As a small business owner, every advertising dollar you spend is a dollar that comes right out of your pocket and affects your earnings margin, especially when you're trying to grow your business. If you're going to be successful, you have to pay close attention to your bottom line and try to find creative, innovative methods to cut costs while still getting what you need.
That old saying that it "takes money to make money" has actually never ever been truer than when it comes to advertising your business.
So when it comes to spending cash on advertising, how do you ensure that your advertising is working hard enough, without spending a ton of money?
Thanks to the Web, you have actually got lots of options for finding affordable digital advertising that does what it's supposed to- bring targeted customers who are starving for what you're selling, right to your door. However don't ignore cost-efficient offline strategies as well.
Here are 6 small business advertising ideas to help you get going:
1. Focus your advertising dollars on your target market.
The tighter your niche, the much better your possibilities of discovering the clients who are looking for precisely what you have got to offer! So instead of going far-reaching, and trying to sell to everybody, narrow your focus, and then, if possible, narrow it some more! Figure out who your "ideal" client is, and then produce a marketing campaign for them. Once you understand who you're selling to, try to find media that targets that market. Depending upon your item or service, think neighborhood and community papers, high school sponsor advertising, chamber of commerce directory sites, and so on.
If your perfect consumers aren't specified by a particular geographic area, take a look at regional or specific demographic publications. Maybe a regional paper runs an annual issue that concentrates on an issue or activity that reaches your target market. Take advantage of local cable television service to transmit your ads only in certain markets. You'll get less expensive rates and a more focused demographic.
2. Always request a reduced rate.
Some monthly magazines offer discount rates for multi-ads placed over a 3, 6 or 12 month time duration. Many publications have a sliding rate schedule for various kinds of advertisers- so depending on your services or product, you could qualify. And if not, in some cases simply requesting the discount, they will give it to you.
3. Buy remaining print space or airtime for pennies on the dollar.
This is advertising that the publication, radio or tv station hasn't filled by their typical due date. Of course you'll have to take the areas that are offered, but again, depending upon your business and the service or product you're selling, that hassle might still be worth the discount and the direct exposure you'll receive.
4. Don't forget 'tried and true' classified advertising.
They're not simply for job offers anymore. You'll discover classified advertising in magazines and papers. Prior to composing your advertisement, go to your local library, and browse the back issues of the magazine or newspaper that you're thinking about. Look at the advertisements that capture your eye, or that are repeated month after month. Those advertisements would not remain in there monthly, if they weren't making the advertiser money. Utilize those advertisements as springboards for ideas when you're ready to start composing your own classifieds.
5. Who else likes FREE advertising? Use your vendor Co-op funds.
Do you own a retail business? If so, check out co-op advertising funds that may be offered by your vendors. Co-op programs offer joint advertising for you and your vendor, and you'll get a part of the cost of the ad repaid due to the fact that the advertising mentions the supplier. (Note: most Co-op programs have strict standards, so contact your vendors and ensure you're following the guidelines).
6. Bartering is your best friend for items and services.
This can be especially effective with radio stations and regional papers. See if you can supply your product and services in trade for the expense of advertising. (Also called "trade" or "In-kind" advertisements, the radio station or publication offers you the advertisement in exchange for product and services of equal value, and then uses those products or services as part of a promo or contest for their listeners or readers). This can also be a terrific way to get extra free promotion, so if you decide to attempt this approach, get creative and think outside the box!
Tip #1: Test your ads.
Begin with the more affordable publications, so you can find out what's working and what's not. Have fun with them, and tweak them. When you've got an advertisement that works, keep utilizing it. You can run it more than once, or in more than one publication at a time. When it stops bringing in customers, or you begin seeing a drop in effectiveness, then it's time to alter it.
Tip #2: Recycle your advertisements in other advertising mediums.
If you have actually got an ad that's especially reliable, or looks fantastic, reuse it in a circular, brochure, handout, leaflet or direct mail piece. Use the graphics on your Webpages.
Finding a healthy mix between online and offline advertising, searching for ways to extend your reach and your advertising dollar, and cutting costs creatively will help you make sure that your advertising is working hard for your success.
To help you get started with your online or offline advertising, or if you need an advertising update, Local Click A.D.S. provides free graphic design for your next ad. It's worth $300 and costs you nothing.
If you have any questions about offline or online advertising, let me know in a comment below. I'll try to make sense of things for you.