10 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Advertising a Small Business
There is no doubt about it – advertising can certainly be expensive. When you’re just starting your small business, you may not have thousands of dollars to spend on advertising space. Print advertising can be costly, and those glossy banners and billboards can cost you a lot of money that you may not have. So, the question remains: Where should you advertise a small business?
Here are some 10 great places to advertise a small business while on a budget:
Where to Advertise a Small Business Online
Number 1: Invest in Google AdWords
Let’s take a look at Google AdWords, the advertising service offered by Google. It allows small business owners like yourself to place search results for your website on a search engine results page (SERP) just by paying for them. With the help of this service, you do not have to wait around while your website slowly works its way organically up the ranks. By using this service, you can see results right away. Plus, it’s actually quite budget-friendly and easy to use.
This type of service is known as a paid search service, which is the term typically used to describe paid-for advertising within the listings of a search engine. These tend to show up at the top of a SERP, or even to the side. Google is constantly upgrading and reformatting their ads, so they look more and more like organic results. They stand out, however, because Google places a small yellow ‘Ad’ label on them.
How does it work? Basically, you pick some keywords that you believe a searcher would use on Google. Create the ad that you want to appear on the SERP based on those keywords. You set a price you are willing to pay for each click, and then you pay Google AdWords each time your ad is clicked. With it set up this way, you are able to work within your budget. Once your campaign goes live, ads will appear and you will get instant results, like visitor data. Not only will this result in you getting money right away, but you can also use the data to figure out how effective your keywords are and use them to create an effective SEO campaign.
Number 2: Use Facebook Ads
Many business owners have started using Facebook as a way to expand their reach. However, actually spending money on Facebook advertising may seem like an iffy situation. However, small business owners often have trouble getting measurable results on Facebook, and increasing those results can prove to be quite the challenge. So, how do you increase customer engagement on FB? How do you get more fans, and get them actually interact with your posts? By using Facebook ads!
One of the most effective ways to use this service is to turn a post into an ad in order to boost your engagement. Simply go to the advertising dashboard, select your page as the ad’s destination, choose “A specific post on [Your Page],” and then select one of your recent posts from the dropdown menu. You can also keep your costs down and get better results by opting to target “Only people who are fans of” your page. Since they are already fans of your page, they are more likely to care about what you have to say. Make sure your ad offers an obvious benefit, such as a solution to a problem.
Cut down your costs even more, while still increasing your conversions, by targeting those who are already your fans. If you have a fan base of one thousand people or more, you should try starting a campaign specifically targeting existing fans. Since FB charges less per click for these types of ads, you will spend less money for increasing engagement. One way to get more “likes” is to include a statement with such a call-to-action. One way is to include a statement like, “Click Like if. . .”
Number 3: Cultivate Bloggers
Find bloggers within your small business niche, and ask them to review your product on their blog. You can send them the product in exchange for an honest review. They will use your product, post pictures of it, and then review it. By giving them plenty of links to your website, YouTube videos, FB page, or other forms of social media, your business will reach a wider audience. Their followers will see the post and, should those followers choose to share it, so will other people. This can create a positive snowball effect that can truly make a difference for your business.
To keep your costs down, try to do this with more influential bloggers. The more followers they have, the more people will see your product and (with any luck) click the links to get to your website.
Number 4: Claim Local Listings on Google Places
Not only is it free to do, but it will also extend your audience reach. By putting yourself on the map, you make it easier for customers to locate you. These listings include driving directions to your business, hours of operation, phone numbers, and even a link to your website. Customers can leave you reviews and ratings, which will increase your reputation. It also makes it easier for customers to share your business with other people, since they can share and send the link to your listing.
Number 5: Take your Business to Craigslist
With everything from tutoring services to wholesale furniture, Craigslist is a valuable resource for online marketing. If you manufacture goods or can provide services, you should consider taking your business to Craigslist. You can easily promote a digital store, franchise operation, and more. Unless you are posting a job listing in Houston or a few other selected cities (This costs $25), or posting an ad for therapeutic services (This costs $10), the site is free to use. If you’re trying to find out where to advertise a small business on a budget, Craigslist is the place to go.
