How Would You Spend A $1000 Marketing Budget?

I always find it interesting to read responses to questions like these. As a small business owner, if you had $1000 and you could only spend it on marketing techniques (advertising, promotions, etc) how would you spend the money?

I actually find it quite difficult to answer that question since I don’t spend much money on marketing and never have I spent $1000 at once. I’m more inclined to spend a few dollars a day on Google AdWords. I’d have to enter new territory, perhaps looking into buying some ads in newsletters or sponsoring a competition to drum up some publicity.

I’m interested to hear your response – how would spend $1000 on marketing your business?


Yaro Starak is an Internet business and blogging expert. He runs the successful Internet business blog - and teaches about how to make money from blogging at

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  1. I will be very interested to see answeres to the question posed here. I’ll be launching a new business in the second half of this year and one of the things I’ve found hardest in the planning phase is deciding how much to allocate to marketing and promotion and how to allocate those resources.

    At the moment I have around $1000 per month allocated in the budget for marketing and promotion over the first year or so, but no solid idea on how I will spend it.

    Ideas I’ve considered are:
    – Heavy postering at universities (students are a big part of my target market).
    – Street press advertising (you can drop a grand on street press ads very quickly).
    – More generous affiliate deals with sites that I think will get me plenty of exposure to the right market.
    – Sponsoring a competition (I’m thinking of offering a laptop up as a prize for doing certian things).

    I’d be very interested to hear others’ suggestions and even more interested to hear how people have done in the past.

    It seems to me that to get a really good marketing campaign in place through a marketing company $10k is about the minimum spend.


  2. I think the affiliate promotions can be a fantastic method if done right because of the sheer scale in terms of number people you can reach if you find the top affiliates.

  3. Beyond adwords, you could consider non PPC (Pay Per Click) adverstising, such as Blogads, TextLinkAds, AdBrite and the like. These services let you put ads for a set duration (1 week and up) on sites of your choice. Depending on the traffic, size and positioning these will cost from $20 a month to several hundreds, per site. Low traffic sites, but with a very targeted audience won’t cost too much and should be a good investment.
    If you pick sites that attract people likely to be interested in your product or service, this is a good complement to AdWords.

  4. Hello Guys,

    Just a thought but set up a landing page and control ads with Adwords and give away an Ipod or something that would get customers to give you their information for marketing purposes… i am sure this has been tried before but depending on the business you are in it could really work to boost Word of Mouth. Just a thought

  5. Chris McMahon says:

    I’d probably buy a couple of really good mailing lists and spend the rest on postage.

    Can’t beat a good sales letter to boost sales

  6. I think I would have to focus it in the PPC realm in conjunction with cheap non PPC advertising mentioned by Pascal. Of course investing in an affiliate program is very tempting too. Can we make it $2000 🙂 This is a great question and something I think everyone struggles with because you can’t focus on just one technique.


  7. Well, I’d say it depends what kind of business are you in and at what phase of the business are you. There are online business in which $1000 for advertisement is breadcrums, you can spend them for a week on Google Adwords.

    You have to target your visitors; the best way in my opinion is to find quality weblogs and content websites related to your business (there are a lot of business blogs now out there) from where you’ll not only get a lot of traffic but most of this traffic will be targeted. Most of the weblogs charge between $20-$100 per month (it depends what kind of ad you want to put in).

    Let’s say you find 4 related blogs and each charge $50/month for a medium size banner. That will give you 5 months of quality traffic.

  8. Here’s the small town non-internet business perspective for my retail store in a college town. First, I’d like a better sign for my business. Second, I think I would consider some non-traditional promotions for the college market. Third, I’d look into direct mail and email.

    Just my thoughts. I realize they are far different that most of you, who work primarily in the internet and computer worlds.

  9. Hey Becky – it’s good to hear a retail shop owner’s perspective. I’ve never owned a business in retail and my perspective very much skews to online marketing so I’d like to hear more from offline business owners.

  10. Yep, hearing more from offline business owners on this topic (and others) would be great. I also agree entirely with Krasen, in that it entirely depends on the business. From my research so far it seems that if it’s correctly targeted, online advertising is likely to be far cheaper (and probably more cost effective) than offline advertising.

    The business I plan to launch this year is a retail business (which to begin with will be exclusively online). I still feel the need to do some offline advertising.


  11. Hi Yaro – this is a great question. Here’s my two cents…

    Firstly, $1000 isn’t a lot of money. Just like a prudent investor, you should never invest your marketing budget in only one or two untested areas.

    For example – direct mail. Let’s say you rent a list for $300 and mail 1000 letters. Turns out the list was as old as the hills and you get minimal response (I’ve seen this happen several times, even with good copy).

    Now you’ve blown your marketing budget!

    With a budget of this size, I would suggest spending no more than $200 on any one marketing activity, and also parlaying the resources of others to stretch your budget further.

    Host-beneficiary or Joint venture relationships with complementary businesses are an example of this. In many cases, you need hardly any money up front to aquire customers in this way.

    If you have a high converting site and you know what you’re doing, Google Adwords is also a great bet – it normally produces great ROI.

    PR is another option that doesn’t require a lot of ca$h and can work well, but again, you need to do it right to make it work.

    In general, I would advise against any “scattershot” marketing activities such as flyers or untargeted ads.

    Targeted marketing promotions invariably have a superior ROI.

