Great small business advertising ideas on a budget

Advertising a small business on a budget can be tricky – but there’s a range of great shoestring techniques you can use to get your name out there.

We’ve compiled a series of tips and ideas for advertising your small business. Read on to find out how to spread your business far and wide.

Advertising tips for small business

Before you get started, think about these top tips for a great budget small business advertising campaign:

  • Define your goals. Before you do anything else, you need to work out what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to increase sales of a specific product? Do you want to boost brand awareness? Are you aiming to break into a new market? By defining your goals, you can build a tailored campaign that works.
  • Write some KPIs. You need a way of measuring success, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a good way to do this. What are the metrics you’ll measure to see whether or not your campaign worked? For example, will you look at user sign-ups, lead generation, or consumer sentiment?
  • DIY isn’t necessarily best. It can be tempting to try to do everything, especially in the early stages of a company. But remember that you’ll need specific skills for a great advertising campaign, including design and copywriting support. If you’re not sure you have these in-house, try to speak to freelancers in your area or industry.

Small business advertising ideas

1. Find the freebies!

There’s a huge range of free marketing help available, some of which you might not even know you already have. When you registered your domain, for example, you were probably given a Google AdWords voucher to spend on online advertising. You might also have been given discounts for business card printing services.

In addition, there’s a wealth of free online marketing and advertising resources to help you plan and execute great campaigns. At Simply Business, we have our own marketing resources you can use.

2. Make the most of what you have

If you’re looking to start small, begin by thinking about the resources you already have at your disposal. Where do you already interact with customers or clients, and how can you make the most of those points of interaction? For example, if you’re a business-to-business company, try sending promos when you invoice – this can be a great way of securing repeat business.

If you’re a consumer-facing business that sends items by post, try out branded packaging. If you’re a tradesman with a van, make sure that you’ve got a great logo emblazoned on the side.

3. Enter awards

Business awards are an effective but often-overlooked means by which small firms can get their name out there. There’s a huge number of different awards all around the country, and it pays to find the ones that are right for you. This might be about location, but more likely the decision will come down to industry. For example, there are regional and national awards for catering, banking, insurance, construction, mechanics, and dozens more.

Remember that there may be a fee for entering some awards. You should also make sure that you put as much time and effort as you can afford into the application itself – without a great entry, you’ll be wasting your time.

4. Go guerilla

So-called ‘guerilla advertising’ is a growing technique that helps businesses on a low budget attain maximum impact. It relies on finding highly inventive, unusual ideas, but can be a great option if you don’t have tens of thousands of pounds to spend.

Guerilla advertising techniques often involve using the environment around you. Think about where your customers live. For example, you could place enticing, beautifully designed ads in shopping trolleys or on public transport. You might also try to associate your company with big public events – think, for example, about what huge brands do around spectacles like the Olympics.

You should also think about the ‘viral effect’ – what can you do to get people talking about your campaign and products? One recent example is Brewdog’s ‘Pink IPA’ campaign, in which they launched a beer targeted specifically at women. It was controversial, but it got people talking.

5. Buy space

Finally, you might be thinking that billboards and bus stop ads are out of your financial reach. But in fact these channels are increasingly affordable, thanks in great part to a new wave of companies hiring out space. SignKick is a young company that leases billboards and bus stop space to companies of every size, and panels can start from as little as £240.

Remember, though, that you’ll need beautifully designed ads with great copy. If you don’t have this ability in-house, you should think about contracting with a freelancer or agency to help you make the most of your hire fee.

Do you have any other top tips for advertising? Let us know in the comments below.

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