It’s crunch time for holiday planning—are you ready? If you have been heads down on your business, it might surprise you to look at the calendar pages flying off the wall as we approach the last months of the year. If you haven’t put aside a certain amount of money to promote your business during this busy season, I’m here to help with some low-cost and no-cost marketing ideas.

How do you get the most out of your marketing dollar?

Marketing does not have to be expensive—you can start small. Below are some tips around how to get the most out of a tiny marketing budget, and still manage to grow your business.

Be responsive – answer inbound leads immediately

You can’t just spend money on advertising and then not answer your phone when customers ring. You need to be sure you’re responsive to your marketing—answer immediately. It’s not going to work if you don’t call prospects back for days or if they can’t ever reach you. With a quick response, you should be able to snag those jobs that your marketing drives to you.

Start small and invest your profits back into marketing

If all you have is $300, then start there. Let’s say that this $300 produces a customer. You should take the profit you get from that new customer and put it directly back into marketing. Keep putting the profit you make each month back into marketing and see how quickly marketing pays for itself.

Be strategic and analyze the effectiveness of each marketing source

You have to be strategic. Well-placed marketing is worth the investment because there’s a return. When you spend $1000 and get 3 or 4 customers who will use you for a year or longer, it pays for itself. You have to analyze each marketing source you spend money with— is it a weak source, driving low-value customers or none at all? Then cut that source and replace it with a proven source.

No money? Invest time instead

If you really can’t afford to spend money on marketing you can spend time instead. Sometimes you have more time than money… and sometimes you have neither but you find a way! Go door to door with flyers, spend time networking with local business groups, be active in your local Facebook and Nextdoor groups.

Other low cost or free marketing ideas

  • Email marketing is very cheap. It’s not free, but it’s inexpensive. Build your list and communicate to your subscribers with relevant information and offers.
  • Go to networking events and attend local events in your community, like local trade shows or festivals. Recently I had an employee attend a women’s networking event— we had our table and signage, which probably cost me $100—and had hundreds of people to come by and engage with my employee.
  • Build up your Facebook page and presence, and participate in Facebook groups by making recommendations for local restaurants and dialoguing with people on Facebook. It costs you nothing. When the time is right, talk about your service and get the word out organically through conversations you’re having in these groups.
  • Incentivize a friend to drum up business— give them $20 for each client they send you.
  • Partner affiliate relationships don’t cost you anything but a business card. Leave business cards at local nail salons and restaurants and tell them that for every client they refer, you’ll give the client a $50 gift card for nail treatment or dining out. The partner businesses will be thrilled to promote you because that means money back to them.


This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.