Tools and tactics to build your brand on a budget

Tracy Steffensen

As we continue to grapple with a dampened economy, many of us are having to do more with less as we get back to business. For most of us it’s time to get our hustle on again but at the same time we need to do it with smaller budgets.

The good news is that even though times are tough, for those that continue to invest in, and prioritise marketing in their business, there’s no better time to build a brand than right now. People working from home are spending more time in front of screens consuming online media and ad rates are cheaper than they’ve been in a while.

Lots of people aren’t quite yet in buying mode, yet they are in research mode, and they will be looking for information from brands for when they are ready to buy again. So it’s key that your brand is visible wherever your prospective market is.

To help, we’ve curated a list of various ways you can save on marketing costs so you can keep on hustling.

Low and no cost tactics


SEO is the process of optimising your online activities including your website content and structure and the building of quality links back to your website.  SEO activities improve your chances of Google ranking your web site higher in the search results for certain key search terms. To get started, there are a number of simple SEO tools that can provide a specific plan for your web site and help you optimise your site.  Some popular ones include:

SEM Rush 

Crazy Domains Simple SEO Tool 


Building your database by running competitions is a great way to bring people into your funnel. Particularly if the prize is related to your product or service.  For example, a lawn mowing business could run a competition using low cost paid ads on social media offering a free garden makeover for a spring backyard barbie (Covid-friendly of course).  To enter, people provide an email address and enter your database. When spring hits and the grass starts growing, you’ve got a fresh list of new prospects to target.  Collaborating with a local nursery or butcher could bring even bigger results as you target their customers and database.


There’s no doubt you will have clients in mind that you’d like to provide services to that are connected to people you already know.  

Doing your homework on referrals before you ask is a worthwhile investment of time.

LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search feature helps you qualified second-degree connections that your customers can introduce you to.

To get started, click the search bar at the top of the page, and then select ‘People’ from the drop-down menu. From there, you can filter your search by second-degree connections as well as additional specifics like industry, title, keywords, and location to turn up a list of potential referral opportunities. This will help you find an ideal referral target to ask  a current client to recommend or introduce you to. LinkedIn have put together a handy video to help you.

Go old school

When times are tough, going back to basics is always a good strategy.  That means going back to one on one, personal conversations and connections.  Pick up the phone to past clients and customers, people you’ve had a good past relationship with. Arrange coffee catch ups with potential referrers, clients or collaborative partners. Ask them what you can do to help them, share with them what you are trying to achieve business wise. You never know what new opportunities will arise as a result.

Set a monthly, daily or weekly goal of having a certain number of one on one conversations in person or by phone.


We all know the saying, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”.  Whilst I’m not sure I agree with that, getting featured in the media is a very powerful way to build your brand and or profile and can be significantly more influential than paid advertising. Create a list of targeted publications, send them a sample piece of editorial or opinion pieces or case studies of results you’ve achieved for clients. Connect with key journalists on social media. Comment or “like” and share articles they’ve written that resonate with you. Tap into services like sourcebottle to find out when journalists are looking for experts to interview or people to feature in certain articles.

Low cost tools to help

WooBox – Is a great tool to help you easily create and manage competitions and associated campaigns.

Aimtell – Is a nifty platform that can help you send push notifications to website visitors.  You can send personalised messages letting them know when a new product has launched, a sale is underway or new relevant content released. 

BannerSnack  – Is a great way to get visually impactful low-cost online banners and display ads created quickly

Canva – Has been around for a while, if you haven’t experimented with it yet and you like the design side of marketing, give it a go. It is a fantastic online design tool for non-designers that helps you churn out quality graphics quickly and cost effectively. With heaps of built-in templates to choose from and tools that help you manage your brand, it’s a no-brainer for DIY marketers.

As Confucious said, “He who will not economize will have to agonize.” 

Fortunately, in our digital world, there are lots of tools and tactics available to business owners to help them build their brand on a budget.

Remember, however, that having a plan before you undertake any marketing effort is critical to make sure it’s effective. We are here to help, from a one- or 2-hour mentoring session to a full day workshop or detailed marketing plan.  Contact us for a no obligation discussion.

Get smarter marketing

Related Posts

Learn how we helped 1000's of top brands gain success.

Let's have a chat