How to make the most of digital marketing on a shoestring budget


The ability to convert the leads you get is going to be the ultimate barometer of success for your startup. Procuring leads is a function your marketing team can help you with. Now you might assume that marketing a startup and relatively new brand would require a lot of money. It’s true that having the funds and resources to invest in a large-scale marketing strategy can help you grab eyeballs easier. But being on a shoestring budget doesn’t mean doom and gloom for your marketing efforts.

Here are some of the ways you can help your company with digital marketing if you’re strapped for money:

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Create brilliant content

Your content is a huge part of your marketing efforts and it’s how potential customers and users will find you. Write content specific to your industry. Make sure that it provides a lot of value and is not just aggregated points from other places. There are different types of content that you can create: blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, podcasts, infographics, and most importantly, videos. In fact, 51 percent of marketing professionals say video has the best ROI among the different content types. Video content keeps users engaged much better than text and/or static images, and can also be a great way to convey branding messages to consumers in brief packages.

Some of the best free tools include Movie Moments, PowerDirector Mobile, Movie Maker, Magix Movie Edit Touch, Shotcut, and Lightworks for Windows, and iMovie for Macs.

Connect with journalists

Getting featured in newspapers and magazines is one of the best ways to reach a huge audience. When you are starting up, you might not be able to afford the services of a PR agency, so try connecting with journalists on LinkedIn and even Facebook. Although PR will give you a comprehensive communication strategy that can help your prospects further, the lack of money will likely be an impediment. So you can start by finding journalists on LinkedIn who write about startups. You might want to build a relationship over time before you ask for a favour to get published as they likely get one too many requests from entrepreneurs like you.

If you want to stand out, your first interaction shouldn’t be, “Hi, can you feature our startup?” That rarely works. A better approach would be to showcase a sample of your work/product and tell them about your USP and what you have to offer as a brand. Use this information to generate interest in your brand, and then make the move to ask if they’d be interested in doing a piece on you and your offerings.

Use social media extensively

Social media is free for all and has democratized the way how a Fortune 500 company and a yet-to-be-funded startup like yours can market themselves. Yes, you might not have the budget for spending on ads, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting creative. Make sure there is content on social media platforms that are relevant to your business. You can become an overnight sensation with a single video or an article.

Grow a community on Facebook or LinkedIn

Create a group of users who are either your customers or are prospects because they are interested in your industry. Facebook and LinkedIn groups are perfect for building such a community. Give out a lot of free content on the group such that your prospects are perfectly all right with paying for your products because they trust you. The mantra when it comes to creating a community is offering a lot, for free.

Build an email list

People on your email list are those who have seen your content and have given you permission to send more of it. The chances of such people purchasing a product that you float are on the higher side. To build an email list, you need to create a lot of content for free and make consumers interested enough to give away their email ID in exchange for an eBook, a list of tools your audience would love to have, or a discount. There are a lot of free list building tools and resources available on the Internet that you can use to learn the ropes.


Reach out to influencers in your field, give them your product for free, and if they like your product, they might even recommend it on a social media platform. Influencers can move and shake a lot – sometimes all it takes is a tweet. Engage with influencers just to learn from them as much as you want their endorsement for your product. Guest-post on websites where your target market is present. Meet your customers, talk to them, and ask them to share their experiences with your product.

Beyond these, there are still many other avenues for you to explore for marketing without breaking the bank. It is all about finding ways that you are comfortable implementing. For example, another method is incentivizing your users to spread the word about the product. This could be in the form of affiliate income, discounts, or a product upgrade. Pick what works for you and run with it, and don’t let the lack of money keep you from aiming high for your brand’s marketing goals.