10 Advertising Tips for Small Businesses: Simple and Effective

advertising tipsLow-cost ideas to advertise your business that are easy and straight-forward to do

No big budget, no problem — at least, when it comes to small business advertising. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can create brand excitement, boost your brand recognition and advertise your products online and in person.  Traditional marketing is not dead and contrary to accepted belief, you can make a difference on a dime-sized budget.



Walking, Talking Advertisement

If you drive a company car, wear a company shirt or make a habit of talking up your company to strangers, you’re raising brand awareness. You never know who might be an influencer; promote yourself naturally wherever you go.  Take it social with your Instagram and Facebook updates.  Create conversation by being your own walking advertisement.

Fish Bowl Leads

SBA.gov suggests putting out fish bowls at events, then putting the leads that come in — in the form of cards dropped in the fish bowl — to work for you. You might table at a community fair, selling products directly to consumers and raising awareness. Having a fish bowl for raffle prize allows you to contact businesses afterward to follow up, and can take some of the pressure off identifying leads.

Optimize Your Website

As you get word out about your business, people will visit your Web site. Optimize it with industry keywords and geo-location to get the most impact.

Get the (Written) Word Out

Announce new products or services with a press release that puts your story in front of media outlets. You might end up with TV, newspaper or radio coverage, notes Entrepreneur.com. Send your press release to media outlets in your industry to increase your chances of receiving coverage.  Email marketing is still a powerful tool.

Fly High

It may seem low-tech, but posting flyers can have an impact in raising business awareness. Entrepreneur.com’s legal expert Nina Kaufman advises making sure you have legal permission to post flyers in a parking lot before you do so.

Rant, Rave and Review

Create an active profile on sites like Yelp.com or TripAdvisor.com. As users leave feedback, you can increase brand awareness. Add Web site links to your profile to advertise how people love you on Yelp.

Manage Your Rep

Regularly search your business online. If you find negative info somehow attached to your name, a service like Reputation Changer can help mitigate the damage by monitoring and optimizing your online information.

Be a Blogger

A regular, keyword-rich and back-linked blog increases your SEO, which can increase businesses. This strategy is free and easy to implement on a budget. Also, don’t just promote yourself. Share interesting industry-related stories or little-known facts about your business, and then ask your readers for their input.

Cast Your Net

Networking connects you to influencers in your community. It can be scary, but ultimately worth it when you meet people who can help you. Look for local and online societies, meet ups and business organizations that pertain to your field, then mingle. Follow up within 48 hours of a networking event to realize maximum impact.

Pass Out Pens

Don’t underestimate the importance of freebies. Put your business information on pens, calendars, magnets and other items, then make a habit of leaving these items wherever you go. When you’re at the bank, use your own pen to sign a deposit slip and leave it. This branded information can remind existing customers of your presence and can introduce new people to your brand if customers give these freebies away to friends or to family.



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With nearly 30 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is the founder of SBMarketingTools.com and author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. Diane also runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing, and two boating lifestyle sites: MyBoatLife.com and BoaterKids.com.

One Comment

  1. Reading your article makes me realize that advertising doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. I like your idea to wear a company shirt and to not be afraid to talk up the company. I have found that I often ask around for referrals when searching for a service/product that I am unfamiliar with. Word of mouth advertising is a pretty big deal. Thanks for the post!

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