Small businesses usually find themselves needing to make do with less.  But that doesn’t mean you can afford to neglect advertising entirely. There are some methods of advertising for small businesses that can save you big bucks while still giving you a great return on your investment. For a small business owner who often wears many hats, it’s worth the time taken to learn a little more about some of these marketing options.

Here are some ideas for stretching your ad dollars farther:

Word of Mouth (free)

Word of mouth is one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) forms of advertising around. Best of all, it’s free!

When someone likes your product or service enough to share it with their friends or family, this builds trust in your brand. When you visit a great dentist or enjoy the food at a new restaurant in town, do you tell people about it? What if you are looking for a new apartment complex or searching for a spa in your city? You would be most likely to take the word of a friend over someone you don’t know or a random advertisement you see online. This is how word of mouth advertising works for companies.

The new age of social media is bringing word of mouth advertising direct to your desktop and mobile access. It’s now easier than ever before for people to share what they like (and what they don’t) so take some time to see how you can boost word of mouth advertising to help your business.

Referrals (free)

Referrals are usually free and they can be a very effective method of generating advertising for your small business as well. There are different ways to generate referrals for your company. The first is to always put your best foot forward, do your job 100% and impress the customers and clients you come into contact with. These people will walk away with a positive impression of your brand and will then carry that with them as they meet and chat with other people.

You can help encourage referrals by offering discounts to clients who refer you, networking with colleagues and always making a great impression when representing your company.

Email Instead of Direct Mail

Direct mail is still used in advertising today but if you ask the average person which they check more often- their email or their regular snail mail – you will easily see how email is so effective for advertising today.  Email allows you to reach your entire contact list with one message, increases traffic to your website, allows you to stay in touch with customers/clients, helps to boost sales, and contains tracking abilities to help you.

Some of the features of email over direct mail are that you can personalize each message, you can boost branding with customized email templates, they have a quick turnaround time, you can deliver on a specific day and time and ensure scheduled delivery, you can change out the message quarterly or monthly and they can be used to help promote an event, special sale or any other piece of news you want to share.

Facebook and Pinterest

Facebook and Pinterest are two popular social media platforms that have a lot of attention from Web users today so why not learn to take advantage of that fact and make yourself known where millions of people are there already? Facebook allows targeted ads based on a very specific set of demographics that you choose yourself. You can also choose your budget.

Facebook and Pinterest both allow images that capture the viewer’s attention. They allow you to connect with your target market in a fun way and they take advantage of the great popularity of social media today. However, if you want to get the most from social media marketing, you will want to take some time to learn more about successful marketing on each platform or work with a social media marketing expert to help guide you through the process.

Display Advertising Instead of Newspaper Ads

The newspaper advertising industry is struggling, getting beaten out by digital advertising online. While it’s a little early to say newspaper ads are completely dead, it is very safe to say they do not have the same impact they once did.

Poynter explains:

For the first half of this year, print ad losses slowed slightly to 8 percent, compared to 9.2 percent for all of 2011. But digital advertising was up, year-to-year, only 1 percent in the first quarter and 2.9 percent in the second, on a much smaller base.

Based on this and other studies, it’s easy to see why more efforts and budget should be placed on display advertising now than offline newspaper ads. It’s all about reaching the people where they are and most people today are online. We live, work and play online. We have Internet on our TVs, on our Smartphones and on our handheld digital devices. With these great advertising ideas for small business, you can begin exploring other ideas for your marketing campaign today.

The team at Vantage Local are experts in local online display advertising. For correspondence or questions about online display, contact us today!