I was asked this question recently by someone who had decided that they wanted to get their business out there a little more in 2018.

His business had been tracking well since opening a year or so ago in a regional town. He had been getting some great word-of-mouth as the food he sells from his bricks and mortar store was ace. Trade was going OK but he knew he could do better.

He really could. He hadn’t even put a sign on his store yet.

While he initially stated he had $5k for his marketing budget, he actually only had $4k as he had just invested in getting a logo designed and a sign created for the outside of the shop.

I couldn’t argue with either of those spends.

So with $4k left in the marketing kitty we started to run through his options.

Firstly I told him, he needed to create a game plan. It’s so important to start here. You make much more considered decisions when you understand what it is you are trying to do in your business and who it is you are trying to appeal to.

By understanding this you will also be able to create more compelling messaging that differentiates you from your competitors and means something to the customer.

Once the marketing plan is complete, you can start to understand how you will spend that $4k!

He had said that he had already got a website up and running so that item did not have to cut into the budget – phew!

Ok, so let’s start with what we ruled out first:

  1. Large scale print ads
  2. Radio advertising
  3. TV advertising

We ruled these out not because they are ineffective. These mediums can be very effective in getting a business out there, but not with that budget. You might get a few weeks of radio advertising for $2K (on regional radio stations) but what are you going to do for the remaining 11 months and 2 weeks of the year? Same goes with TV advertising.

Print advertising is effective if you can run multiple ads in succession of one another. Unless you have a really well-known and established brand, one or two print ads placed throughout the year may create some mild awareness but won’t be enough to sustain sufficient visibility and engagement to build serious revenue.

You could look at running a succession of smaller print ads in less visible (and cheaper) spots in local publications but only if it’s backed up with other touch points that are present at the same time.

Speaking of which, here is what we ruled in:

  1. Social Media Marketing (mainly Facebook)
  2. Email marketing

What you could achieve on Facebook with $4k is significant. (Remember this business was in a regional area). By using the Facebook Ads platform you could run low-cost, highly targeted advertising campaigns throughout the whole year.

You can target people in the region who have demonstrated interest in the products or services you sell by using interest-based targeting. You can re-market to all those who have stopped by your website or signed up to your email database.

You can experiment with your messaging and placements. You can now run your Facebook Ads not only in the News Feed but on Instagram, on other websites, and now also in Facebook Messenger.

With the insights available on Facebook, you can monitor how the ads are being received. Are people clicking? Are they visiting your store? You can actually measure this in your Facebook Ads because Facebook can see when someone has engaged with your ad and then track their location to your store when they visit to purchase. Yep.

Email Marketing is practically free if you have less than 2,000 contacts on your email marketing list. Using an email software such as Mailchimp, you can send regular emails out to your customer base whenever you like.

Yes inboxes are cluttered but if you send emails that rock your customers lives – they’ll open them.

There would be plenty of crafty and creative guerilla-style marketing campaigns that you could run throughout the year as well on that budget.

The most important thing when you are operating on a small budget is to have a tight grasp on who exactly your customers are so you don’t waste a cent on speaking to people who are never going to buy!


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