Let’s face it, companies large and small are always looking for more marketing and advertising efforts. The reasons holding you back are usually centered around a tight budget or a full schedule – or both right?!

I’ve been in both situations. As the creative services manager for a large credit union, the budget was more than adequate, but there never seemed to be enough time in the day. And now as someone consulting with small businesses, I come across tight budgets, but a willingness to put in whatever time is necessary. Here are some tips I’ve gleaned from both experiences:

Not enough money?

1. Grow relationships with current and previous customers

There’s an adage that goes “It’s more expensive to bring on a new customer than to cultivate an existing one.” When you have the time, but little money, revisit your client list to see who could use some personal attention. And often, a visit or a phone call just to see how their business is doing is plenty. You don’t need to hard sell them, just ask how they’re doing since you last saw them. Or if they made any news recently, congratulate them on their accomplishments. What we’ve seen is that friendly visit will often prompt them to discuss a project they’ve been pondering or an acquaintance they have who could use that visitor’s services.

2. increase your social media presence

First off, make sure you use the social media outlet which is right for your business. Then take some time to get used to how that outlet is being used, such as research your industry (as in follow others who do what you do), look to see if anyone is discussing your business and/or product, then starting building your presence based on what you’re seeing. Post some updates, tweet some thoughts, share articles from industry leaders and above all – be helpful! Save the product pitch for your website and in-store visits. Use social media to become a resource and create awareness.

3. Good old-fashioned networking

People have a tendency to buy from people they know. So the more they see your face, hear your name, the more likely they will trust you with their money. One of the best networking tips I’ve received is to treat those Chamber events and trade association meetings as a way to connect people to other people, not necessarily to you. When they see you are concerned about helping them with their immediate issue, they will remember you when they need your service.

Not enough time?

4. Hire freelance writers and designers

This is often the answer for getting more work completed more quickly, although, managing freelancers can be a time suck on its own. The trick is to bring the freelancer up to speed on your brand as quickly as possible. A style guide is a very helpful tool for doing this. This document outlines your brand’s colors, fonts and other guidelines. Find a freelancer you enjoy working with, who is quick and dependable so you can use them time and again. The more you use them, the less time you need to manage them (if they’re worth their salt, that is).

5. Bring in a marketing gun-for-hire

While similar to #1, this reminds us that it’s often a more general type of support we need. Maybe you have a market or target audience you have yet to reach. You can hire a marketing professional to run that project from research to planning to implementation. Maybe they work on-site for a limited time or they work remotely with frequent check-ins. The hired help is able to stay focused on the project and you don’t have to worry about benefits or long-term employment.

6. Reset priorities

If you find your list of projects and other demands is just getting longer, take a step back and examine what’s truly important. Remind yourself, your staff and even your executives of the larger goals, then make sure each project is clearly aligned with those goals. Look at the marketing and advertising channels which are taking most of your time. Make sure you’re getting value from that resource spend.

What tips can you add to this list? How are you able to take full advantage of your available resources?