Small Business Marketing On a Budget: 20 Tips from Industry Leaders

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 18, 2024

In the quest for cost-effective marketing tactics that pack a punch, we’ve gathered insights from 20 diverse professionals, including Small Business Owners and CEOs. They share their success stories from maximizing Twitter/X for revenue to leveraging community networking to build local clientele, offering a wealth of strategies for small businesses looking to make a big impact.

  • Maximize Twitter/X for Revenue
  • Grow with Email Newsletters
  • Combine Google and LinkedIn Presence
  • Organic LinkedIn Networking Success
  • AI Tools Boost SEO and Ad Performance
  • Strategic Media Relations Drive Leads
  • Local SEO Enhances Community Visibility
  • Educational Blog Posts Attract Leads
  • Targeted Facebook Ads Increase Client Base
  • Local Influencers Expand Customer Reach
  • Networking Builds B2B Relationships
  • Public Engagement Strengthens Brand
  • Pinterest Drives Organic Website Traffic
  • Blog Content Fosters Thought Leadership
  • User-Generated Content Amplifies Brand
  • Email Marketing Delivers High ROI
  • Create Viral Product Features
  • Referral Program Incentivizes Client Promotion
  • HARO Backlinks Boost Domain Authority
  • Community Networking Builds Local Clientele

Maximize Twitter/X for Revenue

One killer marketing tactic that has consistently delivered for my small business over the past decade is using Twitter/X. I’ve honed my strategy on this platform, leveraging my expertise as a Twitter specialist and author of ‘How to Tweet and Thrive.’

My approach is straightforward yet incredibly effective. By investing just $500 in Twitter ads, I’ve managed to generate over $5,000 in revenues recently. This success isn’t just luck; it’s about understanding the platform’s unique potential for engaging directly with your audience and delivering targeted content that resonates.

What makes Twitter/X stand out as a cost-effective channel is its ability to foster real-time conversations and build genuine connections with your community. These interactions aren’t just fleeting moments; they’re opportunities to showcase your brand’s personality, listen to your audience’s needs, and respond in ways that add real value. This active engagement is the key to converting followers into customers without breaking the bank.

So, why do I believe Twitter/X is particularly impactful? It’s all about the ROI. The platform provides powerful targeting tools that help ensure your ads reach the right people at the right time. This precision, combined with the inherently engaging format of Twitter posts, means that even a modest ad spend can produce significant returns. And when you nail that sweet spot of great content and effective targeting, the results speak for themselves.

In a nutshell, Twitter/X has proven to be an invaluable asset for my small business. Its cost-effectiveness, coupled with the ability to drive meaningful engagement, makes it an essential part of my marketing toolkit. And with the right strategy, I’m confident it can do the same for others.

Lisa SicardLisa Sicard
Small Business Owner, Inspire To Thrive


Grow with Email Newsletters

Sending a monthly email newsletter to my database, whether I have 27 names or 2,700 names, is a way to remind my database that I offer multiple services, highlighting one of them each time. Another great tip that goes well with this is to include a line in your email newsletter asking the reader to forward it to someone who might be interested in the topic. This will help you reach new people through your existing customers at zero cost. Growth at no cost is the best kind of growth.

Brett StoneBrett Stone
Creative Director & Founder, Three Bites


Combine Google and LinkedIn Presence

I’ve found that a combination of a Google Business Profile and LinkedIn can work wonders, especially for small businesses! When you are just starting up, there’s no way you can compete with big brands or big-box stores, so stand out! Create a free Google Business Profile so that your business starts showing up on Google Maps and in the search results page! Pair this with a free LinkedIn Company Page to show off your business space, offerings, etc. If you don’t have a social media strategy for LinkedIn yet, don’t fret. The first step is establishing a page and getting it set up so that you start building brand authority and brand recognition.

