11 pro tips for advertising on a shoestring budget

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Advertising is a business expense that is usually tax-deductible. It’s an investment to grow your business.

Desperate for more customers but don’t have money to advertise? I have heard this time and time again.  But..if people don’t know who you are, or how to find you, how can they buy from you?

Here are 11 of my favorite ways to advertise on a shoestring budget.

Plan an event, or attend an event. If you do your own event, recruit other businesses to set up a table there to help you with the operating costs. If you provide enough value, you can charge admission to cover advertising costs

2. Create a Deal. This is a no upfront cost advertising program. You may have heard of Groupon or Living Social.  The publisher of your deal will keep a portion of the buy now purchases in exchange for promoting your deal and business to its audience of people that signed up to get discounted deals, you keep a portion of everything they offer brings in, and money is automatically deposited into your bank account. Experiences and packages work really well for this kind of advertising. The purpose isn’t really to make money but to get new clients that you can turn into return customers.

3. Free Calendars
If you have an event you need to promote, you can usually post it for free on “things to do” calendars that can be found in social media, local news websites, newspapers, radio, broadcast stations, and magazines. Be prepared for sales calls, but it’s free to submit the info.  This isn’t a guaranteed form of advertising, it’s up to them to approve the post, and they can decide when and how long it runs for.  If the info gets picked up, it’s a great way to get your name out there to a wider audience for free.

4. Press release
To learn how to make one, read my article 5 insider tips on how to get into the news.

5. A website
Having an online presence builds trust. When your website is easy to find, relevant to the user, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate you will show up higher in searches when people are searching online to purchase or do research. It used to be that you had to spend thousands of dollars and tons of time to make changes to get it just right, and then after that, it must constantly be updated and optimized to be found easily online. Now, you can have a  professional website that’s easy to set up, update and optimize yourself, using Shopify. This is one way you can grow awareness for your business. Shopify does give you an e-commerce option, as well as integrate payment, shipping, social media marketing, email marketing to help you create the perfect automated sales funnel.  Starting at only $30 a month.  Try it for free for 14 days with no credit card here with my affiliate link (I make a small commission should you use my link right here to sign up) Shopify Free Trial

6. Social Media – It’s free to start business pages and groups to gather your tribe of people that want to connect to you in real-time on a more personal level. They want to hear from you and interact with you online. They want to share your information with their friends and leave reviews. What are you waiting for? Social media posts with your name show up on internet searches, so post often to be found easily online. Use hashtags that are easy to remember and interact with your target audiences to grow your digital presence.

7. Google Adwords – Reach your exact target audience while they are online researching in the buying mode. You can run a search ad or display ad to be seen on search results as well as websites your target audience spends time on. You have control over the budget and the ad copy. There are keyword planner tools you can use with Adwords to help you with insights into what people are asking about online to help you plan content for your ads.

8. Paid social media display ads – Target your ads and unique message to audiences with specific behaviors, interests, income levels, zip codes, buying behaviors, and more. Ads will work better if they have been written for the right target audience, with images that look like them. Your ads will cost less if your page is getting a lot of engagement first, so be sure to send your ad out for a test to your best engagers for an opinion before you decide to put money into boosting it. Use Ads Manager function of Business Manager for Facebook or the power editor for full audience set up for your best targeting capabilities.

9. Video Marketing – Live video will be the #1 way to reach your audience in terms of visibility. You can use social platforms like Youtube, Periscope, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Live. You can also share your home-made video from your phone to make it go viral. Add captions and embed your live broadcast or recorded video on your website’s home-page for an SEO boost. Email it out using mail chimp, embedding the video into the email with lots of keyword-rich content and hashtags included.

10. Email marketing – Continuously build up your list of email subscribers, and schedule regular emails to reach and engage them.  To grow your list, you will need a strategy to entice them to give up their info willingly. One way is to offer something of value in exchange for the information. Try to keep it simple. Include this in your marketing strategy. You can offer links to your products and services to people that know, like and trust you. Google Forms is free to set up a form that you can use to capture email data. If you have an email for your website you can use Mail chimp to make and schedule great emails for your business using your list.

11. SEO – Take a peek at keywordtool.io and check out the long-tail keywords that your customers actually search for, and incorporate them into your content. This helps you show up in google searches. This works great when you explain the problems that you solve and give people a way to buy. There are three kinds of searches that people normally do. 1. Researching/planning, 2. information, and 3. intent to buy. Be sure you have the right call to action for your audiences, depending on what their search intent shows based on the keywords they are searching for.

Hope this gave you some good ideas on how to advertise for free or little cost!

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Published by Boudica

Owner and CEO of Boudica Marketing. Helping businesses get leads and save time by managing marketing, advertising, and social media.

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