Today’s entrepreneurs have more options than ever when it comes to small business advertising ideas. So even if you can’t afford a national TV ad or full page spread in this month’s Vogue, you can still get your message across in front of relevant customers without losing your entire budget.
Great list of small business advertising ideas
In this article, we cover advertising ideas for small businesses, including:
Traditional advertising ideas
Online advertising ideas
Social media advertising ideas
Local advertising ideas
Ideas for outdoor advertising
If you are looking for advertising ideas for small businesses on a low budget or even some free advertising ideas, here are 50.
- Traditional advertising ideas
- Sponsor a Radio Contest or Giveaway
One way to get your message across to radio listeners is to sponsor a contest. Offer one of your products as a reward or sponsor a special reward such as a cruise in exchange for the station that credits your business.
Find the right format for a newspaper ad
Newspapers are great for reaching local customers. Restaurants, bars and cafes could be destined for the weekend entertainment section. Service providers may focus on classified ads, which are particularly affordable. Some newspapers offer advertising options that allow companies to sponsor written content to educate about a solution.
Create a magazine ad
Magazine ads offer a great format for companies that value images a lot. Trade magazines are invaluable for companies targeting specific niche or industry sectors.
Receive radio stations to broadcast live from your business
Radio personalities love to set up shops at local businesses that host events or other special promotions from time to time. If you can get them to come to your business, you can get them talking about all the fun your customers are having.
Create local or cable TV ads
TV commercials offer another traditional ad format. Forget the national networks. For small businesses, target local news stations or cable TV to fit your budget.
Advertise in local cinemas
Get your message out to hyper-local customers when they’re likely to pay attention – right when a movie is about to start! Theaters offer advertising options to local businesses, airing before movie previews.
Sponsor a trade show or industry event
What if your business is focused on a specific industry or niche rather than a geographic area? Exhibiting at trade shows or sponsorship events is tailor-made for you.
Online advertising ideas
Set up a Google My Business page
Google gets information about local businesses directly from “Google My Business” listings. A listing is free. Add your company name, website, and hours to make it easier to find online. Trick your ad with enticing images to invite clicks and engagement.
Buy search advertising
Google AdWords or Bing Ads lead shoppers to actively search for certain items. These ads help your business stand out prominently when users search for the relevant phrases you bid on.
Use dithered ads
Increase the deal close rate (conversion rate) through retargeting. Revisited ads appear after people leave your website and remind them to return to your ecommerce site and purchase the item they were browsing.
Article Sponsor Content
Share thought leadership content by partnering with blogs or online publications to post sponsored content opportunities related to your industry.
Place banner ads on a local or industrial website
Create visually focused online ads, such as banners or sidebar display ads, then place them on sites relevant to your business. These are usually sold at a flat rate or per impression, such as $ 10 per thousand impressions.
Don’t forget the business listings
Having your business listed in relevant online directories can be a big plus. Some directories are free, but they may also offer paid options to increase visibility.
Sponsored products on e-commerce platforms
If you sell products on large ecommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, you can pay to increase the visibility of your offers so they can be more easily displayed in customer searches.
Engage through native advertisements
Native advertisements are advertisements that adapt to the style and functionality of the other content on the website on which they appear. For example, if you want to advertise on a site that offers video content, you can create a short video ad that fits perfectly into the site’s design.
Sponsor an online contest or giveaway
Some online publications or influencers offer similar giveaways or contests to their followers. Offer products or contribute to a special prize like the latest hot smartphone, to grab your company’s attention. The cost can be as little as a few hundred dollars.
Commercial website space with other small businesses
If you have little money for online ads, perhaps you could trade some space on your website or newsletter with another company that has an overlapping target market.
Start an email newsletter
Send promotions to customers via email. Ask your customers to sign up for updates by offering exclusive discounts, early access, or other incentives.
Social media advertising ideas
Advertising on Facebook
Facebook is the most popular social media platform with over 1.4 billion daily users. Small business advertising options range from increasing the reach of a post to placing ads promoting your product, starting at less than $ 10.00. While you will have to spend over 10 dollars to get great results, the point is that Facebook ad campaigns can hold a tight budget.
Use Messenger Ads
If you’re looking to start conversations with customers, Facebook’s Messenger platform offers an advertising option to make it easier for customers to contact you.
Create YouTube video ads
YouTube offers options for short video ads that play before videos on the site and app. Even less expensive, create great video content and optimize it well, or increase it for greater exposure. This is a good option for service companies with information content, as “how-to” videos are the second most watched category on YouTube.
Use LinkedIn ads
For companies targeting professionals or other businesses, check out LinkedIn ads. While more expensive than other social platforms, LinkedIn ads may be more targeted. For B2B companies, they might be worth it.
Promote social posts to encourage organic sharing
Social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all offer advertising options to increase the visibility of posts. These options can kick-start engagement, leading to more content sharing in a natural way.
Create a Snapchat Sponsored Goal or Filter
If your business is particularly popular with young and creative people, you can take advantage of some of Snapchat’s advertising options, including the ability to sponsor goals or filters that promote your business.
Work with Influencer on a campaign
Work with influencers relevant to your target market to spread the word about a particular campaign. Find influencers with a genuine following and encourage them to share their experience with your product. Be sure to disclose the FTC rules as required.