  12. Good points Brooklyn – you’re probably right. Spend the money on methods to use your current clients as a marketing tool. Exceed their expectations and they will tell their friends.

    However that being said there are probably some new business owners here with no clients or maybe only one or two who may need to start from scratch so they would appreciate any other methods to market with a $1000 budget.

  13. Brooklyn says:

    I’m not a marketing expert, and I haven’t but this idea into full swing, but I think the best way to spend some the money is lunch and gas. Following up on the good leads you have, and really show your clients value. Your current clients are gold minds, ask them to tell people about you.

    Service and value are the best marketing tools you have on a budget.

  14. This is a great questions and I’m looking into this myself to get people to my website… I don’t have much to add right now but a suggestion.

    After you have read all these posts – don’t do any of them – use these ideas to develop your own type of marketing because what you will probably see here is what most people are doing – being unique will not last for long once it is seen but it will give you a head start and probably benefit you more in the end.

  15. Hi Jason – it’s certainly good advice to look for new ideas from other people’s methods. It’s important also to test what has worked for other people if you think it’s a good fit for your business.

  16. I’m coming into this topic late as I’ve just discovered your blog, but wanted to add my comments as well. I am a home-based service business and my market is primarily local rather than online. Here’s what is on my list:

    $150 – car/window decal done by a professional sign making company. I drive a lot and this exposure has proven to work in other businesses like mine.

    $0 – this only requires my time (a few hours at the library or on the computer) to build my own mailing list using addresses in specific neighborhoods, demographic sects and targeted areas locally. This is a better option for me than buying a mailing list because my personal touch allows me to know exactly who I’m sending which materials to.

    $400 – printing of targeted brochures, postcards, marketing materials or supplies for handmade promotional items for the mailing list I just created above. I have several different types of brochures based on the nature of each audience. (wedding, baby, travel, military, etc.)

    $200 – postage to mail those materials above (this will reach about 500 people – but I would rarely do a mailing this large all at once. My typical mailing is about 75 per week so these expenses are spread out over time.)

    $100 – printing of color posters or fliers to be displayed at prime locations where my target audience frequents (boutiques, high-end photo processors, professional office or medical buildings, etc.) Yes – this one requires some legwork but I’ve had good success with it so far.

    $100 – printing of postcard/coupons to be distributed to customers at my main partner locations and maybe a gift of some sort for those few business owners who help to promote my business. These are businesses where they have allowed my business cards to be displayed alongside theirs in their retail store.

    $0 – follow up, follow up, follow up. What’s that stat I read so much about… “80% of sales happen after the 8th follow up call” … or something like that. So all that effort I put into my mailing list and mailings, I still need to make those follow up calls in order for it to be worthwhile.

    So, just a little different perspective from someone who doesn’t rely on the Internet for sales. My business is a “touch and feel” type thing… my clients don’t know that they want to hire me until they can touch, feel and see samples of my work. Online photos don’t hold the same emotional involvement as my in-person marketing does.

    Pam Tremble
    Scrapbooks by Pam

  17. Hey Pam – quite a list you have there! Thanks for the different perspective though, I’m sure many appreciate the ideas you mention there.

  18. I would also include $79 on SEO Book or similar – Organic SEO can be done without hiring an expert, but you need to read the right information.

  19. The first thing I’d do is go back and take a close look at past customers. From this analysis build a demographic profile. From this profile you now have a target audience. Depending on whether you have a bricks and mortar store or are entirely on-line, you now want to discover where most of these people that fit that profile live, work etc. This information can be had from census reports.

    If you have a bricks and mortar store, you can get a map of your city and using past customer data, put a red dot on every address on this map. You will quickly begin to see clustering. This will help you to determine what are the hot spots for direct mail distribution or other direct strategies.

    With only $1K to spend you want to be sure you are hitting your optimum targets. Buying open lists do nothing to address yout actual target audience. If you discover in your demographic profile data that many of your customers are church goers or some other group activity you can then target more of the same, since people generally follow trends. If for instance that group is Christian in nature then perhaps target the largest Christian websites and congregations. With large congragations, offer a small percentage of each sale to them as a fundraising effort. If the churches are over 10,000 parishioners this could equal a substantial growth in sales. You may also be able to to deduct those % of sales as a donation (tax deduction) depending on how it is structured, but I’m no accountant).

    When you have very little money targeting is crutial.

  20. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this posting, I tried to follow the link to Drews Marketing Minute out of here, only to find that the link is malformed. I can fix that for myself, but you might want to address that for others.

  21. I agree. I don’t know how to fix it though so I think that he should inform us how to be able to be redirected to the links that he shared with us.

  22. Viewing this from the UK some techniques may differ I believe. Especialy in the case of industry, we have a couple of sites over here e.g. which are yellow pages that you guys may not see. Thats not a bad start, brochure and print dont suit every industry but I’d have to say cost effective pay per click and an email data list would be best. The best info is free. Learn SEO techniques and do it yourself.

  23. That’s US$, yes? So I would have about NZ$1500 to spend here in New Zealand. I would spend it all on SEO. Get a good SEO report and a link strategy then the rest is a bit of good advice and some spare time. Doing this would mean the money spent would bring in traffic for quite some time to come.

  24. I think I’d play the lottery and try to win $10,000. What can you do for marketing with $1,000 these days?