A little headline I saw on The Verge the other day (or the other year, actually):
Apple reportedly spent more than $100 million on the new U2 album
According to several reports Apple is spending at least $100 million to market the album, plus an undisclosed lump sum that goes to U2 as a direct payment. 
So the question of the day is:
“If Apple spends $100,000,000 on a campaign, how am I supposed to be able to market anything with just $100?!”
I hear you. That $100 certainly doesn’t sound like much in the great, big world of Grownup Marketers.
But let’s not get fooled here. Actual data shows that $100 is more than we think. For instance, one study done by BrightLocal and ChamberOfCommerce.com points out that 32 percent of small businesses [in fact] spend less than $100 a month on marketing. 
In other words, the huge marketing budgets of companies like Apple are not the norm, they’re the anomaly. For those of us NOT in the 1%, $100 is a perfectly acceptable amount of money to get us started.
That being said, this will only work if you spend it wisely.
So here are some of our brilliant ideas, or… 10 things that you can do right now to market your business with just $100.
1. Invest in Your Marketing Education
Here’s a no-brainer for you: The more you know about marketing, the less mistakes you’ll make. Especially during the trial and error process, when you’re experimenting with different tools and methods. Yes, we know. That’s obvious information, but the more you learn from this process, the less money you’ll end spending on mistakes in the future.
One thing to ponder is how you plan to go about acquiring your knowledge. Searching for reliable information on the web is a lot like drinking from a waterfall; it’s vast, it’s endless, and it’s just way too much all at once!
If you’re not careful, you’ll get consumed by information overload really fast.
To make this a bit easier on yourself, you can focus on just a handful of tested, reputable sources. Some of our favorites:
- Marketing course at Coursera (free).
- Business courses at Coursmos (some of their courses are free).
- Lynda.com and their excellent Business Courses & Training library (subscription-based; around $20 / month).
2. Experiment With Blogging
If you haven’t launched a blog yet – as part of your marketing efforts – then you are truly missing out.
Because guess what. Nearly 40 percent of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes (eMarketer data). And if that wasn’t enough, 82 percent of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog. 
So what are you waiting for?
Blogs are cheap to launch (WordPress is a free platform), and if you already have a website then you can probably add a blog component to it with no additional cost.
Blogging is an excellent, cheap, and easy way to connect with your audience and show them what you value and take the time to write about. It’s so easy that it always baffles us when we stumble across a company that doesn’t have one yet. Are you one of them?
3. Get Mobile-Friendly
These days, more people access the web from their phones (aka mobile devices) than they do from their desktops or laptops. And actually, more than 60 percent of all web traffic comes from mobile .
Keeping that metric in mind, what do you think happens when a user tries to access your website and it isn’t quite readable on their phone?
Honestly? The answer is that they leave. And they probably won’t be returning any time soon to see if you’ve fixed your site’s issues.
In most cases, it will require a hearty investment to turn your current website into an easily accessible, mobile-friendly gemstone. But don’t fret – every situation has at least one shortcut…
If your site already runs on WordPress, you can get a free plugin called WPtouch Mobile Plugin. It will make the site accessible on mobile with no effort on your part.
4. Do Your Market Research
Every minute invested in market research is a minute well spent.
Because market research is all about understanding your customer base, getting to know what they really need and how you can help them.
What this means is that if you skip past this part, it’s likely that no amount of investment will be able to save you later on. What you have to offer and what your customers actually want won’t be in sync, resulting in a business built in vain.
Now, there’s marketing on a budget and then there’s marketing RESEARCH on a budget…
And how does one do this? By narrowing the playing field. So, instead of researching the market…
Research the COMPETITION.
First, identify your main competitors. These can also be influencers and brands in your realm, reach, or genre. When we say ‘competitors’ we don’t mean your business’ rivals or enemies. (Though it would make sense to keep a close eye on those guys, as well…)
It may seem like a rather cutthroat or juvenile route to take but really, it’s just a form of research – and everyone’s doing it! There isn’t a single unethical thing about it. We’re a curious species and the internet has made it easy for us to peek in at each other.
Plus, by spying on your competition, you’ll avoid having to start all the way from square one. You can…
- Look into how they market their products.
- Discover who they market those products to.
- Find out what methods they use.
- See what you can do better. And so on.
