Budget marketing ideas for start-ups

Budget marketing ideas for start-ups

When you start a new business, time and money are usually your scarcest commodities. You know you have to promote your business but marketing sometimes falls by the wayside as you try to keep up with demanding customers, recruiting staff and paying bills. We’ve put together some tried-and-tested marketing ideas, whether your budget is R5 000, R500 or even zero!

Feeling flush: ideas between R5 000 and R10 000

Create a website: From R5 000

Having a business website is an absolute must these days. While you can certainly create one for free with sites like Wix.com, it will pay long-term dividends to have it professionally created by a web designer/developer. Shop around and look at their portfolios to get the best ‘look’ and functionality for your site. A simple one-page site – where you scroll down various sections – is more than sufficient and works well on a mobile device too.

Tip: If you can’t afford to pay a designer, think of a way to do a trade exchange for your products or services.

Budget R1 000-R5 000

Try Pay-Per-Click advertising

Online ads through Google can be very helpful in driving traffic to your website. Starting from $10 a day (that’s just under R4 000/month), your ads will appear on Google searches, YouTube and more. Google Ads will guide you through the easy set-up.

Tip: Once you have a Google Adwords account, you can use the Keyword Planner function to see which words people search for in your industry to further tailor your adverts.

Under R1 000

Turn your car into a moving billboard

Decals for your car or bakkie are relatively affordable – you can get vinyl graphics on car doors for R100 per door and magnetic decals for under R600 per set*.


Submit your website URL to search engines

Search engines such as Google, Ask, Bing and Yahoo offer a free service for business owners to manually submit their website pages. Although you have no guarantee that your website will be ranked, it’s a useful tool to let search engines know that you have new information to share.

Create a Google My Business listing

Excellent for local searches, your My Business listing will appear when someone performs a local search, showing your business on Google maps.

Tip: Check that your phone number matches that of your website and that your opening hours are accurate. Keep photos fresh and invite loyal customers to leave testimonials.

Host a workshop or class

There is always something you can teach that people would want to learn. Try to think of creative ways to sell your product or service. E.g. if your business installs gas, you could offer a gas cooking demonstration.

Advertise on listings websites

Local sites like Gumtree and OLX work hard at their Google visibility, so if your business is offering its products or services on there, you have a good chance to be found. Advertise just a few of your most popular products in various categories.

Send email newsletters

With Mailchimp, you can send free email newsletters to up to 2 000 subscribers and 12 000 emails per month. Tell your database about new products or services, to share positive customer stories, or to advertise promotions.

Write press releases

If you have a knack for writing, there’s no harm in sending news articles to your local newspaper or using free PR portals such as Mypressportal or MyNewsroom.

Tip: If you want it done well, you can get a press release drafted by a copywriter or PR professional for      R2 000 – R3 000 per release.

List with online directories

Add your business on the likes of Ananzi, Hotfrog or Brabys – it’s free, or you can also create a premium listing with more information.

For more start-up inspiration, read more advice on running a successful small business on our blog – for example the four essential lessons to learn from seasoned business owners. If you have any questions about small business insurance, speak to your broker or contact us on 0860 444 444. 

*Source: Sign-a-rama

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