Succeeding With A $0 Marketing Budget — Here’s How!

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What do you and Elon Musk share in common? It may surprise you, but you and the Tesla Motors CEO may share the same advertising budget.

The United States is the largest advertising market in the world, with ad spending amounting to over over $296,000,000,000 in 2021. Today, digital experts estimate that the average American is exposed to between 4,000-10,000 thousand ads in a single day.

The mirror exposure effect describes our tendency to develop preferences for things simply because we are familiar with them. In many cases, we don’t even need to be aware of the exposure in order for it to have an effect on our subconscious. In fact, the mirror exposure effect happens subliminally on a subconscious level the majority of the time, and researchers have found that this is more effective.

How Does this Draw Attention to a Brand?
  1. It reduces uncertainty. We are less certain about things when we are unfamiliar with them. Evolutionarily speaking, uncertainty can result in danger, and danger can result in death, so as we see something repeatedly without noticing bad consequences, we are led to believe it is safe.
  2. It makes understanding and interpreting easier. We are better able to understand things and interpret them better in perpetual fluency. Our mind looks to the path of least resistance, thus we prefer stimuli to which we have already been exposed. We naturally gravitate towards things that are easier to process, and one of the most powerful uses of the mirror exposure effect is in advertising.

Consumers are bombarded by advertisements and brand placements everyday — and although the consumer may not have even learned anything new or substantive about the brand — the mere exposure results in the consumer growing to trust the brand over time.

Back in the 1930, the movie industry marketers discovered what they identified as the marketing rule of seven; that a potential customer must see a message at least seven times before they were provoked to take any action. But in the digital age, how many exposures are needed to influence buyers?

While there isn’t concrete data available on this, researchers estimate that up to 26 exposures are now needed to effectively communicate the brand’s message to consumers. But how is a small business supposed to stand out from brands that have a larger advertising budget than yours? The answer is through emotional connections.

It’s a fact that storytellers make emotional connections, and you can’t create the same level of emotional connection with an interrupting advertisement. Instead, focus on developing your voice as a brand. Keeping a consistent brand message — as well as making sure that that message authentically speaks to your consumers — is worth its weight in gold.

But what about those of you that do not have an advertising budget or do not want to have an advertising budget? Do you have to pay in order to get your ads, your brand, and your message in front of your consumers?

Marketing Your Brand for $0

In today’s day and age, it is easier than ever to market your business with $0 paid advertising. Yes, careful paid advertising can be well worth the investment, but what about those who have no marketing budget?

Let’s look to a well known example that spends $0 in advertising. This company has become the most valuable car company in the United States and is one of the most sought after brands. The most surprising thing here is that the company has a $0 budget for advertising — that brand is Tesla Motors.

You may not be seeking to become the next Elon Musk, but how can we apply the principles of repeat exposure and integrate them with their principle of $0 advertising budget? Get in front of your viewers frequently. Develop and share a consistent brand that can be felt across the board — don’t simply repeat the same sales pitch. Use storytelling, unique perspectives and your brand’s core stories to pique interest and emotion from your consumers. Show up personally and allow consumers to understand the personal side of your brand. Become the go to source for a specific idea, niche or specialty. How can you target a very specific audience so that audience sees you as an authority in your niche?

Lastly, how can you build a strong community of followers who are satisfied customers who want to buy from you and advertise for you?Taking these principles in mind, you must then get your brand in front of consumers. Choose the best social media platforms that you are able to maintain consistently. Do not try to be everywhere at once; choose several platforms that you can consistently to get your brand story out there, and create a niche for yourself. Make sure that you are getting in front of your consumers with authentic exposures to help them recognize your brand.

What to learn more about how to succeed without an advertising budget? Watch the video here!


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