20 Ways to Promote Your Business on a Limited Budget

20 Ways to Promote Your Business on a Limited Budget

I often get asked the following questions…

What is the difference between public relations, advertising and marketing?

It can be perplexing and overwhelming to promote your product, service and essentially your business.

I hope that the below guide helps you to break down, decipher and differentiate between advertising, marketing and public relations.

What is advertising?

Advertising is a paid form of promotion that can be delivered through a variety of media outlets.  This simply means that the business owner pays for the message that they want to convey to their target audience.

The media outlet can be print publications, online publications, television, radio, or even outdoor advertising such as on a bus stop shelter or billboard.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the process whereby goods and services move from concept to customer. The Marketing Mix is made up of 4 Ps.

  1. Product: Creating and developing your product/service
  2. Price: Determining the price you will charge for your product/service
  3. Place: Where will you sell your product/service
  4. Promotion: How will you create awareness and let potential customers know about your product/service

What is PR?

Public Relations falls under the Promotion ‘P’ in the Marketing Mix.

Public Relations is the key to effective communication between the business, the media and ultimately the consumer.

Public Relations is the practice of managing the spread of information between a business and the public.

Public Relations Consultants do not pay the media to write about their product/service. This is the main difference between Advertising and Public Relations. Advertising is a paid message that is placed in the media. PR is unpaid, more credible and personal than advertising.

Before you decide which method you are going to utilise to promote your business, you need to look at your budget. Most startups or small businesses have limited budgets.

How can I promote my business with a limited budget?

Here are some ways you can promote your business when you're on a limited budget.

1. PR

Look into hiring a PR Consultant. A PR Consultant can assist you in creating brand awareness and media exposure. This can work out a lot cheaper than paying for advertising. One full page of media coverage can work out thousands of dollars cheaper than a full-page advert in the same publication.

2. Advertising

If you decide to advertise, ensure that you ask for a copy of the media kit. This will outline all demographic information as well as different packages that are available.

Most media kits also include social media and online packages. Ensure that you are targeting the correct audience.

3. Facebook or Google Adverts

You can choose your budget and market. This can be as cheap as $7 per day. You can decide exactly who to target.

4. Networking groups

Get onto Google and search for local networking groups. Some of these are free and others charge a fee. You are often allowed to visit the networking groups twice before deciding to sign up. Networking groups can assist you with ideas, which help to promote and build your business. You also get to meet people who can refer you to potential clients. Word of mouth is priceless.

5. Social Media

Set up social media pages. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. Offer competitions and interesting articles or information. Keep content short, snappy and relevant. You can find free videos on how to manage social media and SEO’s online. If budget allows, you can hire a social media consultant.  

6. Direct Marketing

Depending on the type of business that you own, print some flyers and distribute them to your target market.

7. Vouchers/Discounts

Offer a special voucher or discount to try and entice potential customers.

8. Videos

Post a series of interesting videos or webinars about your product, service or your niche expertise on social media and on your website. You will be using the video as a tool to show off your proficiency and product experience.

9. Newsletters

Email your customers a monthly newsletter with tips, information and promotions.

10. Blogs

Write a blog focusing on your unique product or service and your skills relating to your business. Ensure that this is educational and not boring. Link your blog to your website and social media sites.

11. Volunteering

Get your name and business out there by volunteering your business services to charities or your local community. It’s also great to help others whether it be the local school or council.

12. Events

Hold a launch or promotional event. Send your event details to local newspapers and online publications that have an event section.

13. Infographics

People are busy and often don’t have time to read through articles. Infographics are visual eye candy. They are easy to digest. Hire a graphic designer or google how to do one online yourself!

14. Develop a customer referral or loyalty program

Offer existing customers discount, free product or service in reward for referring new customers.  Telling friends about your business is the most valuable and credible promotional tool!

15. Competitions

Your PR Consultant can assist you in arranging giveaways/competitions to create brand awareness and to drive up your social media likes!

16. Cross-Promotion

Partner with another local business that offers a complimentary product or service. You will both be introduced to a new audience relating to your niche business.

17. Apply online for business awards

This is free and can help your business receive brand exposure and free media coverage.

18. Brand your car

Depending on your product or service, you can look into car magnets or adverts. These can be posted on your windows or on your car.

19. Balloons

Look at giving away helium, branded balloons at local events. You will have a bunch of happy families walking with your branding above their heads.

20. Participate in speaking engagements

Offer your knowledge to networking companies and relevant event organisers.

Good Luck!


Candice Meisels

Owner and PR Consultant at Candice Meisels PR

I am a virtual PR Consultant who loves to work with start ups, SME's and entrepreneurs. I have worked in PR for many years for medium and large companies. I always wanted to help small to medium size companies create brand awareness and obtain media exposure. I work with limited budgets to create the most PR bang for little buck. My website is www.candicepr.com. I can also be emailed at candice@candicepr.com You can also learn more about me on Linked In: Candice Meisels


Comments (3)
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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown

A helpful yet concise article on the the differences and overlapping areas. Thanks for sharing.

Candice Meisels

Candice Meisels, Owner and PR Consultant at Candice Meisels PR

Thank you for your positive feedback.

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