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5 Scrappy Marketing Strategies When You Don’t Have a Budget

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Marketing requires money right? You may feel that because your budget is limited, so is your ability to promote your company, product or service. 

While advertising on a limited budget is challenging, it is not impossible. 

And in fact, when you have to get creative, sometimes the out-of the-box thinking and tactics required, can yield some big results.

You may not have the budget of the big guys, but you do have the brains! You just need some scrappy marketing strategies.

What does it really mean to be a scrappy marketer? Basically, it means doing more with less. 

Getting creative and finding efficient and affordable marketing techniques.

It is possible to make an impact without a huge budget. Try these 5 scrappy marketing strategies to promote your business when you don’t have a budget!

1. Research

Research does not cost any money, just your time. But it is a crucial, and often overlooked marketing tactic. Even the big guys who do have a lot of money, often miss this first step and suffer because they do.

The internet is chock full of resources. With one google search, you can locate stories, webinars and case studies on marketing tactics and success stories.

Look at what other companies are doing. Research low-budget marketing tactics for new ideas. Look at your competitors’ tactics and try to understand what is and isn’t working. Just taking the time to learn may result in you stumbling across an affordable idea for your marketing mix.

Research your customer as well. Understand who they are, what drives them to purchase, and what they value. Knowing your customer can help you tailor your marketing efforts to uniquely work for them and deliver the best results. 

Research will not only help provide marketing ideas, but will also help you improve the ROI on your marketing investment.

And, there is a reason why research is my number one strategy. All your marketing tactics and strategies should start here. Take the time to educate yourself before diving into any activities.

2. Build up your social media

The beauty of social media is that it is free. Leverage all the appropriate channels for your company like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Consistent sharing will boost your engagement and reach, so create a schedule and stick to it.

Platforms like Hootsuite and Loomly can help you easily create and maintain a social media editorial schedule. With automatic posting, you can pre-write your posts a month at a time.

But don’t just post anything! Spend time crafting quality content and images. If you lack the budget for a graphic designer, you can use a tool like Canva yourself to easily create professional images.

Emotional content can also help boost engagement and encourage re-sharing. Join Facebook groups relevant to your topic and interact with your customers there. 

Sharing your content through these groups can amplify reach. Just make sure you abide by the group rules, especially with link sharing which is sometimes only allowed at certain times. 

Don’t get stuck in the mindset of only sharing to your company social media pages. Try tactics within each platform to improve your reach. Research the best hashtags to use, build relationships with influencers in the social media world and get your content out there! This is an unlimited marketing tactic that is 100% free!

While building up your social media marketing doesn’t require funds, if you do have some budget, consider ads. You can limit your spend to only what you can afford. With daily budget maximums and focused targeting available, it is an ideal and scrappy resource for the advertising funds you do have.

3. Leverage a digital intern

Take advantage of the digital age! While finding an intern in your town may be challenging, you can actually find a virtual one anywhere in the world now.

Contact local universities and colleges about offering an internship to students who need to bulk up their resume. 

Acadium offers digital marketing internships that benefit both the student and the business. For just $150, you can hire your own digital intern who will work up to 10 hours per week for 3 months.

Best of all, you can hire more than one and you can hire based on the tactics you most need assistance with. I am currently getting SEO assistance from my very own Acadium intern and am happy to have the super low-budget help.

4. Use these free-to-cheap resources

Sometimes some of the basics you need for marketing such as a graphic designer can take up the bulk of your budget. If you can find ways to minimize these costs, then it frees up funds for tactics such as advertising that will show the ROI you need.

Free resources like Canva and PicMonkey can help you create attractive images and graphics even if you do not have the budget for a graphic designer. 

Tools like these can help amp up your social media presence and content with polished and shareable images even with no budget. 

Another low-cost graphic design resource can be found with companies like Design Pickle and Pebbled that offer unlimited graphic design for a low monthly fee. I use this resource in my full-time marketing job and have found we save a ton. Best of all, they are fast and efficient with the work.

5. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization can help get your website and your business more visibility. And many of the tactics around this are free. 

Work on the SEO of your website with relevant keywords and copy. Finding backlink opportunities on other sites will not only boost your SEO and ranking, but could bring important traffic your way. 

Sign up to receive emails from HARO. HARO stands for “Help a Reporter Out.” It is free and just requires a few minutes of your day to respond to journalists’ requests for soundbites and expertise. In return you will get a link to your website, not only giving you more exposure and traffic, but also improving your SEO.

Another free marketing tactic that also helps build SEO is guest posting. You can write blog posts and articles for other sites that are relevant to your niche. You can build your exposure, site traffic, and google search ranking.

Even when you have no advertising or marketing budget, you can still build your brand and your business. Just think creatively and stay scrappy with your marketing tactics. Exercising brains over budget can help your business growth!

About the author


Cara Berkeley

I’m Cara Berkeley, a blogger, investment property owner, and full-time marketing executive. I’ve learned that thinking outside the box can make all the difference and want to share my tips and tricks on smart money management. My blog at is all about helping you find new ways to save money, make money and have fun doing it!