Low-cost, small budget creative ways to advertise by Mafost Marketing

Creative Ways to Advertise Under $500



Blog Topic


Limited budget? No problem! Every small business owner (think real estate agent, landscaper, attorney) wrestles with the question: “How much should I spend on advertising?” But the good news is, even with a shoestring budget of just $16 a day (that’s under $500 a month!), you can achieve big results. This post unveils the secret: 5 creative ways to advertise that won’t break the bank.

[We’re expanding this list…soon to be 13 creative ways to advertise.]

Without any baseline data, it’s hard to know the ballpark budget for starting out in advertising. So, let’s begin with a basic ad budget of less than $500 per month.

That’s only $16 per day – a small ad budget.

By the end of this post, you’ll see that even with a small ad budget, you can achieve big results and gain more customers for your small business!

Facebook Ads for $6 Brand Growth

When starting out in advertising, almost 80% of new clients say their objective is to generate more sales. And yes, we want revenue.

But there are so many other objectives in Facebook ads (like these 6 Facebook ad objectives) that can help you get more customers.

With this advertising strategy, you can get started with a very limited budget – perfect for any startup or small business.

Need Pro Help? View or Pay Per Click Advertising Services >>

With a recent landscaping based in Virginia, USA, we launched a $6 per day brand growth campaign. The idea behind the campaign is to generate strong brand awareness that results in people Googling your brand name. Here’s how it works.

  1. How: Create a brand reach campaign using videos and images with text overlays.
  2. Budget: $6/day for 21 days = $126 total.
  3. Ad Methods: Test a variety of creative and copy for the first 7 days (4 days of learning + 3 days of confirmation). Then run the best ad combinations for 14 more days.
  4. Results: In our client example, the landscaping business saw a 34% growth in organic search traffic from people in the target location. This is a backdoor strategy for gaining acquiring new customers using a low-cost ad strategy.

A $75 Campaign to Reach over 10,000 People

This creative advertising strategy is straightforward and super low-cost. The purpose is to perform the initial research of your advertising creative while also expanding your brand visibility.

With limited ad budgets, you can achieve large reach on Facebook Ads. Using a reach campaign is a slightly advanced technique because it’s a backdoor strategy to achieving other business objectives.

Say you have 6 pictures that you want to use in a video for a traffic campaign. You can use a Facebook reach campaign with very small budget to test which image works best with your audience.

With did this exact strategy with a college financial aid company recently and achieved a reach of 10,000 people within 14 days for under $75! Here’s how this creative ad strategy works.

Before running Facebook Ads, it’s critical to understand the 6 ad objectives and how to leverage them based on your overall marketing strategy.
  1. How: Create a brand awareness campaign in Facebook Ads using the ad creative you want to test.
  2. Budget: $75 for the life of the campaign, 12-20 days.
  3. Ad Methods: Stick to one or two variations of the ad copy, text, and headlines. You can run this with or without a call to action button. Use a different ad set for each image. This gives better control than placing all images in the same ad set.
  4. Results: In our client’s campaign, we split the campaign into two parts. In part 1, we achieved a reach of 5,700 with only $10 ad spend. In part 2, we moved into traffic ads, spend the remaining $65 and gained an additional 5,000 reach.

Why two parts in this client’s campaign?

Because we determined the best creatives with only $10. There was no reason to run through the entire $75 budget.

Instead, we used the remaining $65 to leverage the best ad creatives in a traffic campaign achieving a second tier of objectives.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Creative Advertising Tactic, Build a Retargeting Audience

Ever browsed an online store and then seen those same products following you around the internet? That’s the power of retargeting! It allows you to strategically showcase your ads to people who have already interacted with your brand in some way. This could be visiting your website, watching a video, or downloading a brochure.

Note: This advertising tactic could require advanced help, consider the benefits of outsourcing advertising, even if it’s for just some of your campaigns.

In the image below, you’ll see a recent client of ours where we used this exact strategy paired with retargeting the ads. It resulted in 9 leads for high-priced pool construction projects.

Using Facebook Ads for video views is a great strategy when paired with a retargeting audience ad campaign. It's low-cost and highly effective.
Cost per video play $0.01; Reach 27,137; Amount Spent $70.82; Video Plays at 50% 16,669

The great thing is, it’s not as expensive as you might think! However, it does require a layered advertising strategy, which can be a bit complex.

  1. How: Imagine Carolina Pools, a local pool builder captivating potential customers with a stunning video showcasing their pool construction expertise. By creating a retargeting audience on Facebook based on those who watched the video ad, Carolina Pools can significantly increase brand recall and consideration.
  2. Budget: Recommended $10 minimum per day to get video views, $300 per month. This could be 2-3 times more in competitive industries. See Average CPC Costs Per Industry to find out how expensive ads are in your business.
  3. Ad Strategy: Building a Retargeting Audience: Facebook Ads Manager allows you to create custom audiences based on website traffic or video engagement. The ad manager then builds a custom audience on Meta Business Suite of those who watched a significant portion of the Carolina Pools video ad.
  4. Results and Next Steps: Now that Carolina Pools has an audience for retargeting, they can craft even more compelling Facebook ads specifically for this group.

These retargeting ads can showcase customer testimonials, highlight specific pool designs, or offer limited-time discounts. By staying at the forefront of potential customers’ minds, Carolina Pools can nudge them closer to making a purchase decision.

Generate Website Visitors and Preorders with this Creative Ad Idea (Offline, Local Strategy)

Speaking of creative advertising ideas, this one is not your typical strategy in 2024. It’s offline and focused on local results.

