Failing to market your business may put you at a disadvantage to your marketing-savvy competitors. But it doesn’t have to be this way. While plenty of companies can invest significant budgets on marketing, it is still possible for a company to do marketing on a shoestring budget of $500 or less. And even if you’re limited to the shoestring budget, you can still see excellent results. It might take longer, but still, some marketing is much better than no marketing at all. And, as time goes by, your marketing efforts will stack up and become more evident.

Here are some ways you can do marketing with a limited budget of $500 or less.

Consider a Low-Interest Loan

We’ll give some recommendations on how to do marketing with a budget of $500 or less, per month. But first, it’s worth pointing out that you could take a low-interest loan. No matter where you are in the business cycle, you can get a loan to address your marketing needs. The borrower should give a loan that fits your entire budget. It’s very helpful if you can start off with some capital. Also, the more exposure you get, and the sooner you get it, the better.

Do marketing on a shoestring budget by getting a loanYou can be sure you’ll make a higher ROI on investment once the business stands on its feet. So, how can you make that happen quickly? Let’s say you planned on spending $500 per month on marketing. That’s not a bad idea. But, why not get a loan for $5,000 [or whatever makes sense] and put it all into marketing right away, or over several months. This will significantly accelerate the speed at which you start seeing results. Then put $500 a month into repaying your loan. Your monthly expense will be the same, but the marketing efforts will go much more quickly!

Before you put money into marketing, you should have a sound marketing strategy and clear objectives. You have to spend money to make money, but be sure you’ll make the money after you spend it. Having a strategy and being able to project future financial income from your marketing efforts will help give peace of mind to both you and the lender. And definitely choose a reputable lender for your loan.

Invest in Content Marketing

Content marketing enables people to more easily find you through social media sites, search engines (like Google) and other online sources. You should create audience-focused and timeless material. There are many types of content marketing. Some examples include podcasts, blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.

For website content, and depending on what you need, you can get a writer who charges $100 per 2000 words. On average, the pricing will cost $300-$600 per month. When you hire someone to write content for you, it’s still going to be less expensive than other forms of advertising. It’s estimated that content marketing costs 62% less and generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing. Not sure what “outbound marketing” is? Check out our blog post titled Inbound Marketing Versus Outbound Marketing.

Perhaps the best way to approach the matter is to post your content on question and answer sites like Yahoo Answers, Reddit and Quora. These are the go-to sources for many marketers who want to establish authority, drive traffic and drum up their content ideas.

The questions must be answered honestly and objectively. It becomes better if you add a link to your product. It’s worth mentioning that you should also post useful content. Posting fluff content that provides no real value isn’t the best marketing practice and it’s not necessary. You can still post highly beneficial content, even on a shoestring marketing budget.

Leverage Social Media

One of the most effective ways to reach out to new customers is to leverage social media. It’s a simple way of promoting startup businesses like yours. But there are some basic rules to social media marketing.

You should make a point to update your social media accounts with high-quality content. Otherwise, your social media marketing efforts could be worthless. Here are some best practices for posting content to social media.

You can also run ads on social media. This will help ensure your content is promoted to a wider audience. And because social media ads can be scaled to almost any budget, you can pay an extremely small amount on social media ads. You can get started with social media marketing even if you have a startup budget as low as $50 per month.

Considering the low cost options associated with social media marketing, you can easily promote your products and services with a total monthly marketing budget of $500 or less. Also, while you should select a social media platform that makes the most sense for you and your industry, Facebook is a good platform to consider starting with. Not everyone is on Facebook, but it’s an extremely popular social media website that works for many businesses. It’s worth considering as part of your marketing mix.

Leverage Email Marketing

Regardless of the size of your business, email marketing can be an efficient way to do marketing on a shoestring budget. For every $1 you spend, you should expect a return of about $32. With a smart approach, a 100-word email could bring in thousands of dollars in revenue.

So, how much does email marketing cost for a small business? On average, you should expect to spend about $300 to $500 if you’re working with an agency. And at the heart of any email campaign, you should have customer retention as the end goal. According to the latest statistics, 82% of businesses rely on email marketing as their primary customer acquisition channel.

Email marketing has a high ROIUltimately, you should choose an email marketing budget that aligns with your goals. Before you dive into this marketing strategy, you should know the factors that can impact the cost of your campaign. To get the best results, you should clean up your email list.

Another factor that affects the price is the frequency of your campaigns. For instance, you should expect to pay more if you send many newsletters as opposed to one. If you pay 0.02 (distribution cost) per client and you have about 100,000 subscribers, you will pay $2000 every month. But, not every email marketing platform uses a cost per distribution model. And, that leads us to another important consideration.

You should carefully select the best email marketing platform for you to use. Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages. If your marketing budget is $500, there are many platforms that fit into this price range. And if you intend to create your email campaigns yourself, rather than using an agency, you can cut your marketing costs down even further.

How Do I Spend A $500 Marketing Budget?

A $500 marketing budget isn’t typically going to skyrocket you past your average competitor. Instead of using this amount to acquire more business, you should use it to get more money through a low-interest loan. However, according to an article by Entrepreneur, the average small business spends $400 per month on marketing. So, even though a $500 budget won’t take you into the lead right away, it will at least give you an edge over the average small business competition in the long run.

Going with a loan, and then paying it back at $500 per month is a smart move. But, if you prefer not to get a loan, that’s understandable. In that case, you can still pull ahead of your competition by wisely investing your money. A combination of the marketing tactics above can be done within a $500 budget. So, that is what we would recommend you do.

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Here are other marketing considerations that can help you get great results:

Execute a well-managed SEM campaign

You should familiarize yourself with the basics of how Google Ads work. If you don’t do this, you can easily burn the $500 on ineffective PPC marketing efforts.

Practice organic SEO

Organic search engine optimization enables a company to rank better on Google and other search engines. Be sure to follow industry best practices to move your company to the top of Google.

Wrapping It Up

If you run a small business, you don’t have to spend a fortune on marketing. While $500 may seem like a drop in the bucket for large companies, it can do a lot for startup businesses.

In this digital age, you can easily throw money into marketing efforts that don’t yield a desired result. All the above marketing tactics are proven winners, so be sure to put your marketing budget to good use. And, as a final thought, it’s not a bad investment to get a consultation from an experienced marketing professional. If you need help with your own marketing, either as a consultation or with the items talked about in this blog post, let us know. We would be happy to assist as much as possible.


Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More



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