Large brands have thousands (or even millions) of dollars to spend on advertising and marketing. Think Apple. Think General Motors.
On the flipside, small businesses don’t have nearly as much money. In fact, some only have a few dollars every month for marketing and advertising related expenses.
Here is something to keep in mind: it’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about how much profit you generate in return.
Your marketing return on investment (ROI) should be the only thing you care about. If you spend $100, you need to earn $100 to break even. Of course, your goal isn’t to simply break even. You want to run a positive campaign.
Is $100 Enough to Market your Business?
This is a legitimate question, especially when you consider the fact that many companies only have $100/month to spend on marketing. You aren’t going to purchase a television spot for $100. You aren’t going to purchase space on a huge billboard on a crowded highway. However, there are ways to get the word out on a tight budget.
Here are five ideas to consider:
- Business cards. Did you know that you can purchase thousands of business cards for $100? Once you have these in your possession, it is time to put them to good use.
Give a business card to anybody and everybody who can help your business grow. From friends to family members to neighbors, don’t overlook anybody who can help.
Taking this one step further, attend networking events as a means of conversing with potential customers (more on this below). Depending on the size of the event, it is not out of the question to hand out 100 or more business cards.
- Cold calls and cold emails. How much money will this cost? Nothing if you play your cards right.
You already have a phone provider. You already have an email address. Now, all you need is the time to hit the phone lines or send a batch of emails.
Let’s be honest: there is nothing fun about cold calling. The only time you get enjoyment is when somebody is interested. The rest of the time, such as when you are being hung up on, can be extremely frustrating. But remember, you aren’t paying any money to use this sales and marketing strategy.
- Social media marketing. According to Social Times, “social networking already accounts for 28 percent of all media time spent online, and users aged between 15 and 19 spend at least 3 hours per day on average using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
As you can see, the opportunity to reach your target audience via social media is very real. Once again, you don’t have to part with any money to run a killer social campaign. Sure, you could pay for advertising, but this is not required. It takes time and effort to achieve success through social media marketing, but it doesn’t take money.
- Direct mail. Don’t let anybody tell you this marketing strategy is dead. This is not true now, and probably never will be.
You can purchase 200 stamps for approximately $100. Once you have the postage, all you need is the envelopes, paper, and marketing message.
Carefully consider who you include on your mailing list, as well as what you say. This is not the type of marketing technique you experiment with one time and quit. You need to continue doing this, month in and month out, until you learn what works. Only then can you truly get the most bang for your buck.
- Networking events. Some of these are free, others cost money. Regardless of your location, you should be able to find several network marketing events to attend every month.
With business cards in hand, don’t shy away from talking to anybody who is willing to listen. Remember, you are your best marketing tool. You know your business better than anybody else, so don’t be afraid to let it show.
Tip: networking is a “give and take” experience. In addition to talking about your company, products, and services, ask others for information on what they do.
Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for your business.
Building a powerful referral network is easier than you think and can help drive revenue. Keep in mind that business networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
Track your Results
Regardless of how you market your business, it is essential to track the results and ROI. This data will come in handy as you tweak your approach in the future in an attempt to get the most out of your budget.
Large companies have large marketing budgets. Small companies don’t always have the same benefit. If you are in this position, experiment with one or more of the affordable marketing methods detailed above.
I’ve given you 5 great ways to market your business for $100 or less, but there are hundreds more out there. If you want more options, don’t be afraid to look around.
If there’s a particular marketing tip that you love that didn’t make this list, let me know in the comments below.