The popularity of my Creative marketing ideas that won't break the bank and How to build your website for under $100 posts suggests you guys like to get the word out without spending too much money. Me too! And what savvy small business wouldn't. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at some cost effective ways to advertise your company.
We all know how important advertising is to a business's success - it's how you make sure people know who you are and what you're selling.
But for smaller businesses, traditional advertising channels like TV or glossy print ads are simply out of budget. That doesn't mean you can't spread the word though.
I've collected some examples of effective ways to advertise your business (including some I've tried myself) - all of which will cost less than $100.
Promoted social posts
Get your tweets and Facebook posts seen by a much wider audience with a small budget. Promoted tweets cost $.50 - $4.00 per engagement, while Facebook allows you to set your own budget for boosting posts. Much more cost effective than a traditional ad and, because of the targeting you can set up, more likely to reach a more relevant audience.
Can't afford a full page ad? You'll just have to think of a more creative way of getting your name in the newspaper. Newsjacking has become increasingly popular with brands in recent years and is surprisingly effective if done right.
Look for something that's getting a lot of coverage at the moment and that's relevant to your business, or will impact your key audience groups and think of ways you can get involved. Then issue a press release and keep your fingers crossed it gets picked up by local media.
One silly - but really effective - example I've seen was a pet store running a beauty contest while Miss World is on. And even the big brands are in on it. Did you see Oreo's tweets relating to the Superbowl power cut of 2013? Lots of exposure for the cost of one tweet.
Another social one I know, but it really is the gift that keeps on giving if you've got a limited advertising budget. This is a really simple concept - ask people to retweet or share your message in order to win something, maybe one of your products or even just a hamper of goodies.
Remember the message they are sharing will be seen by everyone who shares its followers as well as your own, so it could easily reach hundreds of people with very little effort or spending on your part.
Banners and placards
Perhaps the simplest idea in this post. You can buy banners and placards cheaply and if you put them in the right place they can be really effective. You can ask local stores to display them in exchange for a small fee or free services, or even ask family members to stand on the street holding your sign (although be prepared to make them coffee for a long time afterwards!).
There are a few things to bear in mind though - make sure the sign is simple and clear without too much information, and make sure they are specific, highlighting one don't miss product or service rather than your whole offering.
Hire the cheer squad
A business in my hometown did this once and I thought it was genius. They paid the local high school cheer squad to come up with some cheers relating to their business and perform them outside the office one Saturday. Not only did it make people stop and take notice, it was great for community spirit.
Everyone loves getting something for free. Stand outside your office (if you have one) giving away sweets or hot chocolate drinks, along with a business card of course. It's sure to attract people's attention. Or, partner with a fellow local business that complements your own.
The gym I go to recently ran a yoga event and teamed up with the local hair salon to offer free hair braiding ahead of the event. While the hair salon didn't get anything directly from the event, I know at least 3 people who visited the salon post-event.
Embrace the festive spirit
Sorry to mention this one so soon after last year's festivities! But consider spending $100 on some of the biggest and brightest holiday decorations you can find to make sure that the outside of your office or retail space looks like a real winter wonderland. I guarantee it will draw attention!
The companies I mention or link to in this post are just examples that I thought you'd find useful - I don't endorse them or their services. I have no affiliation with them and make no representation about their services.