Kick-Ass Low Cost Marketing for Small Business: the “Shotgun/LASER” Technique

In the quest to drive costs down and profits up, low cost marketing for small business is a must. About thirty years ago I discovered a principle that worked  with (uh, obviously) OFF-line advertising.. which translates to even greater results with marketing your small biz online.

I thought that you might appreciate knowing the dang near MAGICAL marketing principle that’s taken each of my side businesses from “Proven Concept” to a FULL-time income.

Effective Low Cost Marketing: The Shotgun/Laser Principle

Effective Low Cost Marketing (on a Shoestring!): The Shotgun/Laser Principle

So in today’s post I’m sharing a video I made for the Side Money Blueprint community that details the Shotgun/Laser technique.

Beside having a badass name, the Shotgun/Laser Principle can be used LOTS of ways… with online marketing, offline marketing… or even in a hybrid approach.

Most recently, I was able to use the principle to leverage info I got from some free online ads… into a wildly profitable direct mail campaign.

There’s no room for that ^ particular story in this short blog post… I wanted to get straight to the Shotgun/Laser Principle so YOU could start using it today.

But if you watch the video at the bottom of this post it goes into detail about how I took some free ads… used the intel gained from them to buy a highly specialized mailing list for under $6.00 TOTAL… and added hundreds of dollars daily profit to one of my campaigns.

Why Master this Principle of Low Cost Marketing for Small Business?

Lots of folks start small bizzes and make a little bit of actual money with them.

But not knowing this particular principle, they try and try… but never get to the mother lode of ENOUGH paying customers coming in with cheap enough ads… to really make a living.

In the Side Money Blueprint course, we get into all the details. But the general concept is enough to help most biz owners multiply their income.

So I’ll share the Shotgun/Laser Principle with you here and now…

Shotgun/Laser: the Low Cost Marketing One-Two PUNCH

Basically, the Shotgun/Laser technique is a two-step method.

First, we use a super cheap (or my FAVORITE variety of cheap: FREE!) ad that goes out to lots of people, to shake out just a few customers.

Low Cost Marketing Shotgun Approach

The “Shotgun” approach to advertising isn’t very efficient by itself. But the intel you get from that will show you where to focus your LASER.

High volume, low quality.
That’s the Shotgun.

Then, with the intel gained from that initial blast, you focus in on just the right kind of customer, with just the right kind of message.

Low Cost Marketing with laser focus

Once you know WHERE to point it, your Laser is much more effective

High quality, low volume.
That’s the Laser.

Most biz owners experiment with all kinds of advertising. The savvy ones measure the results and stick to what seems to be workign best, but there’s a better way.

Some biz owners use the “Shotgun Approach” by itself, putting out generalized campaigns designed to appeal to the largest number of people. Their ads are measured by the thousands in impressions.

Other biz owers use the “Laser Approach” all by itself… with one-to-one sales presentations and consultations. This has a higher percentage of closes, IF you’re in front of a qualified prospect.

What almost NO biz owner knows is that there’s a scientific way to virtually GUARANTEE yourself success… by properly

combining these two, very different approaches.

10X-ing the Results of Your Low Cost Marketing for Small Business

My first encounter with the Shotgun/Laser principle happened when I was nineteen years old, making a little side money with a lawn care business.

Marketing that biz was TEDIOUS, lemme tell you.

Because the pretty flyer my artsy friend put together was great at selling lawn care… but only if the prospective customer was a goodone.

By “good”, I mean that the homeowner was at the magical intersection of:

  • Loves a well-cared for lawn;
  • Doesn’t wanna care for it himSELF… and
  • Has the money to pay me.

If any of those qualities were missing, the flyer didn’t do a thing.

Effective Marketing on a Shoestring with Venn dynamics

My best friend Venn. The three-way intersection defining the ideal target client for lawn care. Click to embiggen.

I learned to stay away from neighborhoods that had really crappy lawns. If the folks there didn’t care about their lawns, I wasn’t going to convince them to start caring.

That left the neighborhoods with NICE lawns. But, funny thing…

No one left a sign out front saying, “A retiree lives here. I LOVE doing every single thing with my lawn myself.”

I also missed the signs saying, “I’d pay you to do my lawn for me, but we’re stretched a little thin. I don’t have the money to pay you. So I do everything myself.”

So the TEEEEEEEDIOUS method of going door to door was wearing on my partner and me.

Yes, we did shake down some bizness, but the going was slow. Seems that almost every door I knocked on, the answer was no.

Here was the problem: our flyer was a LASER. And a laser is a powerful tool, but not one that lights up everything… just the ONE thing you’re pointing it at. We could only hand one flyer to one customer at a time.

If that customer had any of the three qualities missing… loves his lawn, doesn’t have time, but does have money…

…it wouldn’t matter how good my flyer was, or how good of a pitch I gave.

