A Short Guide to Business Advertising on a Tight Budget

Advertising is key for building a healthy and successful business. However, the cost of marketing can be substantial and therefore difficult to achieve for smaller companies or those who are getting by on a tight budget. Fortunately, there are ways in which to tackle this problem and get the most out of your limited funds. Whereas in the past, money was a deciding factor in advertising, thanks to the advent of the internet and specifically social media, there has been a levelling of the playing field. This means that it’s not only the large corporations who are able to dominate the advertising market.

If you’re a company owner and you’re wondering how to approach marketing with a small budget, there are a variety of methods to consider.

Plan Ahead

No matter how large or small your business is or how much money you have to spend, planning ahead will benefit everyone. There are many options when it comes to marketing and it can be easy to become daunted- this is why plans are so valuable. Before starting an advertising campaign, ask yourself who will be overseeing it, yourself, another employee or a third-party? How much money are you willing to invest within advertising and what do you expect to return in sales? What are your exact goals- overall brand awareness, general sales or specific product launches? The more specific your plan, the more effective that your advertising will be.


Before you begin to consider investments into marketing, take a look at potential free avenues. There are many easy, free and effective ways in which to advertise, that you may have overlooked. For example, Google often provide vouchers for free AdSense advertising when you build a website. You are often offered freebies when ordering business cards, branded products or services, all of which can be useful in marketing.

There are also other methods which may not be completely free but are relatively easy and cheap to implement. For example, including promos with invoices that you send out to clients or branding your packaging. If you have a fixed premises or a work vehicle, brand it with a logo, name or slogan. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of smaller, cost-effective changes.

Social Media

Business owners who are trying to get the most from their marketing budget should look to social media. Print advertisements, like those found in newspapers, magazines and leaflets, just aren’t as effective when compared with the connectivity and reach of the internet. This should be good news for companies as advertising online can be much cheaper and in some cases, free.

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, allows brands to connect with customers directly. Whether you’re posting images, written content or branded videos, you can target specific groups in order to guarantee success. For example, look at your current customer base and then target similar groups with your posts. Many of these platforms even have in-built web shops, bridging the gap between the advert and checkout.

Whilst Facebook and Instagram are better suited for B2C organisations, B2B shouldn’t overlook the power of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an entire platform built with business in mind, allowing you to connect with potential clients in a way that would be much more difficult, if not impossible in the real world.


An interesting aspect of modern advertising is viralability. We’ve all seen posts and videos which have exploded in popularity, shared with millions of people. Many companies are keen to replicate this effect as it massively increases visibility and recognition, without huge investment. The best way to approach viralability is through good content. Create unexpected or even surprising content as this will help you to stand out and increase your chance of going viral.

Another way to approach this method is through Guerrilla advertising. This is low-cost, high-impact marketing that works on people’s curiosity. For example, vague stickers on public transport which links to your site or street art which includes a QR code. The more creative, the more likely you are to make an impact.

Advertising is as important to business as ever before but with today’s technology, it’s never been better for smaller businesses to operate on the same playing field as their larger competitors.

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