Hannah LightnerHannah Lightner
Strategic Marketing Consultant, Copy Creative


Organic LinkedIn Networking Success

With experience working in various small businesses, either in-house or with an agency, the one tactic I would recommend a small business or start-up pursue for a large impact is organic LinkedIn posting/networking.

To cover the results of this before I delve into how I got them, I managed to reach six figures in new business revenue. To be exact, we had $126,472 in new business revenue, the business’s best year to date, and also far surpassing my target of $87,000. A highlight to recall was, via my LinkedIn marketing methods, I was contacted and converted the business’s highest-paying client to date at $16,800 per year. I also saw an increase of 13x our impression rate and 10x our engagement rate, as well as a 50% increase in followers.

Now you know the results, what did I do?

I first optimized the LinkedIn profile’s feed with a two-week-long, step-by-step process. I would search for professionals in the industry I am targeting who are also active on LinkedIn. Once I found suitable targets, I would follow them and engage with their posts daily (like and comment). After two weeks, I would reach out and request to connect.

At the same time, I am running organic social media campaigns that are personal and data-related, such as the business winning an event and the data behind our win (and a nice team photo).

In combination, the optimization of your feed (so your content gets in front of the right people) and the organic campaign, I was able to obtain stellar results. Oh… and the best part is, I was the solo in-house marketer, showing how perfect this strategy is for small businesses. I believe this method was impactful as it gave the business exposure, something it wouldn’t be able to do SEO-wise as the website was dated and the business didn’t have the funds to update or the domain authority to rank for keywords.

The nature of social media pushes you towards local audiences, which is a huge factor in this method’s success, as if it wasn’t local, I doubt it would succeed.

Cameron HarveyCameron Harvey
Digital Marketing Executive, The Munro Agency


AI Tools Boost SEO and Ad Performance

As the Head of Marketing for Tom’s Key Company, accessible at tomskey.com, I’ve had the unique challenge and privilege of navigating the competitive landscape of selling spare car keys online. We pride ourselves on offering the best prices on the internet for most cars, a claim that our customers have come to trust and rely on. Achieving this wasn’t just about offering great products at great prices; it required innovative marketing strategies that could leverage our strengths as a small, agile team to compete on the level of much larger enterprises. That’s where our strategic use of AI-powered tools for SEO and advertising made all the difference.

With SEO Wind, we found an affordable and incredibly effective AI SEO tool that transformed our approach to digital visibility. Unlike the common perception that SEO is a long game with delayed payoffs, our experience turned this notion on its head. Within just two months of implementing our new SEO strategy with SEO Wind, we saw significant financial dividends. This tool allowed our small team to output work on the level of an enterprise company, optimizing our site and content with precision and efficiency that I hadn’t seen before. Moreover, our collaboration with other websites to drive sales through commissions was greatly enhanced, thanks to the insights and optimizations provided by SEO Wind.

Parallel to our SEO successes, we’ve leveraged Ad Creative AI to produce static ads for Meta and Google that not only cost a fraction of what we might have paid a design firm—imagine getting what could cost $6,000 a month for just $200—but also perform above industry averages. This tool’s ability to generate engaging and effective ad creatives has been nothing short of revolutionary for our marketing efforts.

The integration of these AI tools into our marketing strategy has not only been a testament to the power of technology in leveling the playing field for small businesses but also underscores our commitment to innovation and efficiency. At Tom’s Key Company, we’re not just selling spare car keys; we’re redefining what a small team can achieve with the right tools and a forward-thinking approach.

I believe our story offers valuable insights into the evolving landscape of digital marketing and e-commerce, showcasing how strategic investments in technology can lead to outsized returns, even for niche online retailers like us. I’m eager to share our journey and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Matt GorenMatt Goren
Head of Marketing, Tom’s Key Company


Strategic Media Relations Drive Leads

Our biggest growth catalyst costs nearly zilch—just a bit of strategic media relations. By writing targeted press releases showcasing previous client campaign results and securing features in a few key regional industry publications, we always give our credibility a boost.

