As a business owner, chances are you know how to tighten your belt, so to speak, to save on expenses. Traditionally, marketing and advertising budgets were the first to get slashed when in a cash crunch. However, these days, there’s no excuse for not investing in a comprehensive marketing strategy no matter your financial constraints.

Thanks to social media and other digital technologies, it’s never been easier and less expensive to invest in ways to advertise your business. With trackable, cost-effective marketing tools at your disposal, we can help you learn how to advertise your small business on a shoestring budget. Below are some of today’s most proven methods of small business promotion.

No-Cost Advertising

Most business owners naturally assume that advertising comes at a cost. However, some of the most effective marketing campaigns can be launched to great success without spending a dime. Here are some of the best ways to advertise your company for cash-strapped startups.

Offer Coupons

Sometimes old-school promotional methods offer the best return on your investment. In the case of coupons, there are plenty of opportunities to draw attention to your business’s deals and sales without having to spend a penny.

Software such as Adobe Spark can get you started designing and printing coupons that can be circulated hand-to-hand at shopping malls, farmer’s markets, and just about anywhere. Alternatively, you could make digital coupons offering 10, 20, or 30 percent off your services and circulate them to your social media followers.

Snapchat Stories

If you want to reach a younger market demographic, leveraging Snapchat is one of your greatest assets. Snapchat’s user base is overwhelmingly young, with 85% of Snapchat accounts belonging to those between the ages of 18 and 34.

By posting daily Snapchat stories on their ephemeral video and photo-sharing platform, you can stir up buzz among the younger crowd. Bonus points if you post exclusive “behind the scenes” footage showing glimpses into the day-to-day lives of you and your team.

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

Twitter is arguably the best way to advertise small business promotions within a tight-knit niche. If your company sells, say, hockey or softball equipment, join in on Twitter chats around those sports communities by using their hashtags (e.g., #NHL or #StudentAthletes). The more ‘Favorites’ and ‘Retweets’ you get, the more eyes will be redirected to your business.

Join LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for small business owners and entrepreneurs. It also happens to be the best way to advertise your business to other business owners that might be interested in your product or service.

Joining a LinkedIn group in your field immediately puts you in contact with other like-minded decision-makers.

Know Your Neighbors

Brick and mortar store owners should get out and introduce themselves to the other storefront owners on their block. While joining your local small business association can provide you with great networking opportunities, nothing beats knocking on doors and getting to personally know your fellow entrepreneurs. Next thing you know, they might be knowing on yours.

Invest in Email Marketing

Even today, email marketing remains one of the most effective methods for getting your message out. With the advent of email automation services like MailChimp and Sendy, you can send off massive email blasts to thousands of professional contacts at the touch of a button. In fact, targeted email marketing has been proven to:

  • Increase repeat website visits
  • Boost sales through organic search traffic
  • Generate a loyal following of high-converting clients

Guest Blog

One of the best ways to promote your business is to become an authority figure in your market. Offering to write guest blogs for high-traffic niche website is a great way to increase your exposure and generate a lot of sales leads if you include your company URL in your byline. Also, you can write informative, value-added posts on platforms such as Medium and Quora.

Appear on a Podcast

Sometimes learning how to advertise your business is a matter of learning how to speak intelligently and informatively about the value your business provides. This is where the art of podcasting comes in.

Appearing as an expert guest on a popular podcast not only is a great plug for your business, but it also helps establish yourself as an authority figure in your field.

Become Search Engine Optimal

These days, advertising for small business owners revolves around Google. If your business can rank highly on Google search queries for high-traffic search terms, then you can expect countless leads to your website.

However, ranking on the first page of a Google search requires an intensive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that can be time-consuming to put in practice.

Rehearse an Elevator Pitch

Nothing beats an old-fashioned 30-second elevator pitch when you’re pressed for time and money but still need to get your message to new audiences. After all, as a business owner, you are your company’s biggest mouthpiece and ambassador—as such, you should be prepared to give a quick off-the-cuff marketing pitch on a moment’s notice.

Remember, the average adult attention span is only about seven seconds. In today’s fast-paced world, attention spans are dwindling every year. Keep your pitch short and focus on how it can add value to your potential customer’s life.

Low-Cost Advertising

When it comes to boosting sales and finding ways to promote business deals and sales in a cost-effective manner, there are several low-cost methods you can take advantage of. Below, we’ve listed a few of the cheapest advertising methods for netting a high return on little investment.

Recruit Brand Ambassadors

Attracting influencers to your brand is a key step in learning how to advertise a small business in today’s digital economy. According to a WhoSay survey, 70 percent of US-based agency markets said that they would be increasing their influencer marketing budgets in 2018. If that doesn’t signify a growing trend to you, I don’t know what will.

Reaching out to social media personalities with tens of thousands of followers and high engagement rates to rep your brand can generate hundreds of converting leads. Since larger influencers are often already under contract with other brands, “micro-influencers” with between 5,000 and 25,000 followers are a great source for low-cost ambassadorships.

Host a “Game Show”

Knowing how to promote your business requires a bit of ingenuity from time to time. This is where hosting a “game show” can go a long way. On Facebook or Instagram, ask your followers to ‘Like’ the post and tag a friend for a chance to win a random prize (i.e., a gift card or a cash prize). This is a great way to significantly grow your online presence fast.

Donate to Charity

People like to see successful business give back to their community. Whenever we’re asked how to advertise your small business, we suggest publicly donating to a registered charity or nonprofit organization.

Not only does it feel great to pitch in for a great cause but sharing your donation on social media can generate lots of positive buzz around your brand.

Vehicle Decals

You need to get creative if you want to find out how to promote business information effectively. If you are constantly driving to meet with clients or customers, consider decking your company vehicle out in a full or partial-wrap vehicle decal. Make sure the decal includes your company name, logo, and basic information about the product or service.

This way, whenever you’re stuck in traffic or commuting you can serve as a moving billboard that thousands of locals see every day. For a modest one-time cost, vehicle decals are extremely effective for driving brand recognition.

Start a Podcast

In 2018, over six million Americans listened to podcasts every week. In other words, podcasting is now one of the best ways to advertise your business.

Although a quality microphone and some audio mixing software might set you back a few hundred dollars, there’s a lot to be gained from cultivating a loyal audience. Some of the top business podcasts to model yours after are:

  • The #AskGaryVee Show
  • What Great Bosses Know
  • Dose of Leadership
  • Off the Charts Business
  • Rich20Something

Invest in Pay-Per-Click Ads

We’re often asked: where can I advertise my business on a tight budget? The answer is, well, everywhere. Using pay-per-click ad campaigns, you can advertise virtually anywhere that Google Ads operates—which, in case you haven’t noticed by now, is basically everywhere on the internet.

Wrapping It Up

Learning how to advertise your small business is more of an art than a science. While research skills and an eye for market trends is an asset, you won’t get anywhere on a tight budget without a little creativity. By leveraging the options listed above, you can launch a cost-effective marketing campaign for your business that generates leads on a shoestring.