You’ve done your market research, developed and honed your product and you’re ready to start selling, so what’s your go-to-market strategy? A ‘build it and they will come’ approach won’t cut it these days so you’re going to have to invest in some marketing.

If you’re a startup or a smaller business working on new product development, you’re going to be under the pump and facing financial pressures, so it’s important to make the most out of your marketing budget.

Here are our top five tips for marketing on a small budget:

Know your customer

Before you undertake any marketing activity, make sure that your product, proposition, and branding resonates with your target customers. A great way to get this info is to build relationships with your customers. Recruit customers from your target market with an incentive (vouchers, meals out) and ask for their opinion – you can do this by email or even at a small event. This is also a great way of testing your marketing messages before spending any money. Ask if your specific marketing efforts are appealing or no; is your special offer enticing to them? Is it clear what you’re selling?

Analyse competitors:

If you have competitors that are well-established and doing well, take a look at their marketing activity, not only to find inspiration but gaps where you can market your product with less competition.

Use freelancers:

The advent of the digital nomad means that some of the best graphic designers, marketers writers, and website developers no longer work at an agency. Take advantage of networks such as DesignBro.com that give you access to these talent pools, they’re often much cheaper than agencies with high-level results and significantly shorter lead times.

Plan for the year and stick to it:

Plan how you’ll spend your marketing budget for the entire year and stick to it. If your competitors start spending heavily it may be because they’re under pressure and they’ve had to move some of their planned spendings forward. Stick to the long game, while you may see a slight dip when competitors ramp up their activity, you’ll see a huge uplift when your competitors aren’t spending.

Test and analyze regularly:

Ensure you are generating sales or quality leads and if something you’re spending money on isn’t working, diagnose the problem and either pause it or amend it. If something is working well, you should still make small tweaks to test for improvements. Never focus on vanity metrics such as high email open rates, the number of comments on Facebook or website traffic: if the sales these channels generate are low, then there’s something that isn’t working.