And niching down to construction and manufacturing landscapes means every concentrated impression brings enormously relevant eyeballs. Leads always pour in, asking a version of, ‘Can you replicate that success for us, too?’

It takes nurturing media relationships respectfully and reframing sales messaging through an editorial lens. Coverage compounds and breeds further interest. Having alliances has cemented our authority more than any ad budget might have.

Scott SchaperScott Schaper
President, RSM Marketing


Local SEO Enhances Community Visibility

One approach that has worked wonders for our small business is putting a strong emphasis on local search engine optimization (SEO). Unfortunately, many small businesses tend to overlook the significance of local SEO. However, we found that it has been a game-changer for us in enhancing our visibility within the local community.

To achieve this, we concentrated on specific service-related keywords and fine-tuned our Google My Business profile. This not only ensured a robust presence in local search results but also made it easier for us to connect with our local audience. The impact of this strategy has been quite remarkable – consistently generating leads and delivering immediate results for our business.

What makes local SEO particularly attractive is its simplicity and affordability. This makes it an ideal channel for small businesses with limited resources. Through this tactic, we have successfully elevated our online presence, resulting in a steady flow of inquiries and valuable business opportunities.

Umesh UpadhyayUmesh Upadhyay
Director Marketing, Profito Interactive Pvt. Ltd.


Educational Blog Posts Attract Leads

In the dynamic world of small-business marketing, one strategy stands out for its remarkable cost-effectiveness and enduring impact: strategic content marketing, specifically through educational blog posts. This approach has not only been instrumental in elevating our brand presence but has also significantly enhanced our engagement and customer acquisition efforts, all while adhering to a modest budget.

Our journey into content marketing began with a clear objective: to offer unparalleled value to our target audience by addressing their most pressing questions, concerns, and interests with in-depth, insightful content. Recognizing the power of SEO, we meticulously researched keywords and topics that resonated with our audience, ensuring each article was not only informative but also optimized for search engines. This meticulousness was not without its challenges; crafting high-quality content required time, effort, and a deep understanding of our audience’s needs and industry trends.

The turning point came with a blog post that addressed a niche, yet widespread, challenge within our target market. The post, a comprehensive guide filled with actionable tips, industry insights, and real-life examples, struck a chord with our audience and quickly gained traction. Shared across social media platforms and featured in industry newsletters, this single piece of content dramatically increased our website traffic and, more importantly, generated a significant number of leads. This success story underscores the potency of content marketing as a cost-effective strategy. Not only did it amplify our online visibility, but it also established our brand as a credible authority in our field. The ROI extended beyond immediate metrics; the content we created became a long-term asset, continually driving traffic and engagement. Moreover, this strategy fostered a deeper connection with our audience.

By prioritizing their needs and interests, we built a loyal community around our brand, enhancing customer retention and advocacy. It’s a testament to the power of providing genuine value through content, a strategy that transcends the limitations of a small marketing budget. In essence, strategic content marketing, particularly through SEO-driven educational blog posts, has proven to be an invaluable tool in our marketing arsenal. It exemplifies how understanding your audience, combined with a commitment to delivering quality content, can achieve substantial results.

Jacob BahrJacob Bahr
Director of Web Experience, 7Ten Marketing


Targeted Facebook Ads Increase Client Base

One cost-effective marketing tactic that has consistently yielded significant results for our insurance clients is social media advertising.

For one of our clients based in Ohio, we implemented a social-media marketing tactic aiming to increase their client base. By utilizing targeted Facebook ads, we reached potential customers in their area, resulting in a 40% increase in website traffic and a 20% boost in quote requests within just 47 days.

The business’s success with this social media advertising demonstrates the effectiveness of the marketing tactic in expanding their reach and driving business growth. The strategic crafting of the ad campaigns, tailored to specific demographics and interests, made the result more impactful and helped the client achieve the success rate.

