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8 affordable advertising options for small businesses

NOVEMBER 21, 2023

For small businesses every dollar counts and navigating advertising and budget constraints is a common challenge. But you also know the importance of promoting your products and services. Let’s explore creative, budget-friendly strategies to maximize your advertising efforts and effectively drive customers to your small business.

1. Use social media

Social media platforms allow you to choose the best budget to reach your goals. Social media platforms can access a wide range of demographic, behavioral and psychographic data so you can target specific audiences. There are also several different ad formats and options such as videos, native content and carousel ads, allowing you to showcase your products and services with proven higher engagement. Additionally, you can repurpose this content across multiple social channels like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, X and LinkedIn.

2. Advertise with pay-per-click   

One of the fastest ways to get customers to your business website is to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. By creating targeted campaigns you can reach potential customers who are actively searching for your products or services. PPC also allows you to set your own budget and only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Once a customer visits your website, you can reconnect with them by using retargeting ads to keep connecting with them, highlighting products or services they showed an interest in purchasing.

3. Grow with email marketing

Email is cost-effective and gives you the power to keep your brand top-of-mind, develop a long-lasting relationship with your customers, and provide personalized content. You can refer to them by name and create a two-way conversation asking about their latest purchases or for feedback, testimonials and more. Forty-four percent of consumers say they made a purchase based on an email they received. You can tap into these profitable results with an email list and grow it along with your business. 

4. Promote your business locally

Advertising in local newspapers and magazines is a win-win for your small business and community. Not only is your advertising targeting your customers, you are also supporting another local business, helping to keep a strong local economy. Since most newspapers print weekly editions, you can have a timely message like a weekend sale at your brick-and-mortar store, reaching a local audience more likely to stop in and shop. Magazines offer the benefit of targeting a specific audience based on the content such as retirees, golfers, engaged couples and more. Magazine readers often linger over articles and features, making them more inclined to see your ad. Both newspapers and magazines offer ads on their digital editions, too.

5. Send personalized direct mail

According to the most recent Association of National Advertisers Response Report, direct mail averages a 43% return on investment. Customization is a direct factor in driving these rates. The U.S. Postal Service has gone so far as to market the Mail Moment, the daily ritual of sorting and reading mail each day. Your direct mail gets your message into waiting hands and can be completely customized. Variable printing allows for your letter or postcard to be personalized. And it isn’t just about using their name. You can target specific people with photographs, information and a message that resonates with demographics, psychographics or even behaviors you know they engage in. Being relevant to their needs and creating that connection will get your message noticed and drive business.

6. Advertise on connected TV

Most small business owners think television advertising is too expensive. However, the explosion of connected TV and devices has narrowed the gap between your budget and the ability to advertise to consumers via this channel. A video-driven advertising campaign on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Roku and more are valid options as you can allocate specific ad dollars to your exact audience based on demographics, interests and viewer behavior. You also have access to real-time analytics so you can see your ROI and make adjustments to your targeting or messaging.

7. Use native advertising

Native advertising creates ads which fit in with other content on a webpage or social media, so it looks like the rest of the articles or content around it. These ads often appear on news sites or pages as articles, blogs and sponsored content. To use native advertising effectively, you must know your audience well. If your customer uses Facebook regularly, that’s where your native advertising effort should be focused. Don’t waste valuable advertising dollars on platforms your audience is not using.

8. Find look-alike customers

With a solid digital advertising strategy, businesses can discover look-alike customers, someone who shares similar traits and buying behaviors to your current customer, to generate new business. This approach involves leveraging data analysis and algorithms to identify key connection points. By matching your existing customer base with comparable user profiles, your advertising becomes more targeted and strategic, generating customer growth.

Effective advertising is possible for all businesses, no matter what your budget. These options are cost-effective solutions for any size business, allowing you to engage with your audience and drive growth. And remember, the longer you advertise, the stronger the brand recognition is reinforced when customers see you online or visit your store.

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