How to Advertise on a Shoestring Budget – By Chase Nilson

I recently sat down with a friend of mine on one of my many Zoom meetings of the day.  He told me he had been reminiscing about his past travels through posting on his Travel Blog on Instagram. We both sighed in unison: it’s been too long since traveling was a “thing.” He went on to tell me he was discouraged by his lack of following. He uttered excuse upon excuse as to why he couldn’t do anything about it, namely because of his lack of funds. As he went on and on, I finally had to stop him.

“You can still advertise on a budget!” I exclaimed.

And I meant every word! If you’re like my friend and are overwhelmed with the anxiety of getting your small business out there during the pandemic, fear not. Yes, money may make advertising your small business easier, but it’s not everything. In fact, if you do not have the creativity or passion, you have nothing. So, if you have your creativity and passion ready to go at a moment’s notice, here are some of my tips to advertise on a shoestring budget. 

  • Authenticity is Key

My friend quickly got up from his chair to grab a paper and pen. “What do I need to change about my page?” he asked. I was struck by the question. Too often in social media, we resort to changing our posts, our goals, even ourselves in the hopes of garnering a significant following. The cliché phrase, “be yourself,” exists for a reason. What I’m getting at, is authenticity is key. And it’s priceless. True, you can implement new social media strategies, but sacrificing your authenticity is a huge “no.” When beginning your journey to advertising on a tight budget, always keep in mind that being your authentic self will always pay off. You enjoy using flowery word choice in your captions? Make them into the brightest floral arrangement imaginable. Truth is, changing who you are simply is not sustainable, and in my friend’s case, his travel blog would become more of a chore than a passion.

  • Create a Realistic Cadence

While my friend stood up to grab a pad and paper, I quickly went onto his Travel page to see what else he could be implementing. The cadence of his posting immediately popped out at me. Some days he was publishing 10 posts a day, whereas sometimes he went weeks without a post! This was problematic. You see, if you desire for your audience to engage with your product, adhering to a realistic cadence is critical. If you are posting your product every other day, then suddenly ten times per day, your audience will suddenly be inundated with content and will grow annoyed. Instead, stick to a rhythm that works for you. Perhaps, you devote a portion of your lunch hour, 5 times a week, to posting about your product. Maybe, you work up to posting once before work, and once after work. Whichever cadence you choose, stick to it! Your audience will become accustomed to your posting habits, and will appreciate the notifications alerting to your shared post!

  • Buy DBC Brand’s Hashtag Lists

Looking more in-depth on my friend’s posts, I noticed his habit of using the same 3 hashtags over and over. “I never know which hashtags to use,” my friend said. I understood this. At the beginning, hashtags can seem overwhelming. Before I began my work at a Social Media Marketing Agency in Chicago, the mere sight of a block of hashtags made my eyes glaze over. However, I learned very quickly that they’re there for a reason: to get noticed! To get better acquainted with hashtags to better advertise your product, do your research! In my friend’s scenario, start with keywords like “travel” or “explore” or “adventure” and see what hashtags populate and how often they’re used! Or, if you find yourself short on time and research bandwidth, check out DBC Brand’s hashtag lists! As a Top Creative Agency in Chicago, you can get access to dozens of hashtags for a miniscule fee! Curated by pros who know advertising and marketing, you will be well on your way to promoting your product.

  • Meme it Up in your Stories!

After my friend jotted down a few notes, he began to laugh to himself. Naturally curious, I asked what was so funny. He put his phone up to his camera to reveal a meme from our favorite TV show. “Focus!” was my first thought. But then, it clicked. Using memes in your Instagram stories is a great way to advertise… and it costs nothing! Think about it: how often are you sitting at your desk, working, and suddenly, you are overcome by the need to check Instagram and its many memes (*raises hand slowly*.) It’s okay! Memes are generated not only for humor, but they can do a number in product advertising! So, stop being so serious, and post those memes on your Instagram story! Your audience will enjoy the comedy, and, most importantly, will be brought to your product!

  • Hire DBC Brand to do the Work!

My friend’s pen dropped to the table, and he looked at me incredulously. “I’m trying to advertise on a shoestring budget here!” True, hiring a team costs money, but bear with me. Consider value: giving the work to a team of experts who advertise and market day in and day out has incredible value. They can lead your product to places never thought imaginable. DBC Brand not only has the know-how, they have affordable options for startups and those that are just getting their feet wet with marketing. In fact, with purchase of DBC Brand’s Bootstrapped Plan you’ll get a monthly content calendar, 4 hours of consultation, monthly analytics, and a social media blueprint for only $20/day. Just think about the new heights in which your product will go!

In Conclusion…

My friend’s face visibly softened with relief. Not only is advertising on a shoestring budget possible, it’s doable, too! Focus first on cementing your passion and creativity. Then, using authenticity as mortar, and posting cadence, hashtagging, and memes as bricks, you are well on your way to a successful advertising plan. The finishing touch? Hire DBC Brand! Your prior implementations will guide DBC’s expert team to bring your product to your goals and then some.