Sales & Marketing Tech

How to Make the Most of Advertising for Small Businesses

By | 9 min read | Published

Follow these strategies for successful ad campaigns on a budget

Small businesses have specific advertising budget constraints that necessitate careful planning and strategy.

Even though you may be convinced, like other small business decision-makers, that it pays to advertise, figuring out how to invest your hard-earned marketing funds can be a challenge.

Here’s how your small business can make the most of your advertising budget, and some tips to help you refine your current strategy.

Best advertising strategies for small businesses

Marketing strategies for small businesses revolve around striking a balance between cost and achieving market penetration, particularly because many small businesses have limited ad budgets. The methods listed below require relatively small investments but can produce compelling results.

Social media advertising

Social media is a tremendous tool for businesses because billions of potential clients use social platforms every day. You can use social media marketing to interact with potential customers, increase brand recognition, and advertise your goods.

Social media advertising can give you direct access to the specific kinds of customers you want, especially if you customize your target demographic on the platform. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Spend some time thinking about who your target market is, including factors like where they live, their interests, gender, and age.
  2. On the social media advertising platform of your choice, customize who your ad will target using your target personas.
  3. Run a test campaign, observe the results, and then make adjustments.

For example, if you’re advertising on Facebook, you can use its Audience Insights Dashboard to figure out:

  • What your target audience likes
  • Their lifestyles
  • Detailed demographic data (age, gender, education, relationship status, job)

With this info, you can custom-craft your campaign, ensuring it focuses on the people most likely to purchase your product or service.

You also don’t have to do this manually. By using programmatic advertising, you can automate when and where you post ads on social media. This saves you considerable time while giving you the chance to fine-tune the timing and placement of your ads.

Email marketing

It’s crucial to stay on the minds of your customers and guide them through the decision-making process. The mere fact that you can turn website visitors into leads doesn’t mean that those people are ready to make a purchase. But with email marketing, you can help bridge the gap between interest and action.

This is a simple, cost-free, and scalable method of interacting with both potential and current clients. You can use programmatic advertising with email marketing as well. You can automate who gets which email and when they reach your target audience’s inboxes.

Here’s how to put email marketing to work:

Use an email marketing platform and populate it with leads. Then try emailing potential customers:

  • Newsletters
  • Sales and other promotions
  • Invitations to gated, thought leadership content that both shows your expertise and teaches your readers something valuable
  • Brief, pointed descriptions of products or services, along with the features you think your target customers will most appreciate

The objective of email marketing is to stay top-of-mind but also to position yourself as a genuinely helpful resource for your customers. In this way, you initiate a productive relationship, as opposed to simply throwing products and services at them.

Paid search marketing

Paid search advertising streamlines the process of getting your offering in front of your target market. Even though, unlike email marketing, it may require a significant investment, you can often maximize your results by fine-tuning your website or splash page. This way, you provide them with compelling content after the paid search service gets them to your site.

Both Google AdWords and Bing Ads can increase website traffic and make your company stand out when customers search for pertinent terms. The secret is to concentrate on long-tail keywords that are specific to your industry. This can provide the highest click-through and conversion rate for your campaign.

The best thing about PPC (pay per click) ads is that you may gain visitors without shelling out a lot of cash. Instead, a focused campaign with a $25 to $35 daily expenditure can bring in enough customers and qualified leads to give you traction with your target market.

With programmatic advertising, the system can automatically decide which ads to show someone based on where they are in your buying cycle. It adjusts the ads shown to ensure your messaging is equally effective for customers who are just thinking about your offering or those who are on the verge of making a commitment.


You can reward current clients by implementing a referral strategy. For instance, you can give them a discount, a freebie, or some other benefit for bringing in new clients.

Referred consumers are significantly more loyal and often spend more than regular, organic customers. Because they were recommended to you by someone they know, their personal investment in your offering is linked to their relationship with the person who referred them. As a result, you get to benefit from positive peer pressure.

