Steps to Making a Splash with a Limited Budget

Small budget.

Big splash.

It’s the eternal small business dilemma: You have a limited budget, but need to make the biggest splash possible for your investment. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to use the resources you already have to get more bang for your buck. We’ve aggregated eight ways for you to start…



70% of SMBs plan to increase their digital marketing budgets.

Get social. Social media offers enormous reach and, best of all, you can establish a profile for free. Of the 70 percent of businesses that plan to increase their digital marketing budgets according to a survey by GetResponse, 59 percent say they’ll be focusing on social media. Be sure to incorporate your social media icons into your signage and any high-profile outdoor advertising you have, such as your vehicle wraps or window décor, to raise awareness of your profile.


Work on

Ensure you’re getting your business in front of more customers and prospects by:

  • Paying attention to search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Claiming your listings on Google Business, Yelp, and other directories, so you appear in local search
  • Updating the content on your site regularly
  • Using images and video to boost results
  • Making sure your website design is responsive or built to adapt to multiple screen formats (Google penalizes sites that are not responsive)


Make Your Signage Work for You

From large-format signage that directs customers to particular areas to small, shelf signage for price promotions, in-store signage can help direct customers to popular items, spur sales, and generate impulse buys. When you’re placing your signage, look at it from multiple vantage points to ensure it’s delivering maximum impact and is legible and reflects your brand message.


Train Your Employees

Your employees are your front line in sales, service, & generating customer loyalty.

Train your employees. Your employees are your front line in sales, service, and generating customer loyalty. Be sure that they are properly trained and have the authority to make some on-the-spot decisions to provide the best customer service, such as handling returns or small refunds.

Your employees can look the part, too, by always appearing neat and tidy. If your business requires uniforms, make sure the outfit reflects your business’ brand promise and that any logos or name imprints are easy for customers to read. It costs very little to have well-trained employees who can make an enormous difference in your customers’ satisfaction.


Get a Little Famous

Every business has a story. Tell yours to the media. Write by-lined pieces or op-eds about current issues that relate to your business. For example, if you own a retail store, write a piece for the local newspaper or a blog about how to choose the right gift. A landscaping company owner might send a news release about how to choose the right plants and bushes for a yard. Share your expertise with their audience and reap the awareness-raising results.


Benefit from Trade Shows without Exhibiting

Trade shows and industry events can be great marketing opportunities if you can afford to have a presence and great signage. But, even if your budget doesn’t allow for a big, splashy booth, you can still find value in being there.

Try these tips to make the most of your next event:

  • Contact the organizer and offer to do a speaking engagement
  • Look for exhibitor lists and try to set up meetings in advance with contacts you’d like to connect with
  • Take out a small ad in trade show
    publications, or sponsor a small feature such as a charging station, which you may be able to do for less than the cost of a booth
  • Roam the exhibit floor and share your business card and marketing materials, collecting contact names – and be sure to follow up with them afterward!


Use Email Marketing

Email is the marketing powerhouse SMBs use most for attracting and retaining customers, according to a 2016 Constant Contact report. Work on building your list and sending out promotions, special offers, and updates that are relevant to your audience.


Host an

Use your store as an event venue. Work with your suppliers to feature a small party for a brand, invite a local author or celebrity to do an appearance, or simply host a customer appreciation day. Prepare for your guests by ensuring that your store branding is on point and consistent, inventory is stocked, and you have some unusual and interesting merchandising and signage to encourage your guests to buy.

3M Brand You

Branding. No matter how big or small your business, properly and effectively branding it can be one of your biggest challenges. We’re here to help with 3M Brand You – an online resource to educate, inspire, and empower you to maximize your brand’s impact with articles, tools, case studies, galleries, and more.

Explore simple, effective ways to build your brand and business with graphics.

If you do not already work with one, connect with a branding graphics professional by entering your zip code and searching for a professional near you.

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