3 Ways to Market Your Business on a Shoestring Budget

2016-09-30-1475241609-5217368-AnthonySaladino.pngBy Anthony Saladino

It's no secret that advertising plays a crucial part in promoting growth for any business. For small business owners, however, money can be tight, so how do you go about advertising without spending a fortune? I've gathered some useful tips on how to successfully (and effectively) catch the eye of potential buyers when marketing on a small budget.

1. Use Facebook Ads

There are approximately 1.4 billion active users on Facebook, making it the perfect platform for you to reach your desired audience. Facebook ads allow you to choose the exact demographic you're after by creating a custom audience. To create your audience, you can input detailed demographic information that acts as a filter (for example, you can target your advertising to moms over 40, who practice yoga, and live in Ludington, Michigan). You can also create an audience by adding email addresses from existing subscribers. These tactics ensure that your ads are always relevant to the person on the receiving end.

Since you'll be up against other advertisers, Facebook has created an auction for exposure, so to speak, where your cost-per-click is dependent on what you're willing to bid. There's a useful tool called the "suggested bid range" that allows you to see what other advertisers are paying per click for their ads to reach your chosen demographic. Bid within that average range, and your ad will be shown more often than another advertiser who chose to bid lower. A major advantage to this tactic is the fact that your budget is only depleted when someone clicks on your ad and is taken to your website, but when the ad is only displayed, you're charged nothing. A reasonable bid can therefore gain you loads of exposure and views, which is half the battle.

With a low average cost-per-click, Facebook ads are an inexpensive alternative to traditional forms of marketing such as radio or TV advertising, which can cost you an arm and a leg. They also don't take a lot of time or effort to set up: Simply click on "create an ad," choose an advertising objective, and create your audience, budget, images and text.

2. Hold a Contest

People might be more open to sharing their personal information if there's a possibility of winning something. Try to give away something related to your industry: For example, my company recently ran a free contest offering a wet bar, bathroom vanity, or a hutch configuration to the winner. By doing so, we collected thousands of email addresses from applicants as well as increased our Twitter and Facebook accounts by several thousand followers.

A great contest strategy is to promote a giveaway deal: The applicants must repost a picture of your giveaway package, tag you in it, and include a spiel promoting your business. In this scenario, the participants are basically doing your marketing for you.

After you've attained all of these emails and social media accounts, you can send them future promotions and newsletters, and therefore increase sales. An additional benefit is this gives you the opportunity to share user-generated content, thus deepening the connection with your audience and creating a sense of loyalty to your brand.

3. Turn on Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is one of the hottest selling games on the market right now. You've probably witnessed a slew of people aimlessly wandering around totally immersed in their phones (more so than usual). Although it may seem annoying, don't be so quick to roll your eyes: These gamers could help your business more than you know.

The retro card game has taken on a new spin in a geographically-based augmented reality where you can hunt, lure and capture Pokémon to eventually trade in for points. Although the game may seem like it's targeted towards a younger age group, more than 40 percent of users are over 25 years old.

If your business doesn't happen to be a "PokéStop" or "gym" (areas visited by gamers), there are still ways to attract players. For only a few dollars you can purchase what's called a "lure module." This will attract Pokémon to your establishment, and with them will come players, AKA potential buyers. To increase sales even further, run Pokémon-related specials or discounts for any players who enter your establishment. Turn on the app to see where "gyms" or "PokéStops" are located, which will help you pinpoint a concentrated area of players. This is a fantastic feature for mobile businesses such as food trucks.

No matter the type of business, these new age forms of marketing are great ways to increase sales without risking your hard-earned revenue.

Anthony Saladino is the co-founder and CEO of Kitchen Cabinet Kings, one of the nation's largest distributors of kitchen and bathroom cabinetry on the Internet.