Ideal Low-Budget Marketing Strategies for Cash-Strapped SMEs – the Eric J Dalius Prescription

It can be a tough life for entrepreneurs’ right from the very early days when they are trying to push across an idea to several years later when they need to either scale up or perish. The struggle to maintain a positive cash flow can be a never-ending battle for startups and small businesses even if the entrepreneur has been able to get the initial capital to kick off the business. While some businesses can see the light of the day with a few hundred dollars, some may call for millions. However, the point to keep in mind is that this is only the cost of setting up the business! Typically, it can cost thousands of dollars more to pay for the operating expenses; rentals, salaries, utilities, raw materials, etc. that must be paid for even as revenues remain uncertain.

Marketing Budgets Get Slashed When the Going Gets Tough

Finding themselves in a precarious financial situation, it is quite common for entrepreneurs to abandon investments they think to be superfluous, and typically, spends on marketing and advertising are the first to get the ax. With the majority of entrepreneurs clueless about how to measure the effectiveness of a marketing strategy, it is not a secret why the marketing and advertising budget is among the first thing to be slashed in the bid for survival. However, entrepreneurs will do well to appreciate that there are plenty of low-cost but highly effective marketing strategies that can put startups in the fast lane even when pitted against stiff competition. Some prime examples:

Marketing by Referrals – A Top Eric Dalius Recommendation 

If you are finding marketing to be a problem, then you can avoid it altogether and ask your customers to do it for you. If that sounds strange, believe it or not, that is the way referrals work. According to studies, customers are four times more likely to buy a product that has been referred to them by someone they know and trust compared to the typical marketing communication by a business encouraging customers to buy. Even customers who are empowered with knowledge regarding the product features and performance from online sources prefer to buy products that have a word-of-mouth recommendation by a trusted source. The interesting thing is that setting up a referral program does not cost too much, and depending on the structure you adopt, it may be even totally free. Typical methods involve giving discounts for every referral of a new customer or even a cash reward. As per EJ Dalius, a successful serial entrepreneur, the secret of making this strategy work is to have a robust and attractive program that makes it rewarding for existing customers to refer other people and letting your existing customer base know of the scheme.

Getting Mentioned in the News

Mass media advertising is not only very expensive but also suffers from a huge amount of wastage. You also need to deal with the general lack of credibility that afflicts every paid-for advertisement. However, news articles and reports are seen as unbiased and highly credible and mentions or reviews in the local or widely-circulated national dailies and TV channels can do wonders for driving customers to you. As long as there is something that is newsworthy for the readers of the publication or viewers of the TV channel, reporters will be glad to cover it for you. You can either invite them to attend an event like a product launch or issue a press release. Online news sites may even oblige by providing a link to your business in the news coverage itself. The trick to getting coverage is to address only those publications, sites, or channels that have the right target audience. Sending a press release on new financial software to a publication covering cinema and the arts can be a sheer waste of time and effort. If you do not want to take the trouble of identifying the publications and channels as well as the editors and reporters concerned, you can subscribe to a syndicated news service that all editors check out. Using Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to provide expert information to journalists can get you invaluable mentions too in the news reports, according to

Email Marketing

Even though it has been around for very long, email marketing remains the most cost-effective marketing channel with an ROI exceeding 400%. According to, it is the most dependable channel for B2B marketers. The secret of implementing a productive email marketing campaign lies in the ability to generate a high-quality list of recipients and enough information on their profiles and buying behavior so that you can customize the communication for higher open rates and conversions.

Content Marketing 

The only way to attract eyeballs and raise the level of engagement is to create and post content on subjects that your target audience will find useful and entertaining. Publishing original content consistently and regularly can mean a lot of hard work but since it costs little money, it is very affordable even if you have to outsource it. There is a huge variety of content that you can post on your website, social media, or on other sites in the form of blog posts, white papers, slide presentations, videos, infographics, podcasts, and more that not only enhance your brand awareness but also serve to generate organic traffic to your website.


Search engine optimization may seem too complex for entrepreneurs to handle; however, it can be quite easy to implement some of the more basic strategies. There are a large number of keyword research tools that can help in the identification of the most relevant keywords that can be infused into your content to attract a high volume of organic traffic via search engines. Other simple steps include optimization for fast loading speed and proper display on mobile devices. If you are not SEO-savvy, you can hire freelancers very cheaply to do it for you.


For entrepreneurs lacking ready money, engaging in aggressive marketing campaigns may seem impractical. However, if they are willing to think out of the box, they will discover that there are quite a few strategies that can be very effective while being very affordable. Often these strategies can help businesses to survive until the revenue stream can increase adequately to allow more investments to be plowed into marketing.

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