Sponsor a podcast
Another audio format that has gained popularity in recent years is audio podcasts. Many podcasters would be thrilled to have a sponsor. They will read a short message about your business in exchange for a commission. See this list of the best business podcasts.
Create an affiliate program
Create an affiliate program. In this type of program, you compensate online publishers or influencers for sales they drive to your website, based on the tracking links you have set up.
Local advertising ideas
Make the most of business cards
Business cards can serve as low-budget advertisements. Enter a discount code on the back of the card and put a stack at the front desk or cashier. People will shoot them if there is an incentive. Or give each satisfied customer some cards (with or without discount code) so they can distribute them to neighbors and friends. It’s a good way to encourage referrals.
Sponsor a local event
Contribute financially to local charity or community events or make a donation of in-kind products. You will likely receive signage or otherwise tackle your business in front of attendees. And you will have the satisfaction of supporting a community cause.
Create a Flood Parade
Don’t forget to attend St. Patrick’s Day or the 4th July Parade! By serving as a sponsor of a parade and creating a float or group routine that is part of the show, you gain invaluable exposure in your local community.
Advertise with your local chamber of commerce
Some local chambers of commerce offer advertising partnerships. These help you spread your message in various ways, from local chamber events to the website. These are particularly useful for B2B businesses (such as those who sell products or services to other companies).
List your business in the yellow pages
The printed Yellow Pages may go away, but they are not gone. They are moving into the online world. To gain exposure, get a free quote and then consider testing a larger listing space.
Offer local deals or coupons
Use a limited time promotion through “deal” services such as Groupon. Offer a discount to get more customers to discover your business and visit it. A variation is to include coupons or special offers in local coupon books like Clipper Magazine or mailers like ValPak.
Post on community billboards
Check out your local community to find businesses or landmarks that have message boards that allow for open posting. Then create flyers or tear-off signs. In addition to some legwork and some ink and paper for the office color printer, it’s free.
Send flyers by direct mail
For local businesses, direct mail continues to be a viable advertising strategy. Create a small flyer or include your sales ad in letter size and send it to past customers or everyone in a particular neighborhood. The US Postal Service’s Every Door Direct program is affordable and partially automated, saving you time.
Create and distribute brochures
Hand out stacks of brochures or physical postcards to visitor centers or local businesses, such as coffee shops that allow it. Find popular places. This is a good time to be in competition. The more flyers or cards, the more likely consumers are conditioned to look for them there.
Attract customers with magnets
Print small items like magnets and pens with your business name, logo, and contact information to hand out to customers at local events or when you visit their homes to provide a service. They are a reminder the next time someone needs your product or service.
Place an announcement in the church bulletin or community newsletter
Hyper local businesses can achieve good ROI by placing small ads in church bulletins. Or look no further than the homeowners association newsletter. And there are neighborhood community sites like Nextdoor, which also offer sponsored posts for neighborhood activities.
Sponsor a local sports team
Make a donation in exchange for shirts with your business name and logo. Find a small team, middle school, or other youth sports team. Some teams will allow signals for your business locally.
Send thank you cards
This isn’t exactly an advertisement, but it’s a valuable technique. After doing business with a customer, send a handwritten thank you note. It sounds so simple, but few actually do it. You will stand out.
Create refer-a-friend promotions
If you send regular invoices to customers, include a small flyer or card that offers a bonus to those who refer new customers. You can also place promotions in mailers and newsletters or on your website.
Set up a shop at a local festival
If your community has local trade shows or festivals where businesses can buy booths, you can set up shop there and meet local consumers or even offer product samples.
Create corporate t-shirts
You can also create t-shirts with your company name and logo, or even with a short slogan. They serve as a kind of wearable advertisement. Wear them at local events or give them to customers so they can attend.
Offer “Plus A Bonus” gift cards
Give customers who purchase gift cards an option to get added value. For example, give them a free $ 10 gift certificate when they purchase a $ 100 gift card. Mark signs around your business and post your pages on social media calling attention to this promotion. You will find out about your big deal.
Ideas for outdoor advertising
Add signage to your location
The area that is right outside your store or business is super valuable. Make sure you follow the local zoning rules and then add a well-lit and visible sign advertising your business favorably.
Use human billboards
To draw attention to your business from the street corner, you can rent a billboard or a philately service such as Aarrow Sign Spinners. Signature spinners are people who stand on the corner with a sign, usually paying hourly. Check your local ordinances to see what is allowed.
Buy billboard space
To get your message across to local customers, you can purchase space on a local billboard. This is particularly relevant for drive-by businesses, such as restaurants or grocery stores.
Advertise with Digital Outdoor Signage
Some cities or famous landmarks have rotating digital advertising messages. Add targeted punch by advertising near conventions or events that appeal to your target audience.
Wrap your vehicle
If your business has vehicles that take you to service appointments, such as plumbers or HVAC trucks, you can purchase vehicle wraps that turn your means of transportation into a mobile ad. Better yet, park your wrapped vehicle visibly in front of your workplace when not in use.
Advertise in unconventional places
Finally, no collection of small business advertising ideas would be complete without something you might not generally think of. So consider physical ads at unusual spots. This could include announcements inside elevators or near escalators. You can even buy shopping cart ads at your community grocery store.