No Marketing, No Ad Budget, No Problem
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How to maximize a minimal marketing budget with a small & medium-sized business toolkit


As a small business owner, I know that there are few things as frustrating as not having a decent marketing and advertising budget. Yet having been in marketing and advertising for a quarter century, there are plenty of effective tools at your disposal.

Editor’s note: This is a multiple part series will examine a wide array of marketing and advertising tools available to small and medium-sized businesses. Part one focuses on how to begin analyzing the tools for effectiveness and ROI.

The first step is taking stock and identifying the three core issues:


    1. Which tool should I consider?


    1. What is the minimum investment to really get results?


    1. What is the ROI of each of them?


Let’s jump right in…

Clarity of objectives

Next even before you set a budget and before you consider selection of a medium is clarity of expectations. What would you like your advertising to achieve?

Consider the following next set of questions. Is your objective to:



    • Generate direct sales online from your website?


    • Get people to call or email you?


    • Make appointments?


    • Increase traffic to your store?


Before making a purchase, identify get more specifics with respect to your goals.

Be honest…I’ve spoken to dozens of small business owners who have said something like “Oh, I just want to get my brand out there” or “You know, generate some buzz” which begs the inevitable question once you have “have your brand out there” and “generate some buzz”- what then? How do you generate revenue?

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking requires in depth knowledge of your objectives as a starting point. You will have to create your own model. Let’s examine two businesses

Suppose the objective is to sell $500,000 a year, you sell clothing online with an average transaction of $75. This equates to 6,667 transactions to make your goal. Assuming no seasonality issues this works out to 556 transactions per month.

Let’s look at some additional assumptions:


Click to enlarge
Depending on your results you might need to generate as many as 55.5 million impressions per month or as little as 555,000.




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