Most small business owners experience the same struggle every year come January. How to keep up marketing budgets when so much goes out at the end of every year both personally and business related.

Working a marketing plan with a tighter bottom line is entirely possible but often left on the sidelines until the second quarter of the year when there is more money to spread around. It doesn’t have to be left behind at all, we’ll help show you how!


Ages ago the world relied on trade to get what was needed, until money came into play – but it hasn’t completely replaced trade, and many small towns still encourage active trading among the community to help support local businesses, and to discourage tanking the economy based purely on actual cash transactions and the inability for smaller areas to keep business alive without a constant influx of cash.

A small business is able to trade services or items for something they need from another small business owner, but what stops people from reaching out or attempting is the fact that it feels as though it’s seldom done, or awkward in a world which doesn’t do it much anymore in many areas. There is no harm in asking, or offering goods or services in lieu of payment in cash during the first part of the year. The worst anyone can say is that they too, rely on the early year’s money to get by – and no harm is done.

When it works, it saves plenty of actual money which can be reinvested into marketing and ad-spend on digital channels.

Friends & Family

Small businesses also know what it’s like to be nearly invisible, especially at first. If nobody has heard of the company, it makes it difficult to grow. But how does a company advertise with such little money to work with, when digital options appear gargantuan?

Friends and family can help there, it just takes asking – often they’ll be happy to stand outside with someone else on a weekend with a sandwich board on, waving at cars. Or handing out flyers, pamphlets, or other material to boost the company brand.

They can help do many functions which are difficult to have paid early in the year to contracted, outside workers who cost far more – which saves the business plenty in the long run, even if that help comes only from January to April.

Organic Social Media

Using Social Media channels like Facebook, or YouTube, which are frequented by millions is another free and easy way to get marketing out there, but organic reach can often be a bit of an issue. Be sure to use clever tags, and keyword research for the most reach/engagement.

YouTube is a fantastic option especially if it has never been utilized prior – as many prefer to tune into a video rather than read a lengthy article. The company can offer tips, tricks, tutorials, or even a news blip via video, and they don’t even have to do it ‘live’ or have a face shown.

Feed the Beast

Social Media is the best way to get marketing out and the buzz going about a company or brand, and it’s hard to keep up with the relentless pace social media demands. This is especially true during the first quarter when the ad-spend typically spent hurts due to how much went out at the close of the year prior.

Since social media is free to post on, a company need not necessarily spend on every post to get traction in the new year, it’s better to continuously feed the savage social media beast content, whether boosted or not, simply to have a presence and activity which is reliable, significant, and worthwhile. Those three things do not rely on cash to be successful.

Be There

The best way forward with any marketing plan at the start of a new year is to be there, be present, be paying attention, and be ready to adapt as things change. This is easier when money is tight, because when money is plentiful near the end of a year or quarter – it requires less of a human presence, and can move nearly automatically through the motions. This makes it appear as though there is someone online all the time, and available for the client base, but gives back very little to the actual clients in terms of warmth and human connection.

Believe it or not, the power of shared humanity and connecting with another person in a world largely digitized and cold these days, is better than almost any amount of ad spend. There is no replacement for the human touch, even in a digital world.