If you’re starting a fresh business, you’re probably wondering the best way to promote it. Most marketing costs money. At the same time, running out of cash is ranked the #2 reason why start-ups fail in an analysis by CBInsights. Even if you have a lot of capital, you don’t want to throw your money away. To find success, you need to spend on the promotion you need.

Overspending on flashy business cards and expensive radio ads might not be the best or most economical way to reach your customers.

To find out what you should spend small business marketing money on, you need to:

  • Know how to reach your customers
  • Find out the cost of acquiring a customer
  • Test the market to see if you’re right

In the early stages of your venture, you might be able to promote for nothing or at a low cost through free resources like social media and online forums. However, if no one knows your name, you’re going to need to get it out there somehow.

Find Out How to Reach Your Customers

Small business marketing can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. For an entrepreneur with limited resources, every dollar counts. To get customers, you need to know what types of promotion to use. Today, there are many free and low-cost resources to help you get off the ground.

Are your customers on Facebook? Having your own business page costs nothing and gives you a place to establish an online presence. Similarly, you can build a website and promote on Google for a relatively low cost depending on your market and method. Are your customers more traditional? Try door hangers and deliver them yourself or have one of your partners do it to save money.

When promoting your business, don’t go for the most expensive options at launch. Be mindful. As your enterprise grows, you can explore new ways to promote. Your priority is getting customers and providing them with a service or product of value.

It doesn’t matter if the promotion is “ugly” or lackluster if it works.

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Identify a Key Performance Indicator like CAC

Every new business needs a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to measure success in small business marketing. One popular KPI is Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). In short, the CAC tells you how much it costs to acquire a customer. Once you know this number, you can use it to avoid spending more than your business makes. There are many resources online to help you identify your CAC, but the gist is that you need to divide the total cost you spend to get a customer by how many customers you get within a time frame.

What you discover may mean it’s best to turn down fancy marketing products. However, it’s not where your focus should be as a new business. What’s important is having a solid product or service and getting customers.

Test the Market

By now, you know how you want to advertise and how much you should spend. Great! There’s one more thing to remember: test the market. Before you go all out on an idea that doesn’t work out as you expect, choose a sample area. See how your advertising works within this area. If you’re getting results, continue to the next area. If not, change something and try again. Finding out what works early on is invaluable as your business continues to grow. It’ll also help you stay on track and spend on advertising that works.


When advertising a new business, it’s important to ensure you have a product or service of value first and foremost. After this, it’s about getting the benefits in front of your customers through free and low-cost advertising solutions. Whatever you choose should work with your KPI and budget.

Need Assistance Advertising Your New Business?

Center City Print offers a wide range of products and services to help small businesses grow, especially in the realm of small business marketing. From door hangers and postcards to trade shows, we’re here to help at every stage of your business. Call or visit us today for what you need to get your business going.