If you still keep asking yourself the “How to advertise my business question?“, this article might be the best piece you’ve read lately.
Customers are very strange. All of them. For some unknown reason, these people just don’t want to come to your website or retail store and buy stuff from you just because you’re good.
Customers need something more than that. First of all, they need to know that you actually exist. Secondly, they want to make sure you have (or can do) what they want. And, finally, they would really love to know that you will do it better than the others (and for the lower price, of course).
So, these are customers. And what about you? Well, to address the points mentioned above, you should know the answer to the question “How to advertise my business?” and promote it actively using all available channels and means.
While there are a lot of articles talking about how to advertise your business by spending money on advertising (even I do have one – “What Is PPC? Learn How to Set Up a Successful Pay Per Click Campaign”), there is surprising lack of articles offering ways to advertise your business low-cost or even free.
In order to fix this unfair situation, I have created this article for you to show that there are ways to advertise your business effectively while keeping the costs low. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have to work, though – most of the activities that I will be offering require putting in some effort and patience.
If you’re ready, let’s start with the basic principles required for any type of advertising.
Basic Advertising Principles
These are the things you simply cannot avoid, whether you’re running a paid campaign or a free campaign.
- Your advertising must offer a solution to some problem your customers really have or provide a benefit to them
- The solution (or benefit) should be plain, simple, and working
- Your product/service must be an essential part of the aforementioned solution (or benefit)
Although it all may seem obvious at first sight, these principles are, actually, very hard to abide by. More so, it often appears that the only difference between a successful advertising campaign and an unsuccessful one is how well these principles are observed.
How to Advertise My Business: 15 Proven Ways to Do It Almost for Free
Now that we’ve figured out the basics, let’s move on to the meat of the article. In order to make it easier for you to navigate, I’ve split the advertising ideas into two large groups – online activities and offline activities. Let’s start with the former.
1. Get Your Website Listed on Popular Online Directories
Online directories are modern day Yellow Pages – these are websites that help other people find what they’re looking for and make a choice easier based on rating and reviews.
You’ve heard a lot about them and probably even used some. The major examples of online directories are:
- Google Business
- Yellow Pages
- Angie’s List
- Dex Knows
When submitting your website to an online directory, be sure to choose the right listing category and provide all the information your potential customers may need.
2. Share Your Content on Popular Social Sites
People spend the majority of their time in social networks. Aside from having your own social network pages, you should actively share your content on them, prompting people to like, share, and comment in whatever you post.
This is the way to be noticed in the 21st century. Here are the most prominent social sites:
Here are some tricks you can use – “32 Best Social Media Marketing Tips for an Online Business.”
3. Post Your Articles on Blogging Platforms
Similar to the previous one, this tactic will definitely win you some attention from potential customers on Tumblr, Postach.io, SlideShare, and Digg.
The only thing you have to do is write articles that are valuable and interesting by themselves, without your business attached to them. Once people get into your content, they will want to find out more and this is where you should give them the right link to your actual website.
4. Share Your Pictures on Social Sites
Social sites like Pinterest, Polyvore, Flickr or Photobucket are image-driven – people like to view stylish pictures of whatever.
Make a few glossy pictures related to your product/service and upload them to these sites to attract attention and spark an interest in your business. Yeah, and don’t forget to provide a link to your website.
5. Publish Press Releases
Every time you do something that is worth reporting about (i.e. new product launch or a blowout sale) write a press releases about it.
Press releases are a great way to send the message out there to anyone who’s interested. People tend to pick up on this kind of things (if they are really newsworthy, of course).
Here are the websites you might want to consider using:
6. Join an Online Community Related to Your Business
