Tips for Advertising Your Small Business on a Tight Budget

Small Business Advertising

For a small business owner, advertising is never an easy task.  A small budget further complicates your plans. If you are strapped for cash, small business advertising options available to you may, at times, seem pretty bleak.

small business branding ideas

Advertising ideas for small businesses

Even if your small business lacks the cash flow necessary for big advertising campaigns, there are still other ways to get the word out there about your goods and/or services.  This may require you to think outside the box, though.  But any entrepreneur will be happy to tackle this tricky challenge.

Create an Elevator Pitch

The first thing you should consider is crafting a unique and memorable ‘elevator pitch’.  Whether you’re out and about town or around potential clients and customers, having a handy marketing slogan to help sell your small business is an optimal way to create groundswell buzz.  Keep in mind, however, you’ll probably only have a few seconds to get peoples’ attention, so be sure to make your ‘elevator pitch’ quick and snazzy.

Sponsor Local Events

Once you’ve developed your small business’ ‘elevator pitch’ and thought long and hard about your target customers and clients – another low cost marketing solution is to invest attention to your local community.  This means activities like sponsoring a local Little League team, fun-run, golf tournament, or 5k charities.  Sponsoring such community events will give your small business’ name exposure.  This might not create the customer windfall you’re hoping for, but getting in the back of people’s minds is a great way to start becoming better known.

Local Online Listings

Coupled with this localized focus is the opportunity to offer potential clients incentives like limited time or free offers.  You can also utilize online platforms available to local communities: Amazon Local, Yelp Listings, and Foursquare, to name a few.  These platforms offer small businesses like yours the ability to market directly to local audiences.

Promotional Offers

As for providing free offers – this is a great way to introduce potential clients and customers to your small business: your name, your goods and/or services, and how you treat people.  Once customers have experienced your small business once, and come away with a good impression, it is likely they’ll want to come back again.

Local offers are an excellent tool, but so is the Internet, of course.  Focus on setting up online contests for your small business.  This may include the purchase of a slightly more expensive prize, but it will be worth it in the contacts you make and the exposure you develop for your brand.

business contest rafflecopter logo

Promotional offers can boost your small business

If you’re unsure how to host a contest, have no fear!  Sites such as Rafflecopter make the process simple and painless – in no time you’ll be able to embed the contest entry form straight onto your website.

Social Media

The Internet doesn’t just provide a great platform for contests.  Social media is an inexpensive tool – optimal for small business (any kind of business, come to think of it) marketing.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Yelp, and LinkedIn – all of these can feed into your small budget advertising campaign.


Social media for small business

To cite just one example – YouTube provides an excellent way to share things like instructional videos.  The great thing about this type of content is its affordability.  You can even shoot these videos on your own iPhone!  Though, if you’re willing to spend just a little bit more – you can start producing videos of much higher quality, which draw the eye and get people excited about your small business’ goods and/or services.


Another great low-budget promotional option is DIY Infographics.  These work especially well online.  These eye-catching marketing tools are popping up everywhere these days.  Instantly shareable, easily understandable – infographics are like candy – and you’ll quickly be reaping the benefits.

Update Existing Marketing

Breathe new life into your business re-arranging data or other previous marketing material.  Pretty soon you’ll have a whole arsenal of new content to release into the world.  Discover industry-related information and tailor it to fit your brand.  Take old posts from your own small business, rewrite them, update them – transform them, and you’ll catch potential customers’ eyes.

Business Cards

The development and creation of business cards is another valid way to sustain brand visibility.  Remember the ‘elevator pitch’ you created earlier?  Business cards are an excellent compliment to these sorts of pitches.  You might not have had time to fully develop all the things your small business is able to do in those few short seconds – so popping a business card with all the relevant phone numbers, websites, email addresses, etc, into potential clients’ hands is a smart way to allow them to deepen their understanding of what it is you do.  It’s a no pressure invitation from you to them, to provide them with the opportunity to research your small business further.

Email List Marketing

free email marketing mailchimp

Email marketing for small business

Along with a business card is the potential to add potential clients’ and customers’ email addresses to an email-marketing list.  Email marketing is yet another way to create and sustain engagement with the community around you, both local and digital.  You can get website visitors to sign up for your emails (which can include email newsletters) by offering bonus content for every subscription.  Free email marketing services such as MailChimp make this sort of marketing easier, and cheaper, than ever.

Update Your Signage

small business window signage

Business signs

Nothing brings in new local business like nice store front signage. Take a look at your existing business sign. If it looks weathered or even old in visual style, consider getting it re-designed so the locals notice the improvement. You can also boost sales by creating banners or yard signs for store promotions. If you are on a tight budget, get temporary signs made on more inexpensive materials like corrugated plastic or pvc instead of aluminum sign material.

There you have it.  Even on your tight budget, a substantial marketing campaign for your small business is entirely reasonable.  Go forth and spread the word about all the wonderful goods and/or services your small business offers!