How to advertise your small business on a budget
Advertising can be very costly and many small independent business just can’t afford much advertising. It’s like car insurance: you can’t afford it, but you can’t afford not to have it. As someone has wisely said, “When business is good it pays to advertise, when business is bad you’ve got to advertise.”
- Use "earned" publicity: Some people call publicity "free," but it is something you must earn by doing something creative, innovative or newsworthy. Often, publicity is better than paid advertising because it is noticed by more people and is not considered "hype."
Here are some reasons a small business might issue a press release.:
- An employee is promoted, retires or a new hire.
- A new generation of your family joins the business in some way.
- Major renovation, redecoration of your building.
- A new product or service.
- Your business anniversary, especially of significant years like "20" or "25," etc.
- You present an employee an award, such as Employee of the Month.
- Your business has a VIP visitor; whether a public figure or someone related to you business field.
- Your business sponsors or is involved with an important community event.
- A major sale.
- Write articles for your local newspaper.
- Write how-to advice about a product or service related to your business such as home repair tips, recipes, how to save money, or get more out of a product.
- If you have expertise in another area of interest to the public, you may even write about something that is unrelated to your business. You may be an auto mechanic who is a fantastic cook. You could write articles about cooking.
- Host an event.
- Have a cookout and serve free food and drinks.
- Have a clinic where a professional or specialist related to a product or service you provide comes and repairs, demonstrates or talks to people. A sports store may host a reel clinic, An appliance store my host a clinic showing how to cook an entire meal with the microwave.
- Provide a free health screening where Registered Nurses check blood pressure.
- Offer free popcorn or coffee. A lot of hardware stores offer free popcorn every day. It’s inexpensive and people love it.
- Serve on a community board or committee.
- Help plan, raise money or work in the annual parade or local fair.
Place paid ads when and wherever you can afford it. Talk about your business, promote it. Make other people want to talk about your business.
- Word-of-mouth is still one of the best methods of advertising your business.
- Don’t forget business cards, signs, billboards. There are many good printers who can provide affordable printing. You can also do it yourself on your computer.
- The best form of advertising is an honest, reliable, dependable business that makes a customer feel important.