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Marketing on a shoestring

2nd Feb 2017
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It doesn’t matter how good your products or services are if no-one has ever heard of them. No company can survive without prospective customers. It is only by making people aware of you, that you can turn them into actual customers and a healthy business. The problem is that for many companies,  marketing appears very expensive. And the one thing a start-up company rarely has is a lot of money.

Shutterstock Shoe


So, how does a start up, or young company become better known? How can it market itself without huge funds? Happily, with creativity and doggedness, there are plenty of ways to promote your company.

Social Media

How else can you reach millions of people within minutes, if not with social media? It’s pretty straight-forward to embrace this platform to market your company, goods and services. It doesn’t have to be expensively produced content. What it does need to be, though, is different and hugely relevant to your target market.

Word of Mouth

One of the very best forms of marketing is word of mouth. You may feel that this is impossible to control. However, there are ways that you can encourage it. Firstly, give a truly great service. Make every interaction a delight for your customers. Think of how to give customers a reason to be so pleased that they want to tell others about their great experience. Ask customers to recommend you to their friends. This can range from a passing comment to a request for you to give you feedback on websites like checkatrade or tripadvisor.

Free service for repeat custom

It’s worth considering the impact of loyalty programmes. People will stick to the same coffee shop or supermarket because of the rewards for loyalty. You may not have the funds for administering such a big programme, but there are always ways to run small promotions to encourage repeat visits. Think about the products and services that cost you little or almost nothing, but are of good value to your customers.  These make ideal promotional ‘giveaways’.


Nurture good relationships with the local or trade press. Over time, this can pay handsomely. Journalists will feel keen to come to you for your expert opinion on trade issues and each time your name and company appears in their medium, you’re increasing your company’s profile and reputation.


Finally, everyone loves a bargain. So, again look for the products and services that you offer where the additional unit price is negligible. Then promote a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer to any and everyone who will listen.

If you want to grow your business, but are strapped for cash, you’ll need to become your own marketing executive. And, with a bit of careful planning and some key strategies, you’ll be able to get your company known without breaking the bank.


Heather Foley is a consultant at


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