How to Overcome Marketing Challenges in Small Businesses

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How to Market a Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

Aug 2, 2018
6 min read

Having a Shoe-String Marketing Budget? Here is what you can do to boost your sales –

Marketing a small business can be a daunting task. Not every business can spend unlimited money on branding and lead generation. This can be a very tricky situation, right?

Why being a small business owner you are reluctant to invest in marketing? Here’s a common myth

To boost sales you need to run ads, continue doing SEO for months before you see the actual impact. Now, with the SEO changing you’ll need to invest a lot in content marketing and without much of assurance on what kind of ROI you can expect. But, that’s not always true.

As a small business owner, you need to understand that NOT every business needs viral marketing, or for that matter run ads and spend enormous money to achieve traction. This must be a very common myth and you stay away from actually marketing your business. Here are some recommendations you need to consider before you actually decide to market your business.

Define a Budget

Firstly, know your capabilities; define an optimum budget for your marketing. Make sure you and your team utilize this to the maximum. With a limited budget, there is no scope for trial and error.

Okay, you have defined the budget, now what? Here is the answer – Employ smart marketing.

What is meant by smart marketing?

Smart marketing is basically planning out the small marketing campaign in a way that generates actual business value.

For example – If you are a Local Business providing services to a certain radius, you should solely focus on improving your Local presence through Google My Business and some reputed Yellow Pages. Try getting generating reviews on the listing and keep your listing updated. That’s it you will be found on most of the location-based and ‘near me’.

You can hire Local SEO Services from $200 from a reputed marketing agency. That’s right $200/month and get you customers for your local business.

Content Strategy

No matting which industry you are into, you cannot overlook blogging. There is what your customers read and is a very important acquisition strategy. Posting a blog once a week will not cost you an enormous amount of money but it will slowly start building the audience for you.

Once Google’s ex-spam head Matt Cutts said

Matt Cutts Quote

Alright, now you need to ensure the utilization of the blog to the maximum extent.

Although, there is no rocket science in blogging but, to generate the real output you and your team will need to be smart enough. Remember, don’t write something because you like it, always write and include the topics what your audience needs to see.

A smart blogging strategy involves proper content planning. Figure out high search phrases with lesser content.

To check the quantity of content being published on a particular phrase use the search operator ‘Entitle:’ in Google and phrase after this.

For example, if you want to check how many blogs have been written on ‘Growing a Real Estate Business’ search for the following –

Entitle:  ”Growing a Real Estate Business”

intitle for Growing your real estate business


You will get the count of all the blogs built on these topics. Now, the number of results appearing in Google result is a good indicator of the competition the phrase has. A lesser number of results gives you a higher chance of ranking your blog.

Try Growth Hacking:

Growth Hacking a relatively new term in marketing but it has been in practice ever since the evolution of marketing.

Growth Hacking is particularly useful when you have a limited budget and works best for startups, or growing small businesses.

If you have a limited budget you need to ensure that you multiply your audience using some smart hacks.

Airbnb is a prime example of the impact of growth hacking


To multiply your customers you can employ ‘Refer a Friend’ campaign or you can even create micro-conversions by proving an option of downloading a case study. However, this will not be a direct download, the case study will be sent to the user’s email. A good idea for collecting emails right?

Okay, so there are a number of smart marketing tactics you can employ but to execute these, it can be a really tough ask for a business owner. You will definitely need a team.

Now the question is – How do I build my team?

Always remember to hire specialists for each job if you want the best results. With a limited budget, it will not be feasible for you to build an in-house team but this is here the marketing agencies comes into the picture.

Once you have a dedicated budget set aside for marketing, look for a marketing agency which can really transform your marketing budget to actual sales. But, this again can be difficult to analyze which agency can bring you real value.

I’d always suggest hiring an agency instead of hiring a bunch of freelancers. This is again a misconception that an agency will prove to be costly.

Again, focus on real values. An agency will have a team, marketing often involves teamwork and not an individual contribution. When you hire a hire an agency, you get a team – A planner, An Executor, A Designer, Content Writer etc. You need specialists for each Job. Even if you are having a limited budget you need to ensure each of the activities generates maximum output.

How do I select the correct marketing agency?

Selecting a correct marketing agency is simple if you follow the following –

Ask for a detailed marketing plan, which most of the agencies agrees to provide you but mostly they are nothing more than predefined plans. Always ensure they have smart marketing tactics.

The plan should clearly highlight different stages of marketing like what will be done to acquire a TARGETED customer, then plans on converting the acquired users, how would they multiply the audience with some good hacks.

Not every business will work on the same set of the plan. You need customization.

Last but not least, never give up. There is a marketing solution for every business.

Inbound Marketing
Amber Gurjar