You don’t have a lot of money. You don’t have a lot of time.

How on Earth can you run a marketing campaign on a shoestring budget?

Well, guess what, marketing can be as inexpensive as the air you breathe (except maybe in London, where even the air tastes pricey).

How, you ask?

Through the obscure art of… *drumroll please*


Ok, so there isn’t any actual controlling of minds taking place. But there’s certainly some good, low-cost marketing.

And good low-cost marketing will get you the living, breathing, buying clients. (Please note the italics – we want buyers, not only browsers.)


Social media, websites, email, text messaging… the possibilities are endless! And the best part? You can always take a leaf out of another start-up’s book for inspiration.

So, as we wrap up the year, let’s remember some of the best start-up marketing campaigns of 2019 And even steal from some of their ideas before the year is out!


1.     Makerpad #nocode

Imagine being able to create a website or an app without using a single string of code. How proud would you feel? I’d immediately shout it from the rooftops or, more probably, show it off on Twitter.

Where Makerpad have hit the jackpot is with user-generated content, which, as we all know is becoming ever more important. People trust other people more than they trust you. That’s the blunt, yet understandable, truth.


  • Use reviews and hashtag contests to get users to market for you.
  • Leverage your product or service to run ‘AMA’s’ (Ask Me Anything) on Twitter, LinkedIn and other communities where your target audience hang out.

2.     Cuvva with the Bubble Man 

By teaming up with well-known YouTuber Thomas Gray, this ingenious start-up brought some humour to the otherwise dull thought of buying travel insurance.

Cuvva wanted to reach the younger generation, who is much less likely to buy insurance when going abroad. So, they dressed their Youtuber in bubblewrap and sent him on his way with this make-shift protection.


  • Collaborate with YouTubers and Instagrammers to help you get your message across in diverse ways.
  • Show your customer just how shoddy the alternative (in this case, bubblewrap) is! Get creative with your guerilla marketing techniques.

3.     #killthepdf

 What’s wrong with PDF, you ask? According to Turtl, it’s obsolete.

It’s uncomfortable for mobile users and useless when it comes to analytics, so the start-up made it their imperative to lead the revolution against Adobe’s baby.

After an engaging video which implied that PDF is a thing of the past, the hashtag #killthepdf bounced around Twitter, along with a few well-utilised memes.

Not satisfied, Turtl decided to put on a show at B2B Ignite in London. Gathering outside the Business Design Centre where the event was taking place, the team brandished cardboard signs and handed out stickers to “protest” the use of PDF files.

An amusing example of guerilla marketing.

 Even Turtl’s stand at the event didn’t lack in satire, as they gave away free copies of “A Complete Guide to PDF Analytics” by Nick Mason, Turtl’s CEO. Of course, the book was completely empty.


  • Whether it’s protesting in the streets or tweeting passionately from your sheets, suss out where your target audience is and go there.
  • And again, get creative with your guerilla marketing techniques!


4.     Designed to be Deleted

Hinge is an app for singles looking to find love. Their to-the-point advertisement sets them apart by showing the user exactly what he or she wants.

But wait, you don’t have money for TV advertisements. Patience, there’s something else to take away from this. 

What do single people want? A romantic dinner? A rich partner? A highly exclusive dating app with only three worldwide users? No.

Single people want to find love, and deleting the app means mission accomplished. Which is exactly what Hinge promises by claiming that the app is “designed to be deleted”.

Their advert shows a loyal and furry Hinge logo being put to the side and killed when the user finds someone to snuggle with. The video leads viewers to almost sympathise with it.


  • Use humour to communicate your message. Just be careful with cultural nuances.
  • What’s an ad if not a video? This form of media can draw a clear picture of your brand and fast-forward the user’s mind to the moment of real benefit.
  • I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this… but advertise the benefits, not the product, and they shall come running with money in hand.


5.     “Let me be your Tealer”

 Here’s one to keep you motivated, it’s a tiny start-up called Tealer. 

Two young brothers started a business in Berlin but had no Headquarters and no money. Not. One. Penny. (For emphasis, I’m almost sure they had money to survive.)

 They delivered home-made iced tea to thirsty, street-roaming Berliners. Apart from some arduous footwork, how on earth could they ever market their product?

Instagram became Tealer HQ. By taking pictures of, and posing with, their clients while they consumed the product, they made their brand human and advertised it.

Not to mention the benefit of being tagged in user-generated content.


  • Use plenty of hashtags in any guerilla-style social media campaign you’re planning.
  • Use the highlights section of social media to poll customers and discover their wants and needs. Tealer’s growing online presence, along with their nifty catchphrase, “Let me be your Tealer”, has earned these two young entrepreneurs over 1.5k followers in 2019!

6.      Keeping it real

If your bookcase is creaking under the weight of business books and self-help essays, and you also just so happen to be interested in the world of marketing, then check out

He may be young, but Harry Dry already seems to be like a cat with 9 lives or an entrepreneur with just as many businesses. With, he’s truly cutting through the meaningless noise that’s currently out there in the marketing world and bringing real-life case studies to the masses.


  • Bag an obvious but SEO-friendly URL, and then maintain that approach with SEO-friendly headlines and content.
  • Start with a newsletter and listen to what your reader’s really want to know about.


You might not be a German teenager with a passion for herbs, or a closet psychologist looking to take on the big corporates, but hopefully this list has inspired you to create some of your own low-budget marketing campaigns. If they can do it, you can too.

You may not have the money to launch a Tesla into space and start a live stream of it orbiting the Earth, but you do have countless other strategies at your disposal.

💜 Happy Planning!

From Emma at immerj

[Main photo by Al Ghazali on Unsplash].