You can use a number of tools for this. Here are 3 popular alternatives (and some of our favorites):
Yes, they all have a price tag. But each one of these tools offers a free trial. When your budget is small, free trials are where it’s at. So sign up, do as much research as you can in that window and then decide if it’s price is worth the benefits it’ll afford your business.
5. Market on Quora
Quora.com is currently, one of the web’s most popular places. It’s a Q&A site where anyone can answer any question, edit any answer, and of course, ask any question. It’s a great opportunity to meet and talk to people within an eclectic community.
Oh, and it’s free for everyone.
Market on a budget by…
- monitoring the categories and keywords that are important to your business.
- When someone asks a question that’s relevant to your business, provide them with an honest and helpful answer.
- At the end of your answer, include a link back to your site. Ouila!
6. Use Facebook: 2 Parts
There are countless ways in which you could use Facebook for marketing. But today let’s just focus on the following two:
Method #1: Use Facebook ads. (The obvious method.)
However, be careful. For example, if you decide to direct all of that $100 you started with to Facebook ads, you may only get around 500 clicks at $0.20 cost per click (which is one of the better CPC’s you can hope for when advertising on Facebook – according to The Facebook Ads Benchmark Report by Salesforce ).
To make that money back, you would have to be really good at converting incoming traffic and monetizing it on your website.
(Here’s another post of ours that will help you build a Facebook ad campaign that truly rocks.)
Method #2: Participate in groups.
Facebook groups are great for 2 reasons:
- There exist in troves and if you dig deep enough, you can find really engaging conversations. Why not join those discussions and give them some valuable insight?
- Every member of a group will see every single post published to that group on their News Feed. Whereas with Facebook Pages, your fans will only see about 5-10 percent of what you publish. 
7. Get advice from a mentor
Probably the best way to become better at anything is by learning from people who have already achieved what you are striving to achieve. And there’s no better way to do that than by talking with those people directly.
Clarity.fm is a site that makes this possible by giving access to on-demand business advice from successful entrepreneurs. Check it out and see what it’s all about. You may feel starstruck at first but it’ll be worth it, we promise.
8. Get small marketing tasks done via Fiverr
Fiverr is a marketplace where freelancers sell their services at the flat, low rate of $5 a pop.
Their online marketing category is brimming with interesting offers and bargains. However, you do need to be careful about what you get. For instance, investing in a $5 link building service could do more harm than good for your business.
Because every offer is priced is so unbelievably low, it’s easy to get carried away. Bargains are great but quality work should be at the forefront. So think before you buy and make sure it’s something you actually need for your marketing campaign.
Here are a couple of services you should probably avoid purchasing on fiverr:
- Gigs promising you social media followers. (Fake friends are bad karma – especially if they only cost 5 bucks per thousand…)
- Social media shares or article visits. (Buying shares, likes, and visits is creepy. If you want customers to trust you, be honest from the start.)
- Backlink building. (Just trust us on this one.)
- Anything that looks impossible to get done for $5. (Because it probably is and we’d hate for you to get swindled into wasting any of that $100 you started with.)
9. Create your Google My Business listing
If you ever wondered why some businesses are listed prominently on Google (by address, with their phone numbers, Google Maps locations and so on) while yours isn’t, we have your answer.
Google My Business puts your business information on the search engine pages, in maps, and on Google+.
So sign up and put your business on the map as soon as you know what the address and phone number will be. Get out there!
10. Join a meetup (or better yet, several)
Meeting other like-minded people is an excellent way to network, exchange ideas, and maybe even do something great together. Partnerships are often one of your main business assets and something that will benefit you for years to come. Even today, when everything (including marketing) is digital.
Take a gander at Meetup.com and see if there are any events near you that pique your interest. Of course, by interest we mean things that are related to your niche and your business. At least for now…
At the start of this post, $100 seemed quite piddly, didn’t it? But we’ve shown you the efforts it takes to turn that molehill into its own goldmine. It may not land you a U2-scale campaign, but it’s certainly a budget most of us can handle.
Plus, think of the learning experience this will undoubtedly be. By limiting yourself to a small budget, you’re forced to make clear-headed decisions and maintain a coherent strategy. It gives you the chance to see what works for your business and what doesn’t.
When marketing on a budget, one hundred dollars is a healthy, noble place to start. Use it wisely and watch the benefits pour in. Once it runs out, you can ramp up your investment and continue onto the next step in your awesome business plan.