The 2 Budget Friendly Marketing Must-Haves


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You are the jack-of-all-trade DIY start up with limited funds for marketing.
a laptop with a megaphone and social media icons


You know you need an online presence, but you don’t know how to start. You want a cost-effective marketing solution.
a logo of people with a magnet


If you’re on a budget and not ready to fully commit, use these free alternative methods to generate leads.

Are you a start-up looking for impactful solutions on a marketing budget? We’re here to help.

I love working with start-ups because there’s so much excitement and motivation. The jack-of-all-trade and DIY attitude means you already have some loose ideas and probably scoured the internet watching pre-recorded webinars.

One of the first questions I get at this stage is “I know I need an online presence, but where in the world do I start?”

You’ve got a great business idea and a solid prototype, but that marketing section in the plan trips you up. How will people find your awesomeness? That can be a daunting question. As you research, you find conflicting information which makes you feel less confident. Looking at your meager budget makes you want to back off. Resist this urge!

Those webinars are hosted by vendors who want your business, so of course they’re going to make you think you need to spend a ton of money on everything all at once. And that’s unfortunate because the truth is: there’s always a cheaper way to do things.

Every path forward is unique. Listen to those webinar tips but don’t let them slow your momentum. This article shares the 2 Marketing Must-Haves I give my clients when they’re just starting out – and on a budget.

Marketing Your Business on a Budget

Cheaper methods might mean manual labor on your part. So, before I share the 2 must-haves, I need to caveat this with: your time is precious. Prioritize these (and those webinar) tips by considering:

  1. How much time the task takes you to complete?
  2. How much are you willing to spend to save yourself some time?

That usually helps structure a personalized list. Your next step should be to consider the follow 2 Must-Haves.

1. A method for people to find and connect with you online


You’ve probably thought about a website but don’t have the time to build one yourself, and you don’t have the cash on hand to pay a developer just yet. In situations like this, I recommend creating a Linkedin and Facebook business profile to act as a temporary website. You can set these up for free.

Since this will act as your temporary website, take the time to make it look good. Add a banner image and fill in all the sections with your service lines or products.


In this digital age, you will need a way for people to find you online. However, if you’re getting to the point where you’re questioning how many times you should you be posting to social media…stop and zoom out. You’ve gotten too into the weeds and don’t need to prioritize those decisions just yet.

Post when you can, and put effort into it, but that shouldn’t be a topic bogging you down. I’ve got another blog about social media mindset here.


You may have also heard someone say you need a business email account “because it will be more professional.” Sure, having a email does look nicer. However, if you’ve got a solid service or product, I don’t think anyone will even notice a regular address for temporary purposes.

If you’re concerned about your budget, or if you’re just testing the waters in your business venture, you can probably hold off on paying for a Google Workspace and customized email. If you’re curious about the pricing, here’s a link to the Google Workspace plans.

2. A method to generate leads

Make it easy for your network to help you!

The next thing to consider is how you will generate leads. Most of your leads will come from word-of-mouth as you get going. Your friends will be able to assist you better if you help them help you. Give them content to share – like a one pager with testimonials and case studies of your work.


A simple front-and-back one pager with a short description of your services or products will do wonders. Make sure to include your contact information and a link to your business page.

If you’re not design savvy, is a great online platform where you can modify pre-made templates. Canva offers a free version, along with paid plans.


When you reach out to potential leads, they’ll feel more at ease if you can articulate previous experiences. Include a short description of a relevant examples on your one pager. If you don’t have a case study to pull from, ask your network for reviews!

Summing It Up

If you’re on a budget and not ready to fully commit to a business, consider starting with the ideas listed above. As you test the waters with these pieces, pay attention to the questions your leads ask. What keywords or descriptions of your services gave them an “ah-hah!” moment? Use this information to refine and hone in on your messaging.

Break the steps down into these buckets to make the process less daunting. Determine your budget for marketing and keep a list of the tips you’ve picked up in your research.

A few things you can’t avoid: you really should be incorporated and have an accounting software. Put your money towards that to get started, not a business email from google.

Eventually, you will need to think through a larger strategy to attract qualified leads. How do you plan to nurture leads into prospects? And prospects into clients? But, if you’re already at this point – congrats! you’re no longer “testing the waters!” It’s time to commit.

Need help setting up your business page? Want advice on the text to include on a one pager? Ready to take the plunge? Give me a call for a free 30-minute consult.

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