5 Tips for Startup Marketers with No Budget

by Erin Borgerson
May 7, 2014


Marketing a company with little or no budget really sucks. Say goodbye to any Crain's Chicago spreads or a thousand dollar sponsorship of the Chicago Innovation Awards, because it's time to get creative.

When I was hired at Hireology as the Marketing Coordinator two-years ago, I was astonished at how much one could do without a budget. I made it through a frustrating first year testing out different "low cost" marketing options like testing adwords (ugh) and shamefully joining Twitter chats #Woohoo. 

But as I started my second year, it was time to get serious and do stuff that actually worked. Here's 5 things I learned (probably the hard way) during my first two years as a marketer for a startup.

5. Read blogs

Every morning I grab a cup of coffee and sit down to read my Feedly (A free news aggregator - RIP Google Reader). I skim over the latest news from marketing blogs, industry blogs, tech blogs, and business publications. This keeps me up-to-date on the startup world and gives me a firm grasp of trends in our industry.

It also helps to shape the content I create for the rest of the day.

4. Keep learning

You can't afford to hire a programmer or developer, so who is going to code that new website of yours? Probably you which is why I was flabbergasted when my boss told me that I should learn HTML or Java.

But as I found out, continuing your education is crucial to staying on top of your marketing game. Start taking courses with online resources like: Code Academy, Lynda, and the HubSpot Academy and learn how to do the things you can't afford to pay someone to do.

3. Write, write, write

Write blogs, tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn comments, emails, and press releases. The more content you write, the better chance is has to gain SEO or bring in some leads. Writing and publishing content on social media platforms is free PR, use that to your advantage.

I keep a personal blog and a business blog, as well as social media accounts.

2. Subscribe to HARO

Help a Reporter Out, or HARO is a free service that sends subscribers three emails a day with real reporters with media requests seeking experts on every topic under the sun.

Hireology's been published on some major industry news outlets after I responded to a couple of HARO requests. Did I mention it's free?

1. Make mistakes, lots of them

From accidentally changing our CEO's Gmail password when trying to set up a YouTube account to sending a marketing email with a spelling error. I have learned from my mistakes and make sure my peers do too, trust me, they still make fun of me for changing the password.

Want to hear more tips and advice from what I've learned? Join us during the Chicago event for Inbound Marketing Week in June, where I am co-presenting on a session titled: Startup with Inbound Marketing.

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