated email to be sent when customers purchase something from your site if you are eCommerce to entice them back. Build a database and contact customers with new products, services and marketing campaigns. Explore email marketing software to help you build and automate slick emails. Many offer free plans such as Mailchimp, so check out our full review of Email Marketing Tools to find one that fits. 

Get Creative

This is only free if you or someone in your business can write content, otherwise, you will need to outsource to a freelancer or agency.  Regularly publishing fresh and unique online content will boost your brand credibility, trust and help with SEO. Think about creating an area on your website to house blogs and other content such as videos.  

Marketing content that you can create yourself includes:


When writing content ensure that it is optimised for search engines.  There are free keyword tools that you can take advantage of such as Google Keyword Planner, but SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) also offer insights into what your future customer may be searching for. Take note of autofill in the search bar as well as related searches at the bottom of the page.  

When thinking about content topics always try and ensure that your content is valuable.  Use it to answer questions that your customers may make in a search engine. 

By doing so you will not only start to rank in search engines, attracting relevant traffic to your website, but you will also start to attract backlinks to your site as well.  This is where other websites mention you and link back to you, basically telling Google that they are giving your site a vote of confidence, increasing your website authority score.

Guest blogs

Reach out to another online business and offer to write an article or blog post for them. Guest posts are a great way of marketing your website or business for free. They raise awareness of your brand and build backlinks to your website. When used properly, they can really improve your traffic and even get you ranking on the first page.

Video Content 

If you haven't heard of TikTok then where have you been? Video is now the most engaged with the content out there.  If you aren't creating video, you're likely falling way behind. 

But video making doesn't need to be Hollywood standard. For effective marketing videos, the more simple it is, the more authentic the branding, and the more effective the marketing outcome. Use Video to promote and market your product or service, increase engagement on your digital and social channels.


Audio content can increase your reach and is pretty cheap to produce. It’s a great way to build trust with your target audience. Just make sure you have something valuable or entertaining to share that’s in line with your brand. Invite other relevant people from your industry to have a chat with you and encourage them to market the podcast through their own networking streams.

contact digital and editorial sites of leading printed publishers
Digital and print need to work together - especially when it comes to PR

Grab some free media coverage 

Use PR techniques to generate media coverage for your business from press releases to celebrity endorsements. Think outside the box and grab media folks attention with free samples and handwritten notes for example. Reach out to influencers with high volumes of followers with free samples or jump on the back of a tending post to get noticed.

Never Miss an Opportunity to Network

Promote your business wherever you are. That includes getting out there and drumming up business at free to attend networking events, shows and conferences. Also, make use of free online directory sites such as Yell.  Business directories are the next best thing to search engines. They are simple, easy, and beneficial to you and your company and most importantly when marketing with no budget…they are free!

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