  1. How: Partner with a complementary business. For example the car wash might partner with the oil change company. Or a dry cleaners might partner with the donut shop next store.
  2. Budget: Total = Under $500. Less than $200 for professionally designed and printed flyers. About $125 for landing page on on your website (See landing page prices on Fiverr).
  3. Ad Methods: Local flyers at each business location. Word of mouth and possibly free social media reels and stories boosted for less than $50 to reach local area.
  4. Results: Expect daily traffic increases to your website, bolstering your overall local SEO, local ratings and reviews, and revenue increases.

This creative ad strategy for less than $500 needs an example. Here’s one similar to a local client of ours – Streamline Your Morning Routine with a Convenient Combo Deal.

Below is a prime example of great ad ideas used in local small budget marketing.

Example of Local Marketing for Less than $500

The local deli, Patricia’s has partnered with your favorite local coffee shop, Soul Freak Cafe, to offer a seamless solution for your breakfast and lunch needs.

Located at Soul Freak, flyers advertise a delicious combo featuring a breakfast offering from the coffee shop and a lunch special from Patricia’s Deli. Simply scan the QR code on the flyer to access a dedicated online ordering page, along with a coupon.

This user-friendly platform allows you to effortlessly secure a discount coupon for a coffee shop gift card (perfect for breakfast) and simultaneously place your order for the Patricia’s lunch special.

Why this Local Marketing Strategy is so Effective

By leveraging online ordering, customers can avoid lunchtime queues and enjoy a hassle-free, satisfying combo deal.

This collaboration fosters a win-win scenario for all parties involved. You benefit from a streamlined morning routine, the coffee shop enjoys increased customer loyalty and repeat business, and Patricia’s secures valuable lunch pre-orders.

Truly, this local ad strategy will take your small business advertising to the next level!

Free to Low-Cost Advertising, Reddit’s Secret Gold Mine

This next ad strategy is mostly free, but requires time and authenticity. It can be boosted with a small ad budget. When advertising on a budget, it’s important to balance the time-money equation as best as possible, and Reddit is a good place to start.

Reddit is free source of lead generation. In this image, you’ll see how I helped a fellow marketer who in turn became a lead for new business.

Imagine connecting directly with passionate coffee enthusiasts on r/coffee, dog lovers on r/aww, or fitness fanatics on r/fitness. By strategically engaging with these dedicated communities, you can build brand loyalty and reach a highly targeted audience.

  1. How: Engaging Content Creation. Craft informative text posts or insightful comments that address users’ questions and pain points. Share relevant articles, participate in discussions, and even host Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions to establish yourself as an authority figure. Remember, Redditors value authenticity, so avoid overly promotional content.
  2. Budget: This is a free marketing idea, but can be accelerate with low-cost ad budget.
  3. Ad Strategy: Reddit Ads (Optional): For a budget boost, consider Reddit Ads. These targeted ads allow you to reach specific subreddits with laser focus, maximizing your return on investment.
  4. Results: Expect brand engagement, backlink boosts to your SEO, and lead generation. However, even with a limited budget, organic engagement on Reddit can be incredibly powerful

Using Reddit is one of our unique marketing ideas that is quickly gaining ground in the mainstream.

Pizza mega-company, Little Ceasar’s recently discovered the power of Reddit. Chief Marketing Officer for the pizza company, Jeff Klein recently discussed his success on Reddit.

“Our engagement on Reddit, while just one aspect of this multimedia campaign, played a huge role in our ability to directly communicate with customers in a real-time authentic way,” said Klein.

Big Results on a Small Budget: Recap and Takeaways

Feeling overwhelmed by advertising options? Remember, even with a limited budget, you can achieve significant results with a touch of creativity! This post has explored a diverse range of creative ways to advertise, offering great ad ideas and advertising campaign ideas that won’t break the bank.

Here’s a quick recap of the benefits you can gain with a small business advertising budget:

  • Reach New Customers: From targeted social media ads to strategic offline flyers, low-cost marketing tactics allow you to connect with potential customers who haven’t yet discovered your brand.
  • Boost Brand Awareness: Engaging content, unique marketing ideas, and community participation on platforms like Reddit can significantly increase brand recognition and establish you as an authority figure in your niche.
  • Drive Website Traffic: Clever offline strategies and captivating online ads can generate a steady stream of website visitors, converting them into leads and ultimately, paying customers.
  • Track and Analyze Results: Many free and low-cost marketing platforms offer analytics tools, allowing you to track your campaign’s performance and optimize your strategies for maximum impact.
  • Test and Refine: Advertising on a budget provides the freedom to experiment with various techniques. You can test different approaches, analyze results, and refine your strategy for continuous improvement.

Remember, free advertising and creative low-cost advertising isn’t just a dream!

By leveraging the power of social media, community engagement, and strategic partnerships, you can significantly amplify your brand message without a hefty budget.

Here are my final thoughts and recommendations.

Ready to Take Your Marketing to the Next Level?

While this post has explored numerous creative strategies for advertising on a budget, the world of marketing offers even more possibilities.

Consider opening ad accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Google to further amplify your reach and target your ideal customer with laser focus.

Feeling overwhelmed by the options? Don’t hesitate to seek professional help!

Marketing agencies and consultants can provide invaluable expertise, crafting personalized advertising campaigns tailored to your specific goals and budget.

Remember, a small investment in professional guidance can lead to a significant return, accelerating your business growth and propelling you towards long-term success. So, take the plunge, unleash your creativity, and get ready to watch your business thrive!

See our Advertising Packages and Pricing >>


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *