How to Market Your Business For $500 a Year (part 1 of 3)

Marketing your business on a budget . So can you really be successful with an annual marketing budget of $500? Honestly, yes. Would I recommend it? No. But if you’re smart and diligent, you can make it work.

I often get asked about what I would recommend as marketing tips for small businesses and nonprofits. And, occasionally, I encounter a potential client who says, “But I only have $500—what can I do for that?” The reality is that I think a percentage of your revenue should be devoted to marketing expenses and that unless you are only bringing in $5,000 in sales, $500 likely won’t cut it. But I also understand that sometimes you have to walk before you jump, and for many nonprofits and small business owners, starting small is the only option.

So if you only have $500 to spend on marketing your business in 2015, start by asking yourself these important questions:

  1. Who is your audience(s)?
  2. What do you want them to do?

If you answered question 1 with “everyone,” then you need to spend some time reevaluating your thoughts. Everyone is NOT your target audience. Think about your ideal customer—that is your target audience. Your marketing should certainly not exclude other audiences, but if your target market is 50 year-old men who enjoy landscaping and handiwork, then your messaging and marketing should be geared toward them—not the 20 year-old college student who has never picked up a hammer or mowed a lawn.

The second question, “What do you want them to do?” may seem obvious, but it’s not always straightforward. More times than not, the answer is likely, “Buy my product or service.” But other times, it may be, “Be brand advocates for my product/service and get others interested,” or, “develop into five-year clients who hire me on a routine basis.” The clearer you can get your “ask,” the better.

Then comes the fun part—putting that $500 to work. Stay tuned for our next blog post on this topic.

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