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Advertising Ideas For Small Businesses

Advertising is designed to remind consumers about your products and services, establish your brand identity, drum up new interest, slowly build sales to boost your bottom line, enhance your reputation, and promote your business. It is NOT designed to create an instant base of consumers, cause sharp increases in sales, solve cash flow problems or sell inferior products and services.


How Much Should You Spend?

Forrester Analyst Jeff Ernst says the marketing-to-revenue ratio for smaller companies (with less than 1,000 employees) will be 4.6 percent. By contrast, larger companies spent 2.8 percent. “Smaller companies tend to spend more on marketing, especially if they are in growth phases,” Ernst explains. His research found that businesses are increasing their marketing budgets, especially in areas of online content creation, social networking, marketing support / sales tools, ad campaigns, and direct marketing. These estimates seem terribly conservative, as most advertising pros recommend spending 5 to 7 percent of gross sales on the marketing budget. Roy H. Williams from Entrepreneur Magazine has an easy, but more realistic, way of calculating how much to spend that factors in rent payments and sales markups (that you may read more about in the link below).


Online Marketing: How To Get The Best Bang For Your Buck

Once you’ve created a user-friendly website, advertising with Google AdWords is a logical first step for most business owners who want to increase their web presence. Tracking features allow entrepreneurs the ability to see which search terms people are using to find their company online. Keywords are also the core to optimizing a website for search engine visibility and for developing online content like blogs, articles, press releases and viral videos. You can think of keywords as magnets, drawing your target audience directly to you. It’s possible to get started for as low as $10-$20 per day.


Depending on your business niche, you may want to consider Facebook Ads, which can be targeted by gender, geographic location, education and interests. Megan LaBant Abrahamsen of Blue Star Bazaar says that Facebook ads have been most successful for them overall, even though their budget is less than $10 a day.

Publishing content and establishing backlinks is a great way to advertise online. Sites like Ezinearticles, Articlesbase and TheFreeLibrary are popular places to publish for free. It’s also important to establish a retinue of reliable bloggers who can craft innovative posts for a small fee.


Offline Marketing: How To Drive Enthusiasm For Your Business

Benjamin John Coleman, founder of The Origami Bonsai Company, founded the “Rhode Island Rally For Recovery” to build the community and strengthen bonds between people who are recovering from drugs and alcohol. The annual event only costs the company about $1,000, but they receive $5,000 in business when people look deeper to find out what their organization is all about. Public speaking events are also a great way to boost your credibility in the community and drum up leads.


Giving away freebies will always be a big draw for consumers. Whether you deliver a mobile coupon as someone passes your store, a free sample at a community event, or a free pamphlet of information, you are likely to create a favorable impression with consumers. Flyers and postcards are some of the least expensive methods of advertising, but there are limitless options for making an impression. “Street” or “Guerilla” marketing became very popular in the 2000s and has remained so. Most companies run one or two of these campaigns each year.   


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Related Articles:
B2BOnline: New Studies Show Marketing Budgets Rising
Entrepreneur: Calculating Your Ad Budget
Small Business Computing: 10 Inexpensive Ways To Advertise Your Small Business 101 Small Business Marketing / Advertising Ideas, Tips & Tricks

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