Nitin BajajNitin Bajaj
CEO, Stratosphere


Local Influencers Expand Customer Reach

Partnering with local influencers or bloggers to promote our products or services has been a cost-effective and impactful marketing tactic for our small business. By leveraging their existing audience and credibility, we were able to reach a wider customer base at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. For example, collaborating with a popular fitness blogger led to a significant increase in online engagement and sales of our health supplements. This tactic not only drives brand awareness but also builds trust with customers through influencer endorsements.

Ben LauBen Lau
Founder, Featured SEO Company


Networking Builds B2B Relationships

In any B2B industry, building relationships with others will always be the most cost-effective and high-converting marketing tactic, and it’s proved especially fruitful for me as a creative service provider. People want to do business with their friends and people they know; it’s just the way humans were made. That doesn’t mean that you should approach networking and connecting with others in the sleazy ‘I-only-want-to-connect-with-you-for-my-own-personal-gain’ way. But if you approach each and every interaction in the ‘I care about you. How can I help you?’ way, you will always reap rewards.

Joshua HillJoshua Hill
Brand Designer & Strategist, Green Tree Studio


Public Engagement Strengthens Brand

One cost-effective marketing tactic I’ve used is talking to people in public. This is a low-cost activity that just requires your time and effort.

Recently, I set up a small stall out front of a local supermarket where my products are stocked. Here, I gave passersby a rose for Valentine’s Day, along with a sample of my product.

In this process, I spoke to many other mothers, which was a great experience in itself! These kinds of activities are incredible for brand building but also a nice way to create relationships with people.

Keira RumbleKeira Rumble
Founder, Krumbled Foods


Pinterest Drives Organic Website Traffic

I’ve found Pinterest to be a highly effective and underrated marketing channel. I’ve found most businesses defer to Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. While Pinterest may be referred to as the ‘red-headed stepchild’ of social media, it’s one of the few channels not fighting to keep you on their platform. Functioning very similarly to Google, although less complex, Pinterest is also a search engine. When I was getting my online fitness business off the ground, I was able to drive 1,000–2,000 organic visitors to my website per day, strictly from Pinterest. The best part is that I was able to do this in a very short time frame. While I would never say it could replace organic SEO, it was a great starting point for my business while building up my Google traffic.

Brian KiselsteinBrian Kiselstein
SEO Specialist, Screwthedailygrind


Blog Content Fosters Thought Leadership

As a digital marketing company specializing in leveraging cost-effective strategies for significant impact, one tactic stands out for its remarkable efficiency and results: content marketing, specifically through creating and distributing value-driven blog content. This approach has proven to be exceptionally impactful for our small business for several reasons.

It allows us to establish and reinforce our brand as a thought leader within the digital marketing space. By consistently producing high-quality, informative content that addresses our target audience’s specific needs and challenges, we’ve been able to build trust and credibility with current and prospective clients.

This strategy significantly improves our search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. By targeting specific keywords and topics relevant to our audience, we’ve increased our visibility in search engine results, driving organic traffic to our website without substantial advertising spending.

The content we create serves multiple purposes across our marketing channels. It’s not just about attracting new visitors; it’s also about engaging our existing audience through newsletters, social media, and other platforms. This multi-channel approach maximizes the reach and lifespan of each piece of content, enhancing our return on investment.

Vaibhav KakkarVaibhav Kakkar
CEO, Digital Web Solutions


User-Generated Content Amplifies Brand

One cost-effective marketing tactic is leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Encouraging our customers to share their experiences on social media or review sites creates authentic and relevant content that clicks with our target audience.

UGC builds trust and credibility and amplifies our brand reach organically. Additionally, reposting or featuring UGC on our own channels cultivates a sense of community and engagement among our customers.

Kripesh AdwaniKripesh Adwani
Founder, Kripesh Adwani


Email Marketing Delivers High ROI

Email marketing stands out with a tremendous ROI – some studies say up to $42 for every $1 spent. It’s personal, direct, and cost-effective.