Suppose you have a small cybersecurity company that offers managed security services for a monthly subscription. A few of your customers seem especially satisfied with your services. Here’s how to leverage their satisfaction into an effective referral program:

  1. Make a list of your most satisfied customers.
  2. Offer a month of free service for a certain number of referrals, such as three to five.
  3. Provide your customers with something they can quickly shoot over to people they think would be interested, such as a data sheet, features list, or compelling study.
  4. Regardless of whether or not the referrals result in an immediate sale, honor your side of the deal by giving them their free month of service.
  5. Keep track of the success of your program, analyze the results, then reevaluate your technique.
  6. When you get conversions, take a moment to identify which customer the referral came from and find a way to further reward them, perhaps with an additional free month or a free service upgrade.

Your goal is to get referrals without making your customers feel like they’re merely being used to generate more business. So be gracious with your appreciation but also put your money/rewards where your mouth is.

Organic web traffic

A professional-looking website is one of the most significant things you can build for your small business. Here, you will describe your company’s background, services, location, and methods for getting in touch with you.

Your website is a lot like physical real estate. You own it, and you can do whatever you want with it, making changes as often as you’d like. It also enables you to provide interesting content to traffic from advertising and other marketing initiatives.

In addition, when you incorporate programmatic advertising into your strategy, you can use it to ensure that your ad content appears on the screens of the specific clientele you want to target.

Your site is more than just a static digital billboard. By learning how to convert traffic and transform them into leads, you have the opportunity to turn it into a 24-hour salesperson.

Here are some best practices for website content:

Create blogs and organize them into categories for different types of buyers

A blog enables you to guide customers by emphasizing elements of your offering that may appeal to specific audiences. For example, if you provide business consulting services, you may target a few niche markets, such as technology, commercial construction, and the retail industry. Creating a series of articles that appeal to each niche makes your site a hub of useful information they can rely on.

Constantly refresh and add to your content

By refreshing your content and adding to it, you accomplish two objectives. You let search engines know you’re constantly upgrading your content, which can result in higher rankings, and you provide new, cutting-edge material that may be more interesting to your target market. This second benefit is particularly helpful if you’re using programmatic advertising because it ensures your target market gets a constant flow of fresh, relevant ads.

Also, if you incorporate keywords in your content, the bots that search engines use to check the internet will be more likely to surface your site when people search for those keywords. Over time, as you continue to add and update helpful, accurate content, your site can gain more authority, which results in it appearing even higher in results.

Advertising tips for small businesses

Using the strategies above, you can start or sharpen your advertising strategy. Regardless of the methods you choose to employ, here are some tips that can help you earn more customers:

Leverage testimonials

In all the content you present to customers, whether via email or links, include at least one positive user testimonial. This can help build trust in your brand.

Use data

Whether your data demonstrates the effectiveness of what you’re offering or you provide data regarding the number of customers you’ve served over a period of time, throw it in there. Many people trust data while making purchasing decisions.

Be a problem solver

Make sure all advertising copy focuses on solving customer problems. This means you don’t want to merely list out what makes your service or product special. Rather, your goal is to provide a tangible description of how it fills a need in your customers’ businesses or personal lives.

Ask questions and gather feedback

Engage with your audience frequently. Your customers are the best source of information, particularly when it comes to the needs that drive purchasing decisions. Whenever possible, connect with them by asking specific questions. Listen to the answers and save them so you can refer back for insights about what makes or breaks your marketing success or how to adjust your offering to meet their needs.

The tools you need to streamline your advertising efforts

One additional tip for making the most of your limited advertising budget is using software to streamline your ad campaigns and automate tasks for your marketing team.

Social media marketing tools, email marketing platforms, and campaign management software are just a few examples of software that can help you craft successful ad campaigns.

If you’re ready to start looking at advertising tools, check out these articles for more information:

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

About the Author

Adam Carpenter - Guest Contributor

Adam Carpenter - Guest Contributor

Adam Carpenter is a writer and creator specializing in tech, fintech, and marketing.

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