Online Advertising on a Budget for Small Business

As a small business owner, you need to get your name out there to reach and engage a dedicated audience. But investing in costly advertising might not be realistic. Here are recommendations to help you reach potential customers with a limited advertising budget.


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Search Engine Listings

One of the simplest yet most important steps you can take to ensure your business is getting the recognition it deserves is to keep track of your listings in online directories, like Google®, Yelp®, BBB®, Angie’s List®, and more.

A great place to start is Google My Business. Registering your company with up-to-date information will help it rank higher when potential customers search for related terms. Having a company profile can also allow you to collect reviews of your business that can help you build your online reputation.

Here’s an example of a Google My Business page for SmartBiz Loans:


Social Media

The next step is to grow a following on social media. The networks you’ll want to focus on will depend on your business type and target audience. Select a few platforms that you’d like to zero in on and invest the time needed to craft meaningful, engaging content. Here are some of the most popular ones to consider.


With an established audience on a huge network like Facebook, you have the opportunity to reach current and potential customers. Given that your content is unique and share-worthy, the Facebook tools can help you track how your posts are performing. Businesses especially in the retail, technology, or entertainment industries might find that Facebook is a great source of getting your message out.

Check us out on Facebook!


Public relations, talent management, and other client service agencies can really leverage platforms like Twitter to interact with customers in real time. Because tweets are quick and instant, providing customer support will help you build trust. Getting creative and taking advantage of how fast information spreads can lead to more recognition for your company.

Tweet us!


Instagram can be a perfect fit for businesses in the fashion and retail industries to show off the products and services they offer in a visually appealing feed. If you’re ready to join, make sure to create a business profile so you can add contact details, tag products, and have access to insights and analytics. Because an image or video is required for every post, it can help to plan your content in advance so you can publish consistently and keep your followers engaged.

Follow us on Instagram!


Video is a great way to create educational content in a slightly longer format, especially successful for media and e-learning firms. Uploading to YouTube can give you freedom to make creative decisions and choose what works best for your business. The combination of education and entertainment is a fail-safe when it comes to interesting content.

Watch our YouTube videos!


Reaching professionals through industry-related content can help you make important connections that can grow your small business. LinkedIn is also an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert within your field. Definitely consider creating a LinkedIn profile for your business if you offer professional, tech, or educational client services so you can contribute to the online conversation.

Connect with us on LinkedIn!


On this image-focused network, businesses offering a product can benefit by styling it in different ways. The more your pictures are “pinned,” the more users see them. Then, they can follow the link to your site to learn more. Look into creating a business profile on Pinterest if you’re in the retail, fashion, beauty, or food services industries so you can highlight what you do best.


A platform like Quora can really boost growth for companies specializing in consulting, such as law offices. Answering questions about topics that pertain to your business’s industry lets you build your reputation and engage with prospective clients. Provide unique insight into your field and gain the trust of users who can then follow through to learn more about what you offer.


Having a constant presence in online communities like Reddit can help you understand what your potential customers are interested in learning, so you can address those subjects and demonstrate your expertise both on the platform and on your own blog. A word of caution – any promotional post on Reddit will probably be taken down or attacked by other users. Reddit is not a good place to advertise but to gather information, especially if your business specializes in professional or educational services.



Blog Content

Launching a blog with unique, interesting, and innovative articles can help you develop a strong voice in your community. Driving traffic to your website can lead to more conversions if you plan strategically and incorporate calls to action (CTA). Good CTAs can include an option to subscribe, learn more or purchase your products and services. Once you’ve crafted a blog that you’re proud of, promote it on your social channels and spread the word to your connections so you can draw in more readers.

Check out the SmartBiz Small Business Blog!

Email Marketing

There are a variety of ways you can take advantage of email to reach new audiences. Get creative with a carefully formatted newsletter including text, graphics, photos, and even videos. Make sure that your content is clear, impactful, and informative, and that the visuals grab your readers’ attention.

Another essential step is to promote your business in your email signature. Even just including your logo and website will help your emails have a more authoritative and legitimate voice, and can also lead to more clicks.

Podcast Interviews

Once you’ve started building your industry presence, an option you can consider is being a guest on relevant podcasts so you can share your extensive knowledge in a more conversational setting. That way, you can delve into more detail and promote your business in an organic way, rather than through traditional promotion.

Listen to an interview with our CEO, Evan Singer, on the Lend Academy podcast!

For more online marketing resources and recommendations, head to our very own SmartBiz Small Business Blog. Learn about these topics and many more so that you can apply our detailed advice to your unique goals.