To begin with, you need to figure out which city or cities you want to target. If you provide services, you can go with available cities that encompass your region. Craigslist does have a set of rules that prevent spamming and over-posting, so be sure to follow the rules. With that in mind, develop unique ads for each city in which you plan to post. Focus on specific products or service attributes, and be sure to rotate them on a schedule. Be sure to never repeat the same ad within 48 hours, and delete the old ads as you go.
Be sure to include important search words, as well as regional identifiers (ZIP, city, etc.) This will make it easier for people searching for specific products or services to find your ads.
Search results on Craigslist are displayed by date first, and then by keyword. This means the actual content portion of your ad is extremely important, since there is no search algorithm to rely on. Ads with images get better results than those with it. It’s also easy to do, since the site includes an “Upload Image” function within the posting process.
Finally, you want to track your results. You can do this by e-mail, phone number, or just website referral. Craigslist does not provide you with demographic information or tracking data, so you’re on your own for that part. Once you have been using it for a while, you will find the strategy that works best for you and your business.
Where to Advertise a Small Business Offline
Number 1: Lend a Helping Hand
Donating products and volunteering your services is a great way to get people talking about your business. Let’s say you donate a bunch of cross-stitch patterns to a nursing home, or create the website for a local business. When others ask where these people got the patterns, or wonder who created the website, they will be referred to you. Not only does it cast you and your business in a positive light, but it also extends your audience reach and has the potential to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Number 2: Distribute Flyers
This may sound expensive, but there are ways to find to maximize your efforts while still adhering to a strict budget. Flyers are a great way to advertise your small business, which is why many companies use them extensively. Not only can they prove to be budget-friendly, but they also prove to be effective in reaching a larger audience. This cuts down on the time it takes to jumpstart your sales or promotions.
Instead of giving an advertising firm piles of your money, scour the web for free templates or free designs that you can modify to fit your needs. Canva is a fantastic resource for this! You can create, modify, and save a wide variety of designs and templates. Once your sales increase, and you have more money to spend on advertising, there are plenty of high-quality designers that will give you top-tier work for your money.
If you are looking to send out a massive amount of promotional flyers for sales or products, you would benefit from printing in bulk. Many websites offer discounts on bulk printing jobs, which proves cheaper than going through your local printing shop.
Number 3: Community Bulletin Boards
Many local shops have bulletin boards on which customers may pin their business cards, flyers, and other forms of printed advertisement. Print off a solid stack of flyers, and check out your local businesses. Starbucks is one such place that has a bulletin board in practically every establishment. Ask one of the baristas if you can post your flyer (and buy a drink!) on the bulletin board. This will cast a wider net in terms of audience reach, and has a strong likelihood of increasing customer engagement. This is also a great way to support your local businesses.
Number 4: Grocery Shopping Carts
Buying advertisement on grocery store shopping carts will get your message in front of a much larger – and varied – audience. Advertising space isn’t purchased through the stores, but rather by companies that specialize in marketing on shopping carts. The general consensus on MarketingProfs seems to be that the pay is around $55 each day, per store, for ads on about 35 carts. While this may sound expensive, it pays off when you consider how many people will be seeing these ads. If you have the budget for this, it has a high potential for paying off in the end.
Number 5: Stationary, Bumper Stickers, and the Like
Bumper stickers have been around for nearly as long as cars have, and they are as popular as ever. One of the great things about using them as a means of marketing is that they are rolling advertisements. This means they are not stuck in just one place but, rather, are taken a wide variety of places. This increases the number of people who will be seeing your ad/name/logo. Pique driver interest by making a small sticker that consists of just your business name, a catchy phrase, and number or link. This is one such time in which less truly is more.
Stationary works in the same way. Let’s say you’re out at a coffee shop (and may have just placed a flyer on the community board!), when someone needs to borrow a pen. Offer them one that has your business name, phone number, and URL on it. You may even want to include your slogan. At the very least, this means another person has seen your business profile. It does have the potential to be a way to start a conversation about your business, which may lead to you finding yourself another customer or client.
Use notepads, pens, sticky notes, and other such stationary as a way to advertise business.
These are just ten examples of where to advertise your small business on a budget. There are numerous ways to go about doing so, but these are ten of my favorites.
Find some other great ideas here:
What are some budget-friendly marketing ideas that you use to advertise your business? Tell me in the comments below!
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