3 Big (Affordable) Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you have BIG ideas for your business. But do you have the budget to match?

A San Francisco sunset captured by a drone

Don’t let a tight budget keep you from marketing your business and showing your tremendous products or services to potential new customers. These three tips will help you market your business in a big way without blowing the budget.

Think Big on a Short-Term Scale

Would you love to shoot drone footage of your landscape projects? Rent a drone for a day and capture footage for your website, blog and social channels. If you’re interested in high-priced equipment or technology, see if you can rent it. You’ll stay on budget and test the equipment, so you’ll know what you want if you can buy one in the future.

You can also rent big-ticket items for occasional needs to keep capital free for other purchases. Looking for designer clothing for a photo shoot? Rent styles that fit your project if you don’t plan on using them regularly. There’s no need to buy them to use one or two times.

Along with renting big ticket or low use items, barter goods and services with fellow small business owners or professionals. Perhaps a graphic designer will design a marketing piece for you in exchange for you writing copy for her website. If you go this route, be honest about the value of your services, so it’s a win-win for both parties involved. You don’t want to damage your reputation by shortchanging a fellow small business owner or business professional and losing potential business.

Modify Stock Solutions to Fit Your Needs

Stock photos and other tools draw a bad rap, but they are lifesavers to small business owners everywhere. Search sites such as Pixabay or Creative Commons to find photos you can legally use in your marketing efforts. (Note any citations required and follow any stipulations mandated by the photo owner.) Then, modify these photos to fit your needs with tools such as Canva or PicMonkey. Canva offers free and low cost stock photos as well.

You can use PowerPoint to remove backgrounds from images (if you have permission to do so), add text to images and add filters. Create a visual for a specific social platform by changing your slide size to the preferred size of the platform, and then save your design as an image file (JPEG or PNG) to share. Screenshots are another visual option, depending on what you’re trying to show.

Don’t forget about social platforms when editing photos! Most platforms offer an array of filters, stickers, text options and more to add personality to your photos and make them stand out. Keep your brand in mind when modifying photos or editing visuals. Does it fit your brand image? Do you stick with a certain aesthetic on social? Have fun and show your brand’s personality, but don’t use a filter, sticker or other edit that doesn’t fit your brand.

Build a WordPress site (or pay someone to build you one) instead of having a custom website designed from scratch. WordPress offers hundreds of themes, both free and paid, that allow you to find a look that fits your business. You can customize your site extensively, even if you don’t know how to code. Build a beautiful, user-friendly site on a much smaller budget that will serve your customers and potential new customers well.

Do It Yourself But Don’t Hurt Your Brand

With the internet, there is more information and tools at your fingertips then ever before. You can handle a lot of tasks for your business yourself, but be honest about your capabilities. Don’t try to DIY something that ends up looking cheap or unprofessional and hurts your brand.

Take photos of interesting sights when you’re out and about to use for future content. It’s nice to be able to use your own photos and not have to worry about finding stock photos like we mentioned earlier. If something captures your eye, take a photo. You never know what will be a good fit for a future blog article or social post.

Can’t afford a professional video crew or photographer? Ask a friend with a steady hand to film a short video of you talking about your business or take some pictures of you in action. The cameras on most smartphones today are high tech, so you can still look professional while staying in budget.

While we’re on the subject of creating content, there are a number of free, online tools to help you create a variety of content types. Create GIFs, convert videos to GIFs and edit images with EZGIF.com. Find out what colors are on a website or in an image with Color Combos or ImageColorPicker.com. View vector art, find free fonts and much more at PRISM. Create videos with Adobe Spark or Animoto.

Know Your Tools, Capabilities and Limitations

We’re not trying to dissuade you from hiring a professional. At some point, you’ll come across a situation or project where you need professional skills and expertise. However, we understand that budgets can be tight for small businesses and startups. It may make sense to handle as much as you can internally for now until you can afford to outsource tasks and free up your time to focus on why you’re in business.

If that time has come for you or you’ve hit your limits with your marketing efforts, let’s talk. We offer professional services and experience at affordable rates, so that time may come sooner than you think. Have a question or looking for a specific tool? Ready to recommend another affordable tool? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

A small business owner thinking big (on a budget),
Jaime

Let’s connect! Say hello on social, share your favorite affordable business tools or ask us a marketing question on the platforms below.

Movin’ on Up: Small Businesses Go to the Big Game

It all started with a groundbreaking company that just wanted to encourage more interest amongst girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Who could predict that Goldieblox would become the first small business to advertise during the Super Bowl?

GoldieBlox has changed the game.

GoldieBlox became the first small business to advertise in the Super Bowl in 2014.
Screenshot courtesy of Goldieblox.com.

In 2014, Intuit ran a contest to award one small business the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to advertise during the big game. GoldieBlox won the contest, won the Super Bowl audience over with a great ad and has been growing rapidly ever since.

Breaking Through Gender Stereotypes: Are We Making Progress?

This year, it’s Death Wish Coffee Company‘s turn. The self-proclaimed Home of the World’s Strongest Coffee has an incredible opportunity to reach millions around the world in 30 seconds. As big fans of good coffee and fellow small businesses, we hope Death Wish Coffee Company becomes a household name after OWN IT airs during Super Bowl 50.

Death Wish Coffee Co is the 2016 winner of Intuit's Small Business, Big Game contest!

Death Wish Coffee Company is hoping to make a big splash in the big game with OWN IT.
Screenshot courtesy of Intuit’s SmallBusinessBigGame.com.

With small businesses starting to make appearances during the big game, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that one is making the trip on its own. Alternative lender Social Finance, also known as SoFi, is dropping some serious cash — 20% of its annual budget — to introduce itself to the world.

Here’s the catch: like most startups, SoFi’s ideal customer is a specific niche market —  qualified millennials who want to refinance student loans as personal loans. The company began to expand its offerings to mortgages and some consumer loans last year and expected these areas to overtake refinanced student loans as its largest areas of business by the end of 2015.

Still, is it worth it? Will SoFi’s 30-second spot reach enough members of its target audience (either directly or indirectly) to achieve its goals? While SoFi has a much larger budget than most startups and small businesses, the company is still taking a huge gamble to introduce itself to the world. Plus, the financial sector hasn’t been a major player in Super Bowl advertising of late. Will SoFi win big or lose it all to one ad?

If you had the budget to advertise in the Super Bowl, would you? Would it be the best use of $5+ million dollars for your company? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know your decision in the comments below!

p.s. What are your Super Bowl 50 predictions — winning team and advertiser?

Super Bowl dreamin’,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about ads, your marketing needs or otherwise):
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo