Advertising is an important part of promoting your brand.
It’s often a necessity to ensure you stay level with or above the rest of the noise on the market.
Some companies pump millions of dollars into advertising. But contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a big company with a massive budget to advertise.
Read on for seven affordable advertising strategies for businesses of any size
1. Targeted Social Ads
Social media is the new advertising hotspot.
TV advertisements only aim for a broad demographic. Social ads can be specific, distributed based on people’s interests and browsing habits. This ensures you’re putting ads in front of the right eyes.
Targeting ads mean your ads are more effective. And thanks to their controllable volume, it keeps your costs down. It’s a double-win.
Advertising on social media can work for any budget. You can boost a post or run an ad campaign for as little as $10.
If you want affordable advertising, social media will be your first stop.
If you’re in need of cheaper advertising options, tabling, well, needs to be on the table.
The benefit of tabling vs. broad advertising isn’t only the price, but the efficiency.
Tabling allows you to meet and talk to people face-to-face. In-person requests can be 34 times more effective than alternative methods.
You won’t reach as many people tabling as you would with a TV ad, but you’ll leave a bigger impact on the ones you do reach.
3. Promotional Items
Are you wondering, “What is a lanyard?” It’s not just a piece of cloth that helps you hold keys or badges. It’s a billboard.
Look at all the random things in your house. Pens, cups, coasters, phone chargers, flashlights, bandages. They all have flat surfaces where your name and logo could be.
Whether you’re giving them to employees to use around the office, or passing them out to potential customers, promotional items are powerful. Each one is like a small, portable ad for a fraction of the cost.
The important thing with promo items is to choose practical items. You don’t want your branded keychain thrown in a junk drawer and never seen again. Offer something with functionality to keep your trinkets in use and keep your brand in people’s minds.
4. Partnerships With Other Businesses
Some business owners view all other businesses as direct competition, but this isn’t necessarily the case.
A restaurant is very different than an auto mechanic, and both are very different than an arts and crafts store or a clothing shop.
All small businesses are looking affordable advertising. Why not work together?
Form partnerships with other complementary local businesses. Find a company that doesn’t compete with yours but has similar goals and values. Develop a mutually beneficial relationship that involves cross-advertising.
It could be as simple as exchanging fliers or brochures to keep on your counters for customers to pick up. Or you can get even more creative. For example, if your partner business is a restaurant, you could supply them with branded drink coasters.
Advertising with a sister business doesn’t cost you anything except what you pay for promo materials. Both businesses get the benefit from the cross-advertisement.
If you need a cheap solution for advertising, don’t hesitate to contact other local business owners.
5. Curb Appeal
If your business has a brick-and-mortar location, your storefront is already an avenue for advertising.
No, you don’t need a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubeman like the ones featured on the classic Family Guy bit. But you can take advantage of your own property for affordable advertising purposes.
Signage out front goes a long way to attracting customers off the street and letting people know you’re there. Make sure your signs are clean, maintained, and personalized for your brand.
Window displays can attract passing walkers with specific products. Be sure you have a nice set-up for window shoppers.
You can take advertising on your own property as far as your imagination can take you. For example, you could team up with local artists to paint a large mural like the ones popular in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Sometimes the best advertising is what you do right on your own property.
6. Local Sponsorships
If you’ve ever run in a local 5K or attended a youth sporting event, you’ve seen the power of sponsorships.
There is no shortage of community activities that need some financial support. And they’re willing to let you advertise in exchange for that support.
Advertising your company by sponsoring local events and organizations gets you a lot of bang for your buck. Depending on what you contribute, sponsorships can be far cheaper than a TV ad or a billboard.
You get your name and logo displayed publicly. You get some nice facetime being featured on shirts, jerseys, programs, and banners.
But on top of that, you also build beneficial associations with people and organizations in your community.
Youth sports, the arts, and special events help bring towns and neighborhoods together. Supporting work that benefits all the local residents develops your brand’s reputation as a champion of the community.
Especially for small businesses, the people around you will be your biggest source of revenue and support. By showing your support for them, they’ll be more likely to return the favor.
7. Earned Media
Technically, this isn’t affordable advertising. It’s better than advertising.
Earned media is like advertising you don’t pay for. You earn media when you get your name in the newspaper or on TV. It’s also when your customers recommend you to other people.
Besides being free, earned media is great because it establishes an objective trust of your brand.
Because your publicity is coming from a third party and not you, prospects will know it’s not just you tooting your own horn. In fact, 92% of people say they trust earned media over advertisements.
It’s old-school, but pitching to the local media is still a great way to promote your business.
More Tips for Marketing and Affordable Advertising
Marketing and advertising don’t need to be about throwing money at something and hoping it sticks. That method could actually put you further behind than where you started from.
Follow our business blog for more tips on how to strategically build your brand on a budget!