Marketing Without a Budget

Marketing, specifically the process of getting new customers, is not only difficult, it can seem darned near impossible for new businesses.

But I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s really difficult for established businesses, including large established businesses, too. The old maxim that “I know only 20 percent of my advertising works but I don’t know which 20 percent” is more often true than you would think.

It is essential that a new small business find some marketing that works. You need new customers – or you won’t have any customers. And you need them now.

When you’ve launched your initial marketing campaigns and the results are disappointing, the temptation is to “ramp it up” and spend whatever it takes to make it happen. Maybe try a new advertising campaign, or run ads with more frequency.

Instead, I suggest you first try putting your effort into every single low-cost, cheap marketing trick imaginable. Try some really creative, compelling, and fun ways to bring in business without spending a lot of money.

However, before you even consider which cheap marketing tricks to employ consider the bigger picture. Do you have a differentiated strategy that gives your marketing efforts a good chance of success? Do you have not only differentiated but good quality products or services?

What Is a USP and Why Do I Need One?

Next, either develop – or review if you already have one – a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This is a very important concept, for which I have a separate presentation. But to summarize it, a USP is a succinct, memorable message that identifies a unique benefit that is derived from using your product or service as opposed to that of a competitors.

An example of a USP from my first business, Bob’s Rent-A-Bike, was based directly of my core strategy: unlike the competition, which stationed bikes around the town, I delivered bicycles directly to the customers’ campsites, motels, or summer vacation homes. My USP was “Bike rentals, delivered free!” Short, sweet and powerful.

Leverage the Internet in Every Way Possible

One of the first places I’d go to ramp up cheap marketing tricks would be the Internet. Think long and hard about how you can totally leverage the Internet in every way possible. To some degree, the Internet is a great equalizer – it gives a tiny new start-up business instant access to every consumer in the world, including all of those consumers currently patronizing its competitors’ business.

Turn Your Website into a Selling Machine

I’d start close to home with my company’s website. Ask yourself: is my website doing all the work it can? Does it simply look nice, professional, and announce your products and services? Or does it really sell someone on the idea of using them?

Is your website designed to entice your potential customers? Does it show how your products or services are different from your competitors? Does it answer possible concerns or objections your customers might have to using your products or services?

Does your website have a compelling call-to-action? Is there a reason, such as a limited-time special offer, that compels your prospect to buy today? Turning your website into a “selling machine” is such an important topic that I have a separate presentation on it.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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