Working out of the Atlanta Tech Village, I have ran into loads of companies that are operating off of a shoestring budget with limited capital to spend on marketing efforts. Sometimes, even the thought of using paid advertising makes a small business owner shutter. Mainly because owners aren’t necessarily marketers, and there’s a lot of uncertainty around the return on investment. However, there’s a number of ways that a small business can leverage digital marketing by spending very little and targeting exactly who their customers are.

Creating Marketing Strategies with a Tight Budget


1.       Social Media

You’re not going to completely understand how to operate an effective social media strategy by reading this blog. But Social media is probabaly the most underutilized tool for small businesses to grow.

Make sure you are adding LinkedIn’s recommended connections every day and actually be “social” on social media, meaning reach out to them and start a conversation. If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, read “How to become a LinkedIn Superstar”.

You can also use Instagram for more exposure if you’re B2B. By typing in relevant hashtags, you can pinpoint people in your area that are passionate about whatever it is you’re selling. Click on their pictures and message at least 25 people every day. Make this a part of your outbound strategy!

Lastly, look into spending a few dollars on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn advertisements. Organic posts can only get you so far. Each one of these platforms offer very minimal spend levels so that any SMB can justify ongoing social campaigns.

2.       PPC

So I’m not going to go on about the obvious benefits of pay per click. It’s clear now that for most SMBs, their buyers are researching their product or service before they ever engage with you or your sales people. So why not run ads that put your business in front of them when they are doing this research?

The reason why PPC scares a lot of SMBs away is the high cost of certain keywords they want to target. Let’s take an example of a small financial planning firm in Atlanta, Georgia. Let’s say they want to run a PPC ad that targets users searching on Google for a “Financial Planner”.

This keyword is going to be very expensive because there’s a lot of competition wanting the same thing. Ultimately, the bidding price becomes unbearable for most SMBs.

But you should be bidding on long tailed keywords like “Financial Planner in Atlanta” or “Best Financial Planners in Atlanta”. These phrases will pitch a much more affordable option for your PPC campaigns. Additionally you could try bidding on misspellings like “Fniancial planners” etc.

3.       Minifluencer

I’ve been harping on this ever since influencer marketing has been a “thing”. It’s true, influencer marketing can see major return on investment for companies that have the ability to afford it. But what about the SMB? Most can’t.

But there’s another way. Instead of going for the big fish, go for the little minnows.

I’ll give you an example of a lady here in Atlanta that has a culinary services company. My advice to her was to go to Instagram, type in the hashtag #PonceCityMarket (a great place to eat in Atlanta), and message a thousand people that have at least 5,000 followers under that hashtag with a nice note saying

“I see you’re local here in Atlanta and just wanted to let you know I run a cooking class every Friday near Ponce City Market and it’s really fun for everyone. Here’s a 10% discount code for you if you’d ever want to stop by xyz123 … Cheers!”

What that does is a few things. One, it allows you to directly sell to your target market. Two, once they come to your cooking class, you’re going to ask them to take out their phones. Then you’re going to ask them to take a picture. And then you’re going to ask them to post that picture on Instagram with the hashtag #CookingAtlanta. And Viola!

If only 10% of the thousand people you messaged end up coming to your class, you have just reached 500,000 Instagram users without spending a dime!

4.       Remarketing Ads

This is kind of boring so I left it as the last one. But remarkting ads are quite effective and they don’t cost a ton of money. And the best part is that you know they are potential customers because they have already visited your site or your competitors site.

If you don’t know what remarketing ads are, they are basically banner ads that pop up for users that have visited a site without making a purchase on that site. It’s a little more complicated than the last three so I would leave this one up to the professionals if you don’t have much experience.

So that’s it!

There’s way more options out there for SMBs to impement that are operating on a shoestring budget. But, my fingers are getting tired and I’m out of coffee! Make sure you subscribe to our blog as we try and update you every day on the latest and greatest in the world of Marketing!


Social Media Marketing | Atlanta | PPC | minifluencer marketing | Remarketing 
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Justin Hackney

Justin Hackney is the Director of Business Development for the Marketing Eye Atlanta office. Before pursuing a career in sales, he served as a Military Police in the Army, doing one tour in Mosul, Iraq. After graduating from one of six senior military colleges at North Georgia University, he went on to lead sales and marketing initiatives for companies ranging from Fortune 100 to small tech startups.
Justin also sits on the Board of Directors for TAG Learning Society and the World Trade Center of Atlanta, he is the Director of Professional Development for the Association of Talent Development Atlanta, and he is an MBA candidate at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business

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