10 Budget marketing ideas for your small business

Bind your business marketing

Can Avocado and Mince Meat Bind your business marketing?

I wanted to make burgers for dinner.  I usually use eggs to bind the meat together but with all the panic buying there were no eggs left on the supermarket shelves.  Before I gave up on the meat burger dinner idea, I thought it was time to get creative with the challenge at hand: What was I going to use to bind my mince meat together? 

A friend suggested I use avocado to replace the eggs.  I admit, I was a little concerned.  I’d tried making chocolate avocado mouse before (an extremely unpopular and never repeated recipe in my house). Of course, there were plenty of avo’s on the shelf, so avocado it was!  Incredibly, it was a win win result! The kids didn’t taste the difference and dinner was a ravenous success.  


Away from my kitchen there are small businesses panicking.  Customers have stopped buying (apart from stocking up on essentials).  People globally have gone from a “I want” mentality to a “I need” mentality.  I no longer need that new dress or new shoes – quickly forgotten.  The new pergola or renovation you were planning is on hold…and that overseas trip…is now a dream perhaps for next year.


How do you keep success occurring in your business during a pandemic and economic downturn? It’s time to get creative: find those ingredients that binds you and your customers together to form a new marketing mix.  Sometimes you need to take a deeper look and think outside of the box for new ways of working or marketing.


For example: cafes and catering firms have been hit hard by social distancing.  Some are now offering a home/business delivery service. Travel companies, another hard hit industry.  I recently saw an accommodation company offering self-isolation packages including food and everything you’d need for the 14-day period.


It’s important to not give up on your business marketing especially during a time of volatility and economic downturn.


Now, more than ever, look at cost effective marketing measures. Know your break even points and think about your return on investment. Every business’ break even point is different and it helps to know this to work out how much marketing budget you can afford to spend for every new or existing customer.


Remember acquiring new customers is always more expensive than retaining your existing customer base.  Importantly, focus on retention marketing and look at ways you can work together with your customers.

Here’s 10 low-cost ideas to throw into your marketing mix:

Look Deeper Marketing
  1. Online networking – if you normally have a monthly or weekly event why not still hold the session via a livestream or video conferencing: try Zoom, Google Hang Outs, Skype, WhatsApp, etc.  My favourite, at the moment is Cisco Webex.  The visual is high definition and best of all it’s free!  
  2. Webinar – Invite your customers and Linked in contacts. Pick a relevant topic and plan your webinar.  You could talk about products, current challenges in the industry and even brainstorm ideas on ways to help each other.
  3. Organic Social Media – free social media posts tend to focus on your existing customer base rather than acquiring new business. Remember not all of your customers see your posts (Facebook want you to do paid ads) so post often and regularly. Perhaps more so now, then what you normally would post.
  4. Share valuable content – think about posting relevant content that adds value to your customers. Not every post needs to be a hard sell, pushing one of your products. You could do a blog, share videos or a podcast. Why not share a positive customer story.
  5. Think internal communications. Your staff are your greatest asset and advocates. Think of them as influencers – internal influencers. Ask staff to share your business page, invite family and friends, as well as commenting and liking your posts. Try an employee spotlight campaign with a weekly or monthly focus on a different staff member each time. Ask your staff for ideas on what to post.  If their post is chosen that week, they are more likely to share with family and friends too.
Staff are internal influencers

Your marketing mix includes internal staff – an important marketing channel many businesses overlook.


6. Email your existing customers. Keep the lines of communication going with your existing customers. Think of using low cost channels first such as email, text, messenger, Linked in messages etc.

7. Phone your existing clients – in a time like this, reach out by picking up the phone and actually calling your clients. If you’re in a smaller business with fewer customers call all of your clients. If you have lots of customers, focus on your best customers first, and so on. Ask them how they are doing and discuss ways you may be able to support each other. Yes, you might have some difficult conversations. People are going to feel anxious and stressed about where their business is heading but you could be the positive support they need.  Likewise, they could be the positive support you need too.

8. Call these same customers again in a couple of weeks and ask for a review or testimonial.

9. Marketing strategy – Review your marketing strategy.  Is the target market still relevant? Do you need to diversify? Are you too dependent on one particular industry? What is that industry outlook?  Back to the earlier example of the coffee shop, they have changed their marketing strategy.  The coffee shop’s target market might still be the same (i.e. local business workers) but now the delivery method and relevant marketing to reach those people has changed.

10. Review your marketing plan – whilst you’re in the process of reviewing, look at your past marketing campaigns and channels you have used and were intending to use in the coming months.  If budget is tight you may need to cut some of the more expensive channels, BUT…this really depends on your business.  For example, Qantas is obviously no longer promoting overseas travel destinations across TV, radio and other traditional or social media.  However, you may still see them advertising Qantas Health Insurance via TV, email or other means.

Remember it’s all about getting creative: taking a deeper look, thinking outside the box to find the strategy that binds you and your customers together….a bit like avocados and mincemeat!

*It is not the intention of this article to offend vegans


About Leanne Di Fazio

About Leanne Di Fazio

Leanne has over 20 years marketing experience in large corporates and small business in Australia and the United Kingdom.  She is passionate about helping small business grow and thrive. Leanne is the founder of Look Deeper Marketing: who specialise in marketing, strategy and planning for small business. Look Deeper Marketing bring affordable marketing consultancy to small business in Macarthur, Sydney and surrounding areas, with packaged options so you know exactly what to expect. Need help with your marketing or perhaps you are ‘Just Looking‘. Check out our affordable packages here.

Look Deeper Marketing: take a deeper look at your marketing. 

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