Are you looking for affordable small business advertising ideas? If not, then you should be – there are always intelligent and cost-effective ways to advertise. But can a small-sized business get its message across in a world that has so much advertising spam and clutter? Big companies seemingly dominate when it comes to messaging. However, there are still numerous free and low-cost methods for promoting a small business. All it takes is some imagination and hustling, and you can achieve fantastic results from affordable small business advertising.
9 Affordable Small Business Advertising Ideas
1. Get Covered for Free
There’s nothing cheaper than “free.” Therefore, one of the best ways to advertise your business is through “earned media” – aka “publicity” or “covered in the media.” This method is about getting local media, business bloggers, and news media to do stories about your business. While there isn’t really a straightforward way to make this happen (you can’t just say to them, “please come write about my business!”), you can make it happen using some subtlety and creativity.
It starts with finding a news angle that a key story from your business could fit into. For instance, let’s say that the holidays are coming soon. You could offer to appear as a guest expert who explains how small businesses are preparing for the new holiday shopping season. Another way to get free coverage is to capitalize fully on your business successes. Write up a press release covering one of your latest success stories and send it to your local news reporters or journalists who cover your industry.
2. Direct Mail
Here at Coffee News, we’re big fans of print advertising methods, and direct mail fits nicely here as an affordable advertising method.
According to recent research from the Direct Mail Association, direct mail gets a higher response rate at 4.4 percent than email does at just 0.12 percent. Furthermore, direct mail marketing cost at $51.40 per order/lead is less than that of email at $55.25 and PPC at $52.58.
As you can see, this tried and true method of advertising can still achieve significant results in this digital marketing era. The best part is that it can always be cost-effective. Just consider the fact that these days, most people’s email inboxes are more cluttered than their actual mailboxes outside! Consequently, these people may respond better to a direct mail letter, brochure, or postcard rather than just another email advertisement.
3. Put Your Business Information in Clever Places
Some people can get overwhelmed with the number of business cards they receive and toss them out. So, including your business information outside of a coffee mug, for example, will ensure that your potential customers frequently see your name.
4. Thank-You Cards
Another great and inexpensive way to use print advertising is to send thank-you notes to your favorite clients. It’s well worth spending a bit of money to create some printed postcards or color-filled photo cards that include your photograph, business logo, or other photos from your business. That way, your thank you notes will be personalized and let people know that you are a real person they’re buying from, which will help them connect with you on a human level. This strategy is also great for creating brand loyalty!
5. Customer Loyalty Programs
And speaking of loyalty, there are plenty of sophisticated online tools that offer inexpensive customer loyalty tracking programs to help you reward deserving customers. You may wonder if it’s worth the effort. It’s absolutely worth it, especially considering that existing customers are usually a great source of repeat business that is often more efficient than trying to get brand new customers.
After you’ve built up a solid relationship with one of your customer’s you can further capitalize on this by getting them to refer/send new customers your way. You can do a referral program in whatever way you’d like. Whether it’s informal and on an as-needed basis, or with exact targeting and scheduling.
Whichever approach you choose, be sure to put enough thought and time into it and be mindful of how you approach your customers. You don’t want to just approach anyone; after all, you’re asking them for personal information – names of their friends, family members, etc.
A referral should be rewarded nicely with an appropriate gift. Consider what a new customer is worth to you, and that will help guide you in picking a suitable reward.
7. Email Marketing
Email marketing is another viable digital advertising method that doesn’t cost too much. It’s an excellent way of reaching out to existing customers as well as your fans and followers. There are plenty of great resources online for how to establish an effective email marketing strategy.
8. Accelerate Your Efforts on Social Media
Social media is undoubtedly one of the most affordable small business advertising methods in existence currently. One reason is that posting on social media is free. While it’s true that there’s a lot of clutter on social media, there’s still plenty of methods that a business can utilize to boost their numbers on social media without needing to spend too much money.
9. Purchase Facebook Ads
If you want to go with the “paid approach” on social media, you should consider going with Facebook ads. FB has some top-notch methods of targeting – you can focus your ads on a particular group of people (a key demographic, for example) that matches who your ideal target audience is. You could even make your ad only target certain age groups, a specific gender, location, behavior, interest, etc.; the sky’s the limit!
As you can see, there are many different affordable small business advertising ideas out there. Therefore, you should never feel like you don’t have enough funds to improve your marketing results. Regardless of the industry that you’re in – ingenuity, hard work, and some hustling can go a long way when promoting your business.
If you’re prepared to spend some money on purchasing ads or investing in direct mail advertising, then this is one of the best times to start. There are MANY advertising opportunities for any size business to scale-up that can fit your needs and budget.