This article is written by Wendy J. Meyeroff, a writer and member of Jottful Community. Wendy is a professional storyteller in health and technology, with a speciality in the senior market. She’s also the author of the ebook, Web 1.0.

Think of the last time you flipped quickly away from a TV commercial because you hated it. A lot of people spent tons of time—and money—developing and approving that ad, yet it still isn’t appealing.

The lesson? Money isn’t the key to successful marketing. You don’t have to deplete your bank vault to fund your marketing; at most, you’ll need your piggy bank.

I’ve discovered that almost every client, no matter the size, complains about their “tight” budget. 

Here are seven rules you can apply to market your business affordably.

Rule #1: Create your own image

Brand yourself, with logos, fonts, designs, etc.…and make sure all will transfer well when your website sports the same design. 

Rule #2: Look professional

No, I don’t mean the way you’re dressed (though that doesn’t hurt when you’re networking). I mean the image you project through your promotional tools. Start with your business card. 

With options from templates on Word to services like Vistaprint, anyone’s business card can project a professional image. Make sure it’s on good stock and does not have a glossy front and back. (Pen smudges off glossy stock, so folks can’t make notes on where they met you!) 

Rule #3: Nail the basics on your website

Make sure your website looks clean, with solid content. Skip the fancy tech and focus on marketing basics.

Rule #4: Get help! 

Admit when you can’t do your own graphic or web design, or spend hours blogging. Jottful Community is a great resource for finding professionals who can help.

Rule #5: Realize how newsworthy you are

You probably do something that could be considered newsworthy more often than you realize. Here are just a few attributes that can make you newsworthy for different media outlets:

  • Location: Local media prefer to run stories about local businesses. 
  • Demographics: Some media outlets specifically communicate stories by religion, ethnicity, gender, age and other such characteristics. 
  • Educational affiliation: What college did you go to? Med school? Grad school? Do any of these institutions’ alumni associations publish a newsletter? 

Rule #6: Make your own news

Don’t simply wait to have news. MAKE news. You can do this simply by creating and hosting an educational event.

Rule #7: Use social media

You’ve created stories, classes, and events. Now, promote your news on social media!

There are a host of other options for marketing on a tight budget, including speeches, newsletters, radio shows, chat groups, and more. Some will be more viable for your specific needs than others, but I trust these will give you inspiration. Whatever you do, honestly determine what you can handle yourself and where you need help.