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Marketing on a Budget – Top Proven Marketing Activities that Drive Sales

Written by Colin MacInnis. Published on April 23, 2018.

The Most Important Thing to Understand in Order for Your Marketing to Work for You

You’ve heard a lot of marketing advice over the years. You’ve tried some experiments here and there, but didn’t see a return on your investment. I’ve been there too.

Our team has analyzed and assessed marketing activities at small, medium, and large sized businesses. We’ve seen what works and doesn’t.

In our interviews with small business owners, we learned a lot of businesses don’t have the money to run marketing campaigns.

“We try a lot of different things, but we don’t see the return on it… so we cut it out.”

If there’s one piece of marketing advice you should listen to, it’s understanding multi-channel attribution.

Multi-channel attribution is the idea and consideration that the marketing channel someone interacts with may not be the same channel they convert through.

For example, Tony goes to an event and sees an ad for a product. A few weeks later he Googles the company and buys their product. The data would suggest Google was the winning marketing channel, but it ignores the possibility that the ad could have made some psychological impact that persuaded Tony to move closer to becoming a customer (bringing him to Google).

The takeaway is to use a combination of marketing tactics consistently. This way, they’ll work together and drive more results for your business.

Some channels are used for brand awareness, while others are used to generate leads and close customers.

Summarizing our research, here are our top suggestions for marketing tactics to use when running on a tight budget.

1. Write Newsletters

The cheapest of options in marketing, newsletters are FREE. Create a newsletter and collect emails from your friends and networks. You don’t have to publish every week, but try to keep your subscribers informed at least once a quarter.

Newsletter subscribers are invested and care how you and your company are progressing.

2. Create Content

Free, free, free! Not all marketing plans need to cost you money. There are plenty of ways to advance your business without busting the bank. Write about content your industry cares about. Cover recent events, news articles, how-to guides, recommendations, etc.

Another great tip is listening to your audience. Try answering questions your audience is asking about your area of expertise.

Suggested Approach
Generate a list of questions and ask your friend to interview you 5 questions from it. Record the audio. Next, transcribe and dissect the content into blog posts, ebooks, and checklists. This tactic is used at marketing agencies and startup accelerators. It works great.

3. Use Social Media

Organic social media posts don’t pull in a ton of sales, but it’s a great channel for brand awareness.

People are addicted to their phones and get a sense of accomplishment when browsing social media. If you can post content about your life, people will wonder “what are they up to now?”. If you post content about your business, people might resonate with your product or service. From my own previous experience posting both personal and business content, I have come to the conclusion it’s better to post about your personal experiences. Just remember to include a link to your website on your profile. That way when people click, they’ll have the window to continue into your business activities. You might get less website visits, but you’ll build more awareness and referrals.

The goal is to have people like what you’re doing and recommend you to a friend or colleague. You need to be careful with business posts as you can build a poor reputation as being someone who always tries to push customers to buy.

4. Volunteer: Do Something YOU Care About

Volunteering builds character and empathy. Those are some elements that make a person likeable. Take some time to narrow down the things you really care about and wish you could be doing for people. Find a way to make that available to people in need. It will build your awareness, likeability, and reputation for your business.

5. Form Partnerships

Partnerships are the #1 source for acquiring new customers at a new business. Find ways to broker deals with established companies in your community. Find a way to provide value to them and ask that they consider you for any future referrals they may make related to your products and skills.

6. Attend Workshops Related to Your Market

The people you want to help are attending workshops to resolve their problems. Find or host these workshops. By attending, you’ll gain a lot of insight to very important metrics about your target market.

Who attends these events? How old are they? What is their job title? What are the problems they’re experiencing? What industries do their businesses operate in?

At the very least, you’ll walk away with a list of ideas for content you can produce. Otherwise, you can collect business cards from prospects, arrange times to have coffee, introduce your services, and close new customers.


These items are affordable and can give your business a healthy lift at little-to-no cost. In combination, these tactics will help you close more business and live comfortably. Once your cashflow is healthy, you can play with the more expensive marketing campaigns like international conferences and advertising.