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Chris Graham: Three ways to stretch a small business marketing budget

chris graham small businessYour small business didn’t have money for a splashy Super Bowl ad. Bummer!

Actually, you’re better off even if you have the money not to spend it all in one place. The traditional approach to advertising – just throwing money at it and hoping it works – really never made sense.

But that is especially true now, with the multiplicity of advertising opportunities available.

So what you’re telling me, Chris, is that I don’t have any more money to spend, and I have a lot more ways to spend it. Thanks for the help.

That’s part of what I’m telling you. The takeaway should be: you just need to be smarter.

And here’s how …


1. Facebook Live

I’m a professional broadcaster, whatever that means, so it’s easy for me to punch up Facebook Live, talk about something and get people to pay attention to my brand.

Guess what? It’s no easier for me than it is for you.

Go to your page, type up a quick description, and tell people what you’re up to. Highlight a new product, a service, a new employee.

You’re engaging your audience, and showing who you are and what you do.

People want to do business with real people, and this helps big time.


2. You’ve got a website, so use it

A business website is not meant to be static. If you don’t update it, you’re dead to Google and its all-important search algorithms.

So … update! See above: new products, services, employees, or just make whatever it is seem new to have an excuse.

The dirty little secret to good Google SEO is: content.

It’s not a matter of you’ve built it, so now they’ll come. Gotta give folks a reason to see what you’re doing.


3. Get smart with your phone

Photos do well on Facebook and of course Instagram in terms of getting attention on social media. So do videos, the shorter, the better.

Neither have to necessarily be professional-quality, but it does help to pay attention to detail, to put the best face on your business as possible.

Your smartphone is your friend here. In the not-too-distant past, I invested thousands of dollars into cameras to shoot photos and video for clients that are maybe at the most 15-20 percent better in quality than I can shoot with my phone now.

Which is to say, yep, the phone is more than something to use for calls, texting and games. Put it to work!

Chris Graham is the president of Augusta Free Press LLC. AFP has built more than 800 websites for clients across the United States, and actively manages cross-platform marketing campaigns including web, print, social media and audio/visual for more than a dozen local Virginia companies. More online at

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