Lots of my clients allocate a miniscule amount of their business budget to marketing. Cautious about taking financial risks, and invested in getting trackable results, they tend to have a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) marketing mentality.
It's psychologically understandable to want your business to pay for itself. It may even be an absolute necessity for now. However, it is assuredly an unwise long term practice that won't lead to sustainable success.
So I have these suggestions for smart initial spending on a shoestring to get the most value from your marketing dollars.
1. Remember that nearly all marketing expenses are very likely tax deductible, even for sole proprietor businesses. Spending on marketing is like putting money in a savings account -- the pay off grows over time, and you collect nicely on your year end income tax return.
2. Spend all you can on building an attractive, sticky, interactive, user-friendly website with a compelling marketing message.
3. Invest in help for crafting the best marketing message that makes the deepest emotional connection with your ideal client if writing isn't fun and easy for you. (remember that writing for marketing purposes is different from all other writing)
4. Use an inexpensive online printer like www.VistaPrint.com for your business cards. Don't bother with ordering brochures at first. Print fliers, tipsheets, even brochures from your own printer on an as needed basis, unless you need more than 30 or so at one time.
5. Take advantage of all the low cost online locator services, and free social media and blogsites to connect with potential clients.
6. Pay for online credit card processing capability -- such as PayPal, as one of several examples -- to make it easy for clients to buy your services and products.
7. Develop a marketing plan that gives you a clear path for growth within the limits of sensible, reinvestment in your business spending.