How To Launch A Successful Marketing Campaign for Less Than $1,000

April 28, 2013

Small businesses know you have to invest money to make money, and it’s often repeated that we know half of our marketing works – we just don’t know which half. While I would argue that the latter statement is due to a lack of tracking mechanisms, the greater issue here is that small businesses and startups can face tight budgets that make any marketing prohibitive. In order to achieve success and grow, they must make the right marketing moves and maximize their returns on investment. It’s critical to business survival. Thus, operating on the notion that even the most cash-strapped small businesses can afford to invest $1,000 in their future, I present three different ways you can launch a successful marketing campaign for less than $1,000. 1.  Direct-mail postcards = $940 Postcard printing is cheap, especially when you take advantage of the high-discount (as much as 60 percent off) deals commonly found on PsPrint. Postage is what’s expensive, but that doesn’t make it prohibitive. The key is to start small and build. For example, you can print and mail 2,000 postcards for under $1,000. While 2,000 postcards isn’t a huge postcard marketing campaign, it is enough to realize a worthwhile return. Let’s say, for example, you make $50 per sale, and you invest $1,000 to mail postcards to 2,000 people who fit your target demographic. Your postcards net a 3 percent response rate, so you generate 60 sales from your campaign. Thus, your net is $3,000 for a profit of $2,000. Here’s the breakdown:

2,000 4-inch by 6-inch postcards printed on 14-point gloss CS2 at a 60 percent discount = $70


Mailing list to five-digit zip code = $50


U.S.P.S. First Class = $820



2.  Posters, flyers and banners = $930 Posters, flyers and banners are all great ways to reach a mass audience for a low investment, and they’re even more powerful when used together for a given campaign. When you incorporate all three into a mass marketing campaign, the repetition they offer in different mediums is more memorable to customers. A good campaign for a small business targeting residents of a small city or district might involve a vinyl banner placed at the busiest intersection, 250 posters strategically placed where your target customer base will see them, and 2,500 flyers to blanket the area with your message. You can deploy this exact campaign for less than $1,000. Here’s the breakdown:

1 3-foot by 5-foot vinyl banner printed on 13 oz. white matte vinyl with pole pockets = $100


250 12.25-inch by 17.25-inch posters printed on 100 lb. gloss text at 50 percent discount = $200


2,500 8.5-inch by 11-inch flyers printed on 14 lb. gloss cover = $630



3.  Door hangers = $900 Door hangers have all the power of postcards – cheap to print, impossible to ignore – but you trade off the convenience of direct-mail delivery for manual distribution. You could print around 20,000 door hangers for under $1,000, but you’d still need someone to put them one all the door handles. That’s why I suggest printing 4,000 door hangers, and hiring a team of low-cost employees to help. High school and college students are perfect candidates. You can print 4,000 door hangers for around $300, leaving up to $700 for wages – more than enough needed to pay 10 people $10/hour for the four or five hours it will take to distribute the door hangers. Here’s the breakdown:

4,000 3.5-inch by 8.5-inch door hangers = $300


Distribution = $600



Don’t be afraid to be creative and frugal with your small business marketing campaigns. Each of the three strategies mentioned here should yield a good return on investment, provided you also have a compelling pitch. As you learn which strategies yield the best return, you can begin investing some of your profit into larger campaigns with predictable returns. Start small and build your business, beginning with a strategic $1,000 investment.

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.