If you’re running a small business, many other costs trump advertising – like payroll, rent and purchasing. Many small business owners think advertising is out of their reach due to tiny budgets, but there are many low-cost advertising opportunities for small companies and start-ups. Here are some of the most cost efficient advertising options to give you a bang for your buck.

Magnet that Draws the Crowds

Facebook Ads - If you have a strong social media presence, you should consider Facebook ads as your first stop for online advertising. Millions of users are active on Facebook, and Facebook advertising allows you to target your ad down to a single group or demographic. You’ll find a diverse blend of ages, locations and interests here, and with costs that are less than search engine keyword advertising, it’s worth checking out. You can stop and start the campaigns when you choose, or set a budget for monthly, weekly or daily ads.

Blogging – The start-up cost for a blog is minimal – from between $40 and $60 a year for hosting and domain registration – but the long term benefits are enormous. Using your blog to market your products or services can introduce your business to a larger audience, and as an added bonus, a well-written article with keywords and tags can do well in search engine rankings. Use your blog to post testimonials, how-tos, events, sales, industry news and more, or open it up to guest posting from others in your industry (who will hopefully promote their guest post on  their social media channels!)

Specialty Items – Specialty items have been around for almost as long as marketing! There’s a reason they are still so popular – specialty items like pens, keychains, flashlights and note pads tend to stick around, have a very long shelf life, and can be ordered in quantities for a relatively low price. If your budget is a little bigger, pick up something like a tote bag, USB drive or umbrella to use as a giveaway for new customers. Although there is an upfront cost, they will have longevity.

YouTube Ads – The great thing about YouTube ads is that the biggest part – your video – can be cost-free. The first step is to create a video with a high content value, like a tutorial, testimonial or fun video to show your company’s personality (rather than a traditional commercial you’d air on television.) Because YouTube is part of Google, promoting a video on YouTube is set-up through Google Adwords for Video. You can choose your target audience and only pay when those viewers watch.

LinkedIn Ads – LinkedIn ads are pay-per-click or pay-per-impression, and can be targeted to a specific audience by job title or function, industry, company size or by group. This type of ad is great for a specific target audience, especially if you’re already working LinkedIn questions and have an active LinkedIn profile. Advertising on the site can help you strengthen your overall brand, and can work well with a social media campaign. LinkedIn ads let you start and stop your ads when you want with no long-term contracts, and you can determine your budget before you start.

Targeted Online Ads – Traditional advertising such as newspapers or radio can be quite pricey.  As an alternative, targeted online ads can be a more cost effective way to reach viewers. There are thousands of websites with millions of viewers visiting them every day.   New targeting tools allow you to target your ad by the audience demographics and geographic locations. You can select from a diverse blend of ages, locations and interests, and with costs that are less than traditional advertising, it’s worth checking out. You can stop and start the campaigns when you choose, and change your ad creative to keep your messaging up-to-date throughout the year.

About the Author: Denise Wilson works with brand consultants. She loves finding ways to make business more efficient and cost-effective.

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