What Can You Do with a $500 Marketing Budget?

If you are bootstrapping a new business or just want to grow an existing business, how would you allocate a $500 marketing budget? 

Going “all in” on one medium?

  1. $500 for one or two days of small newspaper ads
  2. A very limited radio ad spend
  3. A very small yellow pages ad

None of these are likely to get you much widespread or long-term exposure, as we know that newspaper readership and radio listenership are way down and very segmented. Would you like to advertise on a rap, country or oldies station? Yellow Pages? I don’ know about you, but I haven’t opened one in more than ten years.

At Kona Impact we don’t believe in “home run” marketing spends. Our years of experience have shown us that a long-term approach with exposure in many places is the way to grow a business. 

I’ll never forget the couple that came to town and spent their entire marketing budget–about $6,000– on two full-page newspaper ads. They received less than ten calls and only a few sales. They were out of business within six months.

Here are some alternatives to a big bang, all-in marketing plan:

  • $100 for a set of vehicle magnets
  • $100-$200 in ads, shown only in Kona, Hawai on Facebook, Google or Bing
  • $.55 each for stamps to send a mailer or postcard to existing customers or prospects
  • $85 to print 1,000 business cards
  • $100 for a banner for the exterior of your business
  • $72 for a 2’ x 3’ in-store or in-office foam core display
  • $75 for 30 bumper stickers 
  • $36 for a 2’ x 3’ poster
  • $75 for an aluminum 24” x 18” real estate size sign
  • $250 for vehicle graphics (basic)
  • $95/hour to fix or update your website

While we don’t have any magic elixir for business success, we do know that being seen in multiple mediums, over time, is the best way to built recognition and sales. Even with a very modest budget, a small business can make great strides toward being seen and well known.