We still wouldn’t get the sale.

SO here’s what we did instead of killing ourselves giving flyers to folks that didn’t want ‘em. I placed an ad in The Thrifty Nickel, a classifieds-only newspaper that went out all over Colorado Springs.

The "Shotgun" Blast isn't meant to be my ongoing advertising... just REVEAL where I should be aiming the Laser!

The “Shotgun” Blast isn’t meant to be our ongoing advertising… but we use it to REVEAL where we should be aiming the Laser!


We got some phone calls, but truth be told… it was kind of disappointing.

Only three customers.

Aaaand… we had spent about twenty bucks.

shotgun approach low cost marketing for small business

Shotgun Blast is seen all over the place, but only a few respond. THIS is where to aim the LASER

But then..!  We noticed something.

All three phone calls came from the same neighborhood… and two of them were on the very same STREET.

With the Thrifty Nickel Ad, we had found a neighborhood where people were more receptive to lawn care.


So while my partner did one lawn, I went and down the street with my flyers and scored seven(7) more jobs.


Steppers, do you see how combining these two advertising methods worked out here?

The Shotgun [by itself] saved us from bloody knuckles, knocking on doors all day long before we found the “right” neighborhood.

And the Laser [by itself] worked extremely well, but only if we happened to be in the right neighborhood.

We could have continued doing “okay” by using either method all by itself

But COMBINING the two methods ROCKED the HOUSE!

That very day, passing the flyer up and down the street we scored SEVEN jobs. And in the days to come we scored several more jobs in that area, by flyer and by referral as word started getting around.

It didn’t take a lot of paid advertising… because the paid advertising revealed where to go with the lower cost ads, our flyers.

In a nutshell, that’s the Shotgun/Laser technique I discovered with OFF-line advertising almost 30 years ago.

The More Low Cost Marketing for Small Business Changes, the More it Stays the Same

NOW using this principle is easier than ever with both online and offline marketing.

low cost small business marketing efficient and effective

The Shotgun/Laser Principle can multiply your bottom line results faster than ever before in today’s social media marketing dominated world

The “Shotguns” of days past were classified ads, radio and tv spots, carrier-route mail. They took days, sometimes weeks or more ( the effectiveness of yellow page ads were measure year to year).

But now… a “Shotgun approach” Craigslist post or Facebook ad takes minutes to put together and hours to get the results.

The “Laser” of a phone call or one-to-one presentation has been replaced by text messaging, private messages and webinars.

Stepper, would YOU like to get up to speed on this age-old marketing principle… and how to se it TODAY to multiply your bottom line income?

I teach classes on how to really kick tail with this idea, updated for the 21st century with social media, email, SEO, et cetera.

Kurt, Where’s that Low Cost Marketing for Small Business Video You Promised?

So you’re probably wondering about the “greater detail” in the video I mentioned at the beginning of this email. The one where I showed how some intel we got from the “Shotgun” approach led to me buying a super-targeted ‘snail-mail’ list for under $6.00… and added hundreds of dollars per day to my bottom line profits?

It’s pretty awesome. We do not one, but  three case studies of the Shotgun/Laser technique in action, each of which catapulted a small, side business into a respectable full-time income!

I was keeping this strictly for my Students in the Side Money Blueprint community, but decided the info was too good to keep to myself. SO here’s the video, 34 minutes in length.

If you watch it, my only request is that you set aside a half hour and watch the WHOLE thing, and also leave a comment and/or share it with a business owning friend that could use a shot in the arm. Here ya go:

This video is only one of the teachings from my class, Side Money Blueprint.

I developed the Side Money Blueprint for folks that don’t mind doing a little work… but are FRUSTRATED that their side business idea isn’t generating the income they know it could… if they could just find where all the great customers are hiding out!

The Shotgun/Laser principle is just one of the keys that thousands of business owners like you have used to take their “side hustle”… to a real income-replacing business.

low cost marketing for small business: the Side Money Blueprint

Low Cost Marketing for Small Business: The Side Money Blueprint can 10X YOUR Bottom Line

To register for the double-your-money-back guarantee class, click here.

If not, keep coming here for free general marketing principles and maybe I’ll win you over after you start making a pile of moolah!


Keep Stepping,



  1. Enjoyed your blog post, please add me to your email list. I need to mention, I looked everywhere to get on your email list… couldn’t find nadda, so I clicked on your email on the page bottom to ask to be included on your email list and again nadda, you email filled out everything but your email address. Maybe I’m a simpleton, but no way to contact you other than this comment or twitter. Just a heads up. Your telling folks to get on a list that is impossible to do? Paul

  2. I LOVED it, Kurt. It’s amazing what a little attention to details (like noticing the calls from the same neighborhood) could do, right?

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