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Resource Center » How to Advertise on a Modest Budget

Tips for small business advertising on a modest budget and cost-effective marketing techniques.

Is it possible to advertise on a small budget? Of course! Marketing your small business is never a cakewalk, but you have low-cost options available to you that you may not have previously considered. Don’t panic when you look at your spreadsheets and realize that money is tight, because you’re not alone. Many small businesses are struggling to find cost-effective marketing solutions that round up new customers and drive new sales.

Need a few free or inexpensive advertising methods that bring results? Ponder these strategies:

Mood Stadium Cup (17 Oz.)

Plan Interesting Giveaways

Just because you run a small business and not a multi-billion-dollar corporation doesn’t mean you can’t map out an exciting promotion for your brand! Companies like McDonald’s tie their product sales with promotional items like collectors cups, mugs, or toys, and you can follow that lead for your own business. Even if you can’t afford to tie in promo items with daily purchases, you may be able to swing a special promotion once a quarter. Mood
color-changing stadium cups, personalized can koozies, or reusable tote bags are affordable possibilities if your funds are limited.

Take Advantage of Social Media Websites

If customer service is a major selling point for your company, then it’s not a bad idea to initiate a presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Social networking has become an invaluable resource for businesses looking to connect with customers—whether it’s used as a quick Q&A tool or as a relationship-building tool—and people often turn to social sites to conduct research on companies prior to making purchases. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all offer free accounts and ample opportunities to network with potential clients all across the world!

Social Media

Chamber of Commerce

Join Local Business Organizations

Make use of your local chamber of commerce and become a member of organizations that directly relate to your industry. Even if the membership fees seem steep up-front, it’s worthwhile to belong to well-respected organizations because it brings extra exposure to your brand. In addition to added credibility, chambers of commerce provide vast resources such as member directory listings, link promotion on their websites and newsletters, exclusive discounts to other local businesses, and referrals. Unless the yearly fees are outrageously expensive, it's more than worth the effort to belong to established organizations.

Pimp Your Vehicle(s)

Why drive around with a naked company car when you could use it as an advertising resource? Everyone sees license plates, bumper stickers, and signage in traffic; give people something interesting to read and you’ll reel them in for sure. A well-designed
magnetic car sign or a simple, attractive airbrush design can do wonders in the attention department, and neither one costs an arm and a leg. If you have a few extra bucks to spend and you already have the design you want, then conduct a search for custom paint jobs in your area as well.

Spot Color Car Sign

Email Signature

Utilize Your Email Signature

It’s beneficial to include your company name, website URL, phone number, email address, and social media URLs in your email signatures. Don’t go overboard with link after link, but list the most important information after your name so that contacts can conveniently find you on an outlet they frequent. Customers won’t know that you’re present on such sites unless you tell them! Tweaking your email signature is free and it only takes a few minutes to customize.

Promote on YouTube

Would your customers benefit from a product demonstration? Do you have something to say to clients that you’d rather not communicate via text? YouTube could be just what you need to get the word out. You’ll need a video camera or webcam to shoot your video, but you should be able to get either for a good price. (Either set up a tripod or commission a helper to hold your camera steady. Otherwise, you run the risk of appearing amateurish.) You’ll have to create a YouTube account to upload your video for the world to see, but it’s easy to do. Once you're finished, you’ll be free to send the link to interested parties and spread your message. With any luck, your message will go viral and reach new audiences!



Blog Your Heart Out

Blogs supplement websites quite well and they allow readers to directly engage with you. Don’t get too hung up on what to write; content will come easily if you blog about your area of expertise. Can you think of any valuable tips or information on your industry? Or maybe frequently-asked questions that could use some answers? Blog about it! The more you blog, the more chances you’ll get to interact with clients, but always push quality over quantity. Even one blog post a week can help your business establish credibility and gain a following.

It's a challenge to find and utilize advertising outlets when your price range limits you, but don't give up without a fight. Many small business owners cut their marketing allowances when times are tough; doing so could have catastrophic results because it takes the business out of the public eye (and therefore out of customers' minds). Even simple branding efforts such as promotional pens and trade show appearances can make a world of difference to consumers. Remember that advertising on a modest budget can be done with a bit of creativity and a passion for your industry! Do you have what it takes?

Article By Jill Tooley
Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. In addition to managing the QLP blog, Jill also manages the content development team, assists with the company’s social media accounts, and writes like a fiend whenever given the chance. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

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