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How to promote your business on a shoestring budget

Starting a business with a shoestring aka small budget can be daunting, but it’s not impossible.

As a small business owner myself, I understand the challenges of finding ways to market your business without breaking the bank. But with creativity, perseverance, and a willingness to try new things, I was able to overcome these obstacles and find success.

And the good news is, so can you! In this article, I will share some of the strategies I used to market my business on a shoestring budget, so that you can apply these same techniques to your own business and achieve the same level of success.

Social Media Platforms

These are one of the most effective and affordable ways to promote your business. The most popular platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn or TikTok. Many of them offer powerful targeting options so you can reach the right audience quickly and easily, plus you can easily schedule content ahead of time so you don’t spend all of your time manually posting.

My tip for using social media platforms is to ensure that you understand who your ideal client is and what platforms they use as you DO NOT need to be on ALL of these platforms.

Google Profile Listing

This is a free tool that allows you to manage your online business presence across Google, including search and maps. By creating a profile, you can improve your visibility on Google and make it easier for customers to find your business.

My tip here is to ensure you are sharing content weekly as this helps keep your information up-to-date and also lets Google know that you are an active and trustworthy business owner.

Online Business Directories

There are many other business directories that allow you to add your listing for free. Find other business directories relevant to your ideal target audience and a create your listing. You can download my free guide to online business directories and receive strategies for listings as well as other 30 Australian business directories to review.

My tip here is to again to ensure you know who your ideal customer is and only select the business directories where that they may be using.


Networking groups are a great way to meet potential customers in person and build relationships with other local businesses. Look for networking events in your area that are focused on small business or entrepreneurs. Additionally, there are many online communities such as Meetup where you can find local events relevant to your industry.

My tip for networking is not to expect the work and especially not immediately. Get to know people and their businesses. What I found is that people would refer my business as opposed to me getting work from those immediate connections.

Other ways that you could also use include:

Local events

Participating in local events like street fairs, farmers markets, and festivals can be a great way to promote your business in your local community. You can showcase your products or services and connect with potential customers.

Content marketing

Create content that is high-quality and relevant to your target audience eg: blog posts, e-books, webinars, video’s or social posts. You can also utilise content curation tools like Hubspot or Feedly to help you stay up to date on industry trends and create content that resonates with your reader.

Referral programs

Encouraging your existing customers to refer their friends and family to your business can be a cost-effective way to attract new customers. You can offer incentives like discounts, freebies, or exclusive access to your products or services.

Contests / Competitions

These can be used to increase brand awareness, create a buzz and excitement around your brand or specific product or service. It can also help boost engagement, drive sales or enable you to gather customer data (and build that email list).

So there you have just some free or low-cost ways for small businesses to promote their business. By leveraging social media, Google My Business, email marketing, business directories, local events, content marketing, and even referral programs, you can improve your visibility and attract more customers.

No matter what type of business you own, there are plenty of ways you can promote it without spending a fortune. Investing even just a few hours into researching these options could go a long way towards helping you grow your business more effectively on a budget.