How to Run a Marketing Campaign on a Tight Budget [Expert Tips & Free Tools]

Download Now: 8 Free Marketing Budget Templates
Olivia Deng



Many of us have been there with the cup of noodles diet when money is tight. 

Low-Budget Marketing Campaign

Sometimes, marketing teams also run into tight budgets. But that doesn’t mean you should stop your operations. There are still clever ways to run lean marketing campaigns.

In this post, we’ll highlight budget-friendly marketing campaign tips straight from experts.

Click here to download 8 free marketing budget templates.

Before we begin, let's review how to create a marketing campaign so you have a better understanding of how to tweak it for your budget. 

Low-Budget Marketing Campaign Tips

Media Campaigns

Be Realistic

When you have few resources, one of the worst things you can do is have unachievable expectations. You’ll have to scale them down and be realistic.

“If you're working with a tight budget, make sure that you have clear measurable KPIs and stop yourself from thinking of ways to grow the product from a paid perspective outside of the budget you have to spend,” says Dréa Hudson, Head of New Media Growth at HubSpot.

She adds that this can be challenging if you’re an ideas-first person, but also a lesson in prioritizing time, resources, energy, and budget. 

“Get creative with your earned and owned media, pull together a clear, concise value proposition that's easy to share, highlighting what you're able to offer any partner that can help you reach your goals,” Hudson explains.

Focus on Targeted Advertising

When you can’t afford an ineffective campaign, it's crucial to ensure that your advertising efforts are reaching the right audience. 

Instead of casting a wide net, focus on targeted advertising to maximize your budget. 

Use platforms like Facebook Ads or Google AdWords, which offer robust targeting options based on demographics, interests, and behavior. This way, you can ensure that your ads are shown to people who are most likely to engage with your brand.

Pitch to the Press

Getting press coverage for product releases and campaign launches is a good way to generate buzz at no cost. 

Drafting a succinct press release and keeping media contacts organized is a good start to garnering coverage.

Use Free Promotional Channels

Social media


Social media marketing and email marketing are both powerful ways to reach audiences on a tight budget. 

Editorial Campaigns

Embrace Collaboration

No one should operate in a silo — it takes teamwork to run a successful campaign. 

“Identify teams you’d like to work with within your company, then brainstorm or pitch mutually beneficial collaborations that can align your work around a unified goal.” says Pam Bump, Content Growth Team Manager at HubSpot. “If your team creates text-based blog content or marketing emails, but you need videos for your campaign to work, offer the video team content promotion in your text-based content if they create media related to your campaign topic.”

She adds that cross-team collaboration is beneficial for all parties involved.

“This way, you get the content you need to drive time on page or video search, and they benefit from the views, awareness, and potential channel subscriptions that come with promotion in your content,” Bump concludes.

Leverage User-Generated Content

Encourage your customers to create and share content related to your brand. 

User-generated content not only promotes your brand but also builds trust and credibility. 

Tory Bullock, YouTube Marketing Manager at HubSpot, says, “As brands look for new ways to extend their reach in a rapidly growing digital space, UGC is becoming a more viable and cost effective marketing strategy than ever…People trust people.” 

Run contests, social media challenges, or ask for testimonials and reviews to encourage user-generated content creation. This approach isn’t only cost-effective, but also helps in building a strong community around your brand.

Brand Campaigns

Outsmart, Not Outspend

When you’re on a budget, your best bet is to outsmart the competition. 

“Look for creative efficiencies by producing assets in waves or batches. And for brand media, find ways to outsmart, not outspend, your competition with memorable, contextual ad placements to drive outsized impact,” says Callie Wilkinson, Principal Brand Marketing Manager at HubSpot.

Use Affordable Tools to Streamline or Optimize Campaign Work

HubSpot Campaign Assistant

Get started with HubSpot’s Campaign Assistant

Software comes in handy when you’re running campaigns on a tight budget. Tools like HubSpot’s Campaign Assistant can help you generate content for campaigns ranging from emails to landing pages.

HubSpot Campaign Assistant

For example, I took on the role of owner at a costume store and created a landing page for a Halloween sale. 

Campaign Assistant prompted me to summarize the campaign, list key factors people should know about, decide a call to action, and choose a writing style. In seconds, I got ready-to-use landing page copy.

If you’re looking for another tool, HubSpot’s AI Content Writer can help you generate copy in a pinch. While Campaign Assistant is designed specifically for campaigns, AI Content Writer casts a wider net. You can play around with both tools.

AI software are not the only tools at your disposal. You can also leverage HubSpot’s Branding Kit that contains free templates.

Embrace Virtual Events

In-person events are often costly. Virtual events, on the other hand, are a smart and cost-effective way to get people to interact with your brand on a personal level.

“The dirty little secret of in-person events is you're all competing for the biggest number — but the bigger the number, the worse the experience for the attendees,” said Bob Bejan, Microsoft's VP of Global Events in a past interview with HubSpot. 

“The power and effectiveness of virtual events is just so convincing from a data perspective that it's hard to imagine they're ever going away,” Bejan explained.  “Virtual events at every dimension are so much more effective than in-person events."

Get Started With Marketing Campaigns

You don’t need to be extremely well-funded to run a successful marketing campaign. All you need is creativity, understanding of your audience, and the right tools.

Tools like HubSpot’s Campaign Assistant can help you generate content for your campaign. 


8 templates to help you track and manage your marketing spend this year.

    Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform