Young business owner reviewing product and inventory

7 bright ideas for small business advertising on a budget

By: Jeff Law

Fundamental to small businesses, advertising boosts sales, helps generate and retain a consistent client base, and keeps your contacts informed about why your company's variety of products and services are useful to them.


With 80% of your company's future revenue coming from just 20% of your existing customers, selecting the best advertising tactics to generate quality leads consistently, and implementing advertising strategies to keep your contacts informed, can be costly.


Though cheap advertising for small business entrepreneurs is effective and inexpensive, many small businesses face a list of struggles every day to stay operational. 


With a third of small businesses started with less than $5,000, the average small business using Google advertising spends between $9,000 and $10,000 per month on online advertising campaigns. 


Whether a startup or a small business operating for years, if your advertising budget can best be described as frugal, how can small businesses survive the expensive costs of high-value advertising?


With countless online advertising platforms, ad formats, campaign types, and ad performance metrics available, for your business to convince the consumer that you are the solutions provider they should choose can seem expensive. Applying inexpensive advertising tactics to your marketing strategy will increase your visibility and make a healthy sales impact.


Here are seven high-impact, high-value bright ideas for cheap advertising for small business professionals to leverage and retain customers, increase sales, increase profits, and scale your company.


Business partners reviewing data


Identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)


As a small business owner, your unique selling point is the core of your competitive advantage and should answer the following:


  • What is the unique reason that customers buy from you and not your competitors?
  • What makes your small business better than the competition?
  • What is your unique knowledge set or special skills?
  • What is your target customer's biggest challenge?
  • What solution are you offering?
  • How are you better than your top 3 competitors?


Writer creating content for a website


Recycle Your Content


Recycling your content is a cheap advertising tactic that generates leads, increases consumer traffic, and extends your content reach, effectiveness, and business value.


It's easy to get started in recycling and repurposing existing information into a new piece of digital advertising :


  • Whether converting existing content into another format, such as a blog to an e-book, or e-book to video, ensure its visually pleasing and adds value to existing content
  • Create a social sharing content calendar from the main points of an article 
  • Collect blog posts on a given topic and transform it into training courses or workshop material
  • Use reader comments and reviews as the foundation for blog posts and articles


Worker giving personal customer service to client


Nurture Loyal Customers


Another popular marketing tactic for cheap advertising for small business professionals is to invest in looking after your existing customers and encouraging loyalty.


Strategies to build loyalty in customers include:


  • Keeping customers informed through digital advertising
  • Providing after-sale follow up
  • Exceeding customer expectations
  • Using customer reviews and complaints as an opportunity to improve services
  • Training your team in customer service and basic sales processes


Business partners reviewing reports


Partner with an Industry Magnet


For small businesses, collaborating with an industry insider (but not a direct competitor) when you're on a tight budget is a savvy way to get in on opportunities that otherwise might be missed. Industry magnets enable your small business to:


  • Extend your marketing reach and access new markets
  • Build credibility
  • Access technical expertise
  • Access new revenue streams
  • Share risks and expenses


Computer user reviewing site layout on multiple displays


Create a Website  


Even in the digital age, 40% of small businesses still do not have a website.


If your website only presents basic information such as who you are, what your company does, and contact details, at minimum, a website asserts a digital presence and increases the chance of appearing in local search results, critical for getting your business seen.


For small businesses on a cheap advertising budget, many website builders allow you to get started for free.


Free website builders include:


  • WIX
  • Mozello
  • GoDaddy
  • Strikingly
  • Site 123


Business meeting reviewing statistical data


Profile your Target Market


Grouping or segmenting your potential customers based on specific characteristics will focus your marketing efforts.


Consumer segmentation is upon factors such as:


  • Geographic location
  • Demographics: age, gender, education, income, occupation
  • Behavior: loyalty, attitude, readiness to buy, usage rates
  • Lifestyle: social class, personality, personal values

Person reviewing social media channels on phone


Develop and Implement Marketing Channels


Growing your presence on free marketing channels is an effective measure to implement cheap advertising on a small business budget.


Marketing channels could include:


  • Your Business website
  • Social media
  • Emails
  • Blogging 
  • Brochure and flyers 
  • Networking events
  • Print advertising
  • Word of mouth
  • Cold calling and letter drop
  • Adfully


Finding new and retaining existing customers should always be front of mind for small businesses. Even after the first purchase, the real value lies in keeping that customer, not just earning the first sale. And revenue and retention don't have to be high-price priorities. By implementing some of these strategies, you can take steps toward impacting your business goals right away.

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