With all the expenses of running a small business, advertising usually falls close to the bottom of the list. The old adage “you have to spend money to make money” is true, but you don’t’ have to spend thousands to get your name out there. Here are five ways to kick-start your advertising campaign without spending a fortune.
Millions of people log into Facebook every day, and use this platform for email, chatting, uploading and sharing photos and many other day-to-day tasks. With a wide and diverse audience who are wholly devoted to this channel, Facebook can be a very affordable way to step into online advertising. Facebook lets you target your audience – down to the demographic and interests – so you’re spending your advertising money wisely. It may not be the cheapest advertising, but has a much better CPM than traditional advertising, and is cheaper than search engine keywords. Facebook ads are great for small businesses which are strong in social media. If you have a blog, you should be looking for opportunities to guest post on other blogs that focus on similar target markets or that are in your target location. Guest posting benefits are two-fold: you can be seen by an entirely new audience who are nearby and already want to buy your product or use your services; and you can build relationships with other business, increasing the potential for referral business in the long run. Look for other websites that are actively seeking guest posters, but don’t’ count out other small businesses that don’t advertise guest posting opportunities. They may be looking for the same thing you are. Offer them a chance to “swap blogs” for the day (albeit on different days so you’re not splitting your audience) and make sure to promote their post – although this might seem like a bad idea, the symbiotic nature of social media can bring back business to you. You may not be able to put on the event of the century with your small businesses’ tiny budget, but events can be a great way to bring some fun into your business while bringing in new customers. Ask other small businesses in your industry or in related industries to partner for a larger event, each contributing to the cost. For instance, if your small business is a jewelry company, partner with a florist and dress shop for a mini “wedding expo”. A chiropractic office might partner with a massage therapist and spa company for a “health and wellness” event. Start with business partners or your local Chamber of Commerce to find other small business owners who might be interested in an out-of-the-box marketing event on a budget. Television, magazines, newspapers – sounds expensive, huh? It’s actually not as pricy as you may think. Many newspapers, magazines and cable companies work hard to sell their products, but may come up short in revenue. There are lots of deals out there in traditional advertising, from crawls, sponsored ads and co-opted spots on cable to banners and special sections in newspapers and magazines. Call your local newspaper or Cable Company and express interest in affordable advertising. Set a budget for your buying and tell your representative that’s your budget for the year. Many media companies will create package deals that include great rates and value added spots or ads for signing a yearly contract. Many also offer online advertising as part of their package. Special sections in the newspaper and niche local magazines are also great options for targeting a specific market.
When you dig a pen out of your drawer or from the bottom of a bag, nine times out of 10 it has the name and logo of a company printed on the side. Wouldn’t you want your logo there? Specialty item companies are all over the internet, and with advances in technology, printing, producing and shipping them is more affordable than ever before. The key is to choose an item that will stick around and be highly usable – like a pen or small flashlight keychain. Give away your specialty items at events, with orders or as a thank you to new customers, who will use them while promoting your company.