In order for the small business to survive, there has got to be some kind of advertising budget developed. For many small businesses, an advertising budget may not have much money in it, but it doesn’t have to at first. The whole idea around advertising is to get your business name out there for potential customers to know who you are. Although you could pay tons of money for radio and TV spots, it doesn’t need to be that extravagant to simply gain more customers.
Here are a few things you can do to save money on your advertising.
1. Flyers – For less than $100, you could paper every vehicle in a parking lot at a strip mall with information about your business. Although a small percentage of these might actually be read, they can prove to be very effective. Adding coupons and discounts on the flyers can make an even better impact for your business.
2. Posters – Many establishments offer a cork-board that you can hang a business card or business flyer on. Visiting everyone one of these locations in town can spread the word of your business for less than $50. There are a lot of small business owners who use the "paper-strip" technique of allowing the reader to tear off a strip of paper with the phone number on it. It’s a technique that has been successful for decades.
3. Business Cards – Casually leaving business cards around town in strategic locations is another method that has been successful for some. You don’t want it to seem like you’re littering, but a properly placed business card could benefit your business in profound ways.
4. Social Gatherings – Expos, outdoor business events, and fairs are a great way to advertise to a lot of people in a single location. Although some of these expo and fair lots could cost between $100 to $300 for a weekend, the coverage could be well worth it. People visit expos for a reason and you have the chance to talk to thousands of people about what your company does.
5. Scholastic Involvement – There are many schools that run fundraisers by selling calendars of the schools events sponsored by local businesses. Usually, this shouldn’t cost more than $80 or so and could put a business card sized advertisement in the calendar for the whole school year. This shows that your business is supportive of the school and could be written off as a charitable donation – depending on your area.
6. Sidewalk Attraction – If you are in a locale that is frequented by pedestrians, standing outside with information flyers could benefit your business in many ways. If there is a sidewalk event in your town, all the better. Even if you were to move some of your goods to the outdoors and make a spectacle of yourself, people will visit out of sheer curiosity.
7. Donations – While it is always good to donate goods to the less fortunate, this could also enhance your public relations. Raffles, school drives, church functions and more can help spread the word of your business. These organizations publicly thank the donating part whether they are personal or business names. Even something as small as a donated case of water as a prize for a PTO carnival at a school can cover a few hundred people for advertising purposes, which will cost your business less than $5.
For the small business that doesn’t have much money to put into advertising, you only need to demonstrate two things: A. The business name and address, and B. What your business does. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on advertising in order to get the word out. These are just a few cost effective ways to get the ball rolling. Be creative in your methods and you could become quite successful at marketing your business.
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