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.