Crafting tailored content for each segment of my audience is key to building relationships, not just blasting sales pitches. Consistency is key—regular updates, but never spammy.

Leverage automation but keep the human touch. A personalized subject line can make a world of difference in open rates.

Email marketing shines because it’s permission-based. People have opted in; they want to hear from you. That’s powerful.

Why is it impactful? It drives engagement and conversions. It fosters real conversations with real customers. Measure everything, tweak, and improve—that’s the beauty of it. It keeps on giving.

Casey JonesCasey Jones
Founder, Head of Marketing, CJ&CO


Create Viral Product Features

One of such tactics is virality. Try to come up with features that can pleasantly surprise your customers. For example, over the last several years, coffee shops have been creating prints or unusual drawings on cappuccino foam. People enjoy novelty and are eager to take pictures of these drinks and post them on their social media accounts, which helps increase customer engagement.

Another example would be a credit card that meows when it is charged. This innovative card was created by the digital bank Anna Money. In reality, the card itself doesn’t make any sounds; the meowing comes from the phone app when it registers a payment. This simple but cute and unusual feature brought viral success to the bank.

In our case, we have developed a tool that automates LinkedIn outreach. Our viral feature is that the application actually presses buttons and types text instead of the users. As a result, they began posting videos showing someone typing messages from their accounts on LinkedIn in real-time, while users themselves were holding their hands above their heads.

Daria ErinaDaria Erina
Managing Director, Linked Helper


Referral Program Incentivizes Client Promotion

Just recently, we launched a referral program for our web agency, offering existing clients shopping vouchers or discounts on their next project if they refer a new client to us. The benefits and results are great, as we can leverage the power of word-of-mouth, which is one of the most trusted and influential forms of advertising. Obviously, this tactic is cost-effective because we are essentially outsourcing our marketing efforts to our existing clients, instead of spending a significant amount of money on ads and campaigns. Lastly, the referral program creates a strong incentive for our existing clients to actively promote our business, as they have a chance to save money on their own projects or receive vouchers.

Tom MolnarTom Molnar
Creative Director, Fit Design


HARO Backlinks Boost Domain Authority

One very affordable yet high-impact marketing channel we have used for business is HARO, which stands for Help A Reporter Out. This service connects journalists and writers from major publications with expert sources who can provide quotes, data, or commentary for news articles and other content. Responding to relevant HARO queries has allowed me to get backlinks and visibility from big-name sites like CSMwire, which significantly bolstered my own domain authority in search rankings.

The best part is that HARO participation it’s free—it simply costs a small time investment to scan for opportunities and pitch thoughtful, tailored responses. The resulting boost of influential links directing back to our website proved to be a game-changer for driving organic traffic and sales, which also resulted in an increase in our Domain Rating from 27 to DR 39. With a thoughtful pitching strategy, HARO delivers outsized impact for literally no monetary cost, making it an extremely cost-effective tactic for small businesses to leverage.

Lyn CollantoLyn Collanto
Marketing Specialist, KBA web


Community Networking Builds Local Clientele

As a business owner who started my firm in 1992, long before the advent of digital marketing and technology, one cost-effective marketing tactic that I found particularly impactful was community networking. Engaging in local events, joining business associations, and forming partnerships with other local businesses allowed me to build a strong, local client base through word-of-mouth referrals. This approach helped establish trust and credibility within the community and enabled me to understand my customers’ needs more intimately.

Greg FitzgeraldGreg Fitzgerald
Founding Partner, Fitzgerald & Campbell


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By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Greg Grzesiak is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Columnist at Grit Daily. As CEO of Grzesiak Growth LLC, Greg dedicates his time to helping CEOs influencers and entrepreneurs make the appearances that will grow their following in their reach globally. Over the years he has built strong partnerships with high profile educators and influencers in Youtube and traditional finance space. Greg is a University of Florida graduate with years of experience in marketing and journalism.

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