5 Ways to Market on a Budget

by | Oct 25, 2019

One of the most common questions we get asked is “How do I market my business when I have no money?”   The bad news is that if you are trying to market on social media for free, then you get caught up in all the other adverts from businesses who are trying to do it for free.   The good news is that if you are willing to spend some of your own money to get customers in the door, you can get some great results at low cost.

Google AdWords

We all want to be on the front page of Google – I mean, if your website is on Page 2 then most people will never find you in a generic search.   Even in more targeted searches, your website could be at the bottom of Page 1 based on advertisements from other businesses targeting your area.   The main reasons to use Google AdWords are:

It’s Targeted

You can reach customers relevant to your business by targeting specific audiences in specific locations, with specific interests.   A range of options let you target by website type, audience type or remarketing, when and where it matters.   Using Google AdWords means that you are more likely to be found by someone who is searching for the product or service that you offer, when they need it.

It’s Measurable, accountable, flexible  

Google AdWords shows how many people notice your ads and what percentage click to visit your website, or call you, etc. With the tracking tools, you can even see the actual sales your website is generating as a direct result of your advertisements.

You Get Insights

You can see how your ads are doing at any time by logging in to your Google AdWords account. To save you time, you can access a monthly summary listing all the key stats and numbers that matter.

You Can Stop, Start, Pause, Test

Remember when we had the Yellow Pages books?   We had to spend a stack of cash just to be competitive, and we were stuck with the ad for 12 months, whether it worked or not.   Using Google AdWords you can tweak your ads with different offers, try new search terms, or pause your campaign and re-start whenever you like.   As we teach our clients, using a Test and Measure strategy will always reap the best results.

You Can Advertise locally or globally

Target your ads to customers in certain countries, regions or cities – or within a set distance from your business or shop.  We regularly run business seminars and target areas within 15 Km from specific suburbs.

Facebook Ads

Given that almost everyone is on Facebook at some stage during the day, we like to think of Facebook Ads as a new version of the local newspaper – only better.   You can set a small budget of as little as $5 per day and get a much more targeted reach for your business.   You can target locations, interests, age groups, gender, etc.

You can set a Daily Budget or a Lifetime Budget for your advertisements.   Experiment with both methods to find which is best for you; just be sure to check what you are doing.   You wouldn’t want to set a daily budget of $100 for an ad to run for 30 days, when you actually wanted that $100 to be your lifetime budget (ie: only wanted to spend $100 in total).   As you can see, Facebook Ads can be very low cost (if you get it right)   OR   expensive if you get it wrong.

The point is that a lot of people don’t understand it, so they don’t do it.  If you want to try Facebook Ads and don’t understand it, get help.   Get good advice from an expert in their field with good referrals – and try it out for you


Who wouldn’t like more referrals for their business?    Do you have an ACTIVE Referral Strategy to incentivise your current clients to refer others to your business?

Having a solid referral program could be the cheapest way to advertise – It costs very little to set up, and can be the source of major profits for your business.   It really is up to you as to how you structure the program, whether it offers trailing commissions or free product, or flowers, wine, or a gift basket – having a referral program will always bring benefits.

So what’s stopping you?   Write down your Top 10 clients – Contact them – Ask them for 1 or 2 names of people who would benefit from dealing with you.

Be Seen – Get Yourself Out There

Being a small business owner can often be very time consuming, so people often either forget or forego the opportunity to get outside and smell the roses.   There are a range of different ways to network for your business, including business breakfasts, seminars, and other groups dedicated to helping spread the word about your business.   Also on the networking theme, consider helping a charity or other community organisation or join a sporting club.

Local Radio / TV / Newspapers / Magazines are always looking for new content.  Be newsworthy; share a client success story or launch your new product or service.   Be sure to write the main copy for them and provide high quality pictures/video where possible.   If all the work is done they will be more likely to run the story.

Whilst we are talking about Press Releases, check out sourcebottle.com which sources experts for TV, newspaper, etc interviews) – so become the expert they are looking for.

Letter Box Flyers

Letter Box Flyers are proven to work for certain businesses.   One of our clients – a restaurant – experienced a 400% spike in sales every time they dropped menus into local letter boxes.   The main cost is in the printing of the flyers, and your time to deliver them.   Be methodical and have a strategy for where and when you deliver.   It’s no good dropping flyers into residential mail boxes if your target market is other businesses.   Our advice would be to use a service (circa $3K – $5K for 10,000 flyers – printed and delivered) which is a better use of your own time than doing all the leg work.

Direct Mail

Shock Horror – Another less digital strategy……but we believe that Direct Mail is making a comeback.   One of our clients uses this method to target a specific audience with a great offer, and wins work every time they run a campaign.   Bumps or “lumpy” mail also engage a targeted audience – we have seen a range of things that make people curious enough to open an envelope and read the contents – from a compass (Get some direction in your business); Band Aids (Do you have a band aid solution for your finances); to Teabags/coffee bags (Have a cuppa on us and take the time to read this letter).   Use your imagination and get creative.   The more targeted you can be, the better.