Marketing a small business can be time-consuming and costly, and if you have a small or non-existent budget, the task of bringing in new customers can be even tougher. In this Business Bullet for NBSL, we've rounded up five ways to get more out of your marketing budget.

Use free tools and resources

One of the best things about the internet is that, for every paid and premium tool available, there’s a free alternative just around the corner. Take Photoshop, for example; if you don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds on a subscription for its Creative Cloud service, opt for instead. This free tool can be accessed from any desktop, laptop or tablet device, and you can create graphics for blog posts, infographics, leaflets and business cards without spending a penny. Its simple drag and drop feature means you don't need to be an expert to create professional-looking graphics for your website and social media updates.

Make the most of social media

Social media has transformed the way small businesses promote their products and services – and it's one of the cheapest methods, as well. Sign up for accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and you'll quickly be able to build up an audience and drive traffic to your website. Don't forget that you can use social media scheduling tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to take away the pressure of manually posting content on each platform - both offer free trial accounts.

Find keywords with low competition

If you're working on a search engine optimisation campaign, then aim to target keywords that have low competition to save time and money. For example, if you run a hairdressing salon in Sunderland and want to rank for "Sunderland hairdressers", instead consider keywords such as "cheap haircuts in Sunderland" or "men's hairdressers in Sunderland". By using specific keywords, you'll likely face less competition and rank much more quickly than you would if you were aiming for a competitive term used by lots of other businesses.

Outsource what you don’t know

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you're most likely used to being "in the know" and having an understanding of everything you need to run your business single-handedly. Unfortunately, marketing isn't always as simple and straightforward as you might think, and so outsourcing parts of it could make sense. For example, you could get in touch with a company that offers SEO for small businesses to take away the pressure of learning about building links, optimising your website and ranking for keywords. Unless you have a lot of free time, mastering the art of search engine optimisation just isn’t worth it for small business owners, with outsourcing proving a much more cost-effective option.

Attend networking events

Offline marketing is still one of the most effective methods of promotion for businesses – and it can be free if you know how. Of course, you can attend free networking events and business groups in your local area, but many of them charge a subscription fee to become a member. Decide which group would be most effective for your business by attending all of them, and weigh up the costs and potential benefits and contacts that you could make.

There’s no denying that marketing a small business can be hard work, but by taking on board the five tips that we’ve offered in this article, you should be able to save money and get more bang for your buck. Good luck with your marketing campaign!

Article by Max Greene of Muffin Marketing.

Contact 0191 645 3790. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NBSL LogoThis article is brought to you by NBSL's North East Business Support Fund which funds the costs of business improvement projects such as website development, marketing strategies, external consultancy – click here to find out more

The North East Business Support Fund  has hundreds of registered providers offering a wide range of business support. NBSL has used its best efforts to post on this web site the most accurate and reliable information given to us by our providers but does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and are licensed to NBSL for publication on this website.


Register your business as an NBSL provider and stay up to date with the latest funding information.

If you provide business support services like marketing, business planning, human resources or financial planning find out how you could register with us to offer a grant of up to £3200 to your clients for work that you do for them.

Find out more

Our Support

From start up to growth.

Our unique support programmes can provide help no matter what stage your business is at.