Having a small marketing budget is like being stuck in a vicious circle. If you can’t invest in marketing, you can’t grow your business. If you don’t grow your business, you can grow your marketing budget. And while you’re going round and round this circle, your competitors will pass you by.

Luckily for you, there’s a way to break the circle without making a large investment in marketing. You might need to replace the money you don’t have with some good old elbow grease, but that should be a welcome trade. After all, it will help you start the positive cycle of using marketing to grow your business so that you can invest more in marketing and grow the business more.

What Do You Need to Get Started?

First, you should understand that there are two requirements you need to meet for this to work. Without them, you won’t be able to market your product or service successfully on a budget. It might be difficult to do even if you had more money to throw on marketing.

The first thing is — a genuinely useful product or service. There’s nothing that can replace having a good product or service, although pumping money in marketing might go some distance towards it. But if you’re on the budget, whatever you’re offering must speak for its own merits and benefits.

The second thing you’ll need is the capability to use modern marketing tools with some creativity. You’ll need creativity to draw attention. But you’ll also need to be able to pour it into tools that can reach audiences and connect with them — for next to no money.

What Are the Tools You Can Use?

If your product is up to the challenge, and you think you have the creative chops to formulate good marketing materials, all you need are the right tools for the job. And there’s plenty of them — affordable if not free, and readily available for use.

Here are some of the most useful marketing tools you can use without investing too much money in them:

  • Mailing lists. Still one of the most effective types of online marketing, email marketing largely depends on your ability to create a good mailing list. Use your website, online store, or a brick-and-mortar location to grow the list. Spend some time writing good emails, and automated the rest of the work.
  • A blog. The great thing about content marketing is that nobody says you have to invest a lot of money into it to be successful. You can create your own blog posts and find cheap or even royalty-free images to illustrate them. It’s time-consuming, sure, but it’s well worth the effort.
  • A YouTube channel. Yes, video marketing is all the rage these days. There’s nothing like a good video to draw attention, increase engagement, or do pretty much whatever you want it to do. Good cameras are cheap these days, and you can find affordable editing software. All you really need is a good idea.
  • Affiliate programs. You can trade the access to the audience you have with that of similar, but not competing, businesses. They can drop a line about your service or product on their website, for example, and you can do the same for them.
  • Free premium content. Is there some content that only you can make? Turn it into a training session, a seminar, or a workshop. Offer value to people for free, and they will flock to you. And when they do, remember to have a good pitch for your product or service ready.

The one thing you should remember is that, whatever tool you use, trying to create a viral quality in your content is a sound idea. It’s true that virality is more likely to happen than be a product of a good plan. But that doesn’t mean you should look for ways to create extremely shareable content.