The start to a new business venture can be stressful and expensive, especially when personal stakes are high. Because starting a new business typically requires a decent chunk of financial investment, it’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs are interested in low cost advertising.
At a time when hardly any revenue is coming in, spending a lot on advertising efforts can feel discouraging and is just not always possible. Yet, at the same time, every entrepreneur in this stage needs to prepare themselves for the hard truth, and that’s that businesses only thrive when you get them the attention they deserve. In order to do that, one would need to determine the best audience for their business and— you guessed it— advertise to them as uniquely and as often as possible. Ironic, right?
Luckily, there are ways to accomplish your advertising goals while still staying on or below budget. Though not as flashy, these 5 tips for low-budget advertisers are sure to help your new business grow.
1. Social media is your friend.
Let’s start with the obvious. Social media is any low budget advertisers dream come true. If you’re not currently making the most out of multiple social media business accounts, you need to start.
Not only is social media a great free source for spreading awareness and building an audience, it’s share-ability also provides businesses the opportunity to exceed goals. If you can get your ad to go viral— or even just hit higher reach and frequency numbers than expected— you’ll receive the kind of consumer attention that other advertisers receive after investing a great deal of time and money into their campaign.
On a similar note, email marketing is another helpful tool for reaching a big audience. Though a bit more personal, this method has many of the same benefits for advertisers as social media.
2. Partner with other industry-related businesses.
Another great idea for low budget advertisers is something called piggyback marketing. In the marketing and advertising industries, “piggybacking” is when two or more businesses form a partnership in which each brand is represented by the other(s).
Piggyback marketing can be as simple as your partner name-dropping your product or brand to their audience in their advertising efforts, or as complex as your partner advertising to their audience for you— in which case a brief introduction to your product or brand is important.
While piggyback marketing can be an extremely valuable tool for low budget advertisers, it can also be done incorrectly. When forming these partnerships, remember to choose from other businesses in your industry or in a closely-related industry. In addition, avoid partnering with competing businesses who could inadvertently draw audience attention from your brand and onto theirs. Though these mistakes won’t hurt your business, they definitely won’t help it reach advertising goals either.
3. Don’t just place your ads anywhere.
In advertising, placement is everything. If done right, ad placement can be extremely cost-effective, while still drawing a lot of consumer attention. In order to save big bucks, you’ll want to place your ads somewhere uncommon or out of the way a bit. Some of my favorite placement spots are bus stops, bulletin boards, grocery stores, park benches, and even sidewalks. Of course, creative aspects of your ad are bound to effect whether or not the placement is successful, so make sure you look at your choice from every angle.
4. Attend as many events as possible.
Hosting or simply participating in local events can increase word-of-mouth at little to no cost to you or your business. While every business should already be attending networking events, there are also many other options for spreading the word through events.
Guerrilla marketing events can be some of the best events to host because they typically value creativity over a large budget. In addition, participating in things like contests, classes, workshops, conventions, and CSR efforts (through partnerships or volunteer outreach) also create positive word-of-mouth without breaking the bank.
Lastly, one of my favorite ways to gain consumer recognition is through professional award shows or exhibits. Entering previous work into competitions such as these gives your business the chance to stand out. Not only will many people in your industry see your name, but you also run the chance of being viewed as a “winning brand” in their eyes.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts.
Asking about discounts doesn’t make you cheap, it makes you smart. Many times, advertising comes with huge savings that people are too embarrassed to ask for. Other times, advertisers and business owners are simply unaware of these cost-saving options.
Before handing over your next payment, ask if there are any discounts for paying upfront, paying in cash (or through any specific method), buying in bulk, starting a membership, joining an email list, or providing referrals— just to name a few. If these discounts aren’t available, don’t be afraid to ask if the company is currently running any other offers you should know about. As the old saying goes, “you won’t know until you ask.”
As always, thanks for reading and happy marketing!
—Amanda Myers, Copywriter at BoydTech Design, Inc.