7 Ways to Advertise a Small Business That Won’t Break the Bank
Are there ways to advertise a small business on an equally small budget? The type of advertising push comparable to the major players in the market?
Just because your business has a small marketing budget doesn’t mean it can’t compete. In fact, your business may have an edge over the competition. An edge found in the agile nature of your small operations.
Your business hustles while the big businesses experience scope creep from corporate decision-making. This lets your biz roll-out campaigns, and create sales, well before the big competition gets ideas on the whiteboard.
So, want to know how to advertise your small business cheaply?
Small Budget, Big Impact: Cheap Ways to Advertise a Small Business
There are a number of reasons why you can’t afford a bigger ad budget. What matters is what you do with the funds you have. And, finding a balance between cheap advertising and quality promotions.
What fits between these two (cheap and worthwhile)?
1. Business Cards
Business cards work in your favor several ways:
- Brings brand awareness
- Directs people to your website
- Keeps you on a prospect’s mind
- Makes for a professional appearance
For about $5-$10, you can get a basic stack of business cards from providers like Moo.com or VistaPrint. These sites also hold frequent promotions giving away a stack of business cards on a first order.
Where would you share them?
- Business meetups
- Community boards
…and anywhere (and to anyone) where they’re well received.
2. Trinkets and Swag
If a business card works well then branded merchandise should be twice effective, right? These trinkets have a similar effect on building brand awareness for lead generation.
What trinket and swag types work?
- Branded office items (e.g. mouse pads)
- Utility items (e.g. pens or coffee mugs)
- Fun items (e.g. pins, buttons, or stickers)
Do buttons sound ideal? If so, then this service can handle all the design options for a low price. Want branded items? Try DIYing it with in-house designs and print batches through CafePress or 4Imprint.
3. Flyers & Pamphlets
Flyers & pamphlets are easy to create using these resources:
- Templates (InDesign or Microsoft Word)
- Freelance Design (UpWork or Fiverr)
- Marketplaces (CreativeMarket or Envato)
A flyer template costs a few bucks on the marketplace. And, are easy to format using design tools. A few tweaks to the text and a print job will give your business promo materials for local marketing.
Where could you distribute them?
- Local business window displays
- Handed out at local events
- Included in the shipment
In fact, the designs used with the flyers are reproduced in…
4. One-Page Websites
One-page websites are easily designed using drag-and-drop editors or templates. These properties convey the important information without the bloat of a full site.
One-page websites are perfect for small-scale campaigns like:
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Landing pages for outreach campaigns
- Microsites acting as valuable community resources
These website types are easy to create using:
You’ll also find landing page tools built into many email marketing services. Or, easily developed using one-page website templates.
Using this format is cheaper (time and money) than developing a bloated site. And, benefits from faster load times and easier management.
5. Facebook Page + Promoted Posts
Does your business have a Facebook Business Page, yet? If not, this should become first on your list. Facebook is A) free, and B) has one of the cheapest forms of online advertising: promoted posts.
Creating promoted posts can’t get any easier:
- Share a post on the business page
- Click the ‘Boost Post’ on the post
- Select your audience and budget
- Confirm and let it run
You have unlimited audience selection with the boosted post:
- Fans of the page
- Friends of fans of the page
- Custom audiences via interests
- Imported lists from your business
- Lookalike audiences based on current lists
A $5 – $10 promoted post can reach hundreds of people within 24-hours. A great promoted post could then become the basis of a great Facebook ad!
Combine promoted posts with strong offers and landing pages. This will funnel prospects to your site to entice sales and email sign-ups.
From there, nurture leads using CRM tools to repeat business. Or, convert leads to customers through constant contact.
6. Guest Blogging/Outreach
Guest blogging and blogger outreach deliver many benefits:
- Expose your brand to a new audience
- Network with niche and market influencers
- Build valuable backlinks to increase organic traffic
- Gather feedback and support to improve operations
Costs of a guest blogging campaign are measured in time. Create several blog posts and distribute them to relevant sites. Or, use third-party writing services priced per piece.
Finding guest post opportunities is easy:
- Search for “Your Industry” + “Submit a Post”
- Cold email blog prospects and pitch ideas
- Use placement services to distribute content
People finding these content pieces will visit your website and explore its offers.
7. YouTube Videos
A video is a cheap and effective avenue for spreading brand awareness. Video creation is easier than ever thanks to freely available tools and apps. Placing video on YouTube exposes your business to billions of daily viewers.
How can you create YouTube videos?
- Create a list of video ideas (e.x. FAQs about your products)
- Write a loose script explaining features and benefits
- Set up a camera + tripod, lighting, and microphone
- Record yourself reading the script
- Edit the video using the YouTube editor or video editing suite
- Publish the video and optimize the title and description
You’ll soon get the hang of video creation. Otherwise, create videos using employee insights or customer interviews. Use your best video on the YouTube advertising platform to reach targeted audiences.
Go Cheap, but Not Too Cheap
Many business owners are looking for ways to get free advertising and promotions. They’ll go the extra mile to save a few bucks but sacrifice quality.
What happens when you delegate ad/promo work to the lowest bidder?
Amateur work and off-putting efforts.
Worse, some advertising and promotional efforts can cause irreversible harm to your reputation. Or, harm your place in Google. Cheap services could test and break relationships built with ad platforms/managers, too!
Go cheap and find ways to advertise a small business on a budget. But, pay for quality work when need be. After all, this is what’s representing your business.
Want more advertising ideas? Have a look at our advertising archive!