Yes, it's true. Even though we live in a world where practically nothing is free, you could very well secure advertising for your business without breaking the bank.
Traditional ads (such as a television, newspaper, or radio) could cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Often times, this is not an expense smaller businesses are willing to take on especially with today's economy. Luckily, thanks to technology, new options and trends are constantly emerging that will allow you to reach your target market at little to no cost. Below is a breakdown of a few cheap but effective advertising options that might work well for you:
1. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter:
Social media, whether we like it or not, has pretty much taken over our lives. People, like you and me, spend our free moments and down time scrolling through post after post. Sometimes it is to see what our friends are up to, what events are going on in town, or whatever else might interest you. Because our lives are so congested with social media, it is important for businesses to have a strong presence on these sites. It is totally free to create social media accounts and pages to build an online audience around your business. These platforms provide a place to rally your customers, provide exciting news/updates, and so much more at no cost to you.
If you're looking to take your social media accounts to the next level, most platforms offer an option for paid advertising which allow you to broaden your horizons and reach more potential customers. It is usually inexpensive to run these advertisements for a short period of time.
This free platform is perfect for letting your creative side run wild. Instead of spending thousands on airing a television commercial, create a similar length video and post it to your business's YouTube channel. This is a fairly new advertising method that many companies (large and small) are beginning to introduce. It is effective and costs nothing to upload a video and reach your target market. Interested viewers have the ability to share the video with their friends which allows you to reach even more potential customers. Sometimes, depending on the brand or product, producing a video advertisement could be the best way to get your message across.
3. Word of Mouth:
Encourage your clients to invite their friends. You have probably seen this method promoted frequently with businesses both large and small. Offering a referral program is a great (and cheap) way to get your existing customers to do your marketing for you. A 'refer-a-friend' program offers a reward to both parties when an existing customer brings a new customer along. For example, a hair salon could offer a referral program that dishes out a 20% discount on the next haircut. The incentive sweetens the deal so that your existing customers want to share how happy they are with your services.
John Markowski is a college student majoring in Advertising and Marketing Communications.
When you invest your hard earned dollars back into your business's marketing plan, it is important to get the most bang for your buck. The first step to being successful at grabbing a potential customer's attention, is to make sure you are preaching to the right choir.
In today's world, there are so many forms of advertising and people are constantly being bombarded with advertisements everywhere they look.
Before you purchase your next advertisement, take a moment to think about who you are trying to attract. Looking at demographic market segmentation during this process is helpful. The advertising industry breaks down target demographics into the following age groups:
12 – 17
18 – 24
25 – 34
35 – 44
45 – 54
55 – 64
Naturally, with each age group, the type of media consumed is different. Make sure the age group and media used for the advertisement match with the message you are trying to convey. An obvious example of this would be: using a newspaper advertisement to reach potential customers in the 65+ age group regarding your senior discount. We can predict that people 65 years old and up are more likely to read a newspaper than someone who is between the ages of 18 and 24.
However, age should not be your only factor. With certain advertisements, gender might also be an important factor to consider. For example, it would make the most sense for a bridal shop to target women between the ages of 25 and 34. A quick Google search will tell you that is the average age span of when people get married and advertising wedding dresses to men would be a waste.
Online advertisements (such as on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat) are mostly viewed by individuals in the 18 to 24 age group. Additionally, people from this age group (and below) have had technology at their finger tips since birth and know how to use it effectively. With that said, it is important to have a well established online presence because when someone is looking for information, the first place they'll turn to is Google.
Now that you know the importance of focusing on your target market, you will be able to spend your money appropriately and reach the potential customers your company needs to thrive.
John Markowski is a college student majoring in Advertising and Marketing Communications. He is also currently a Marketing Intern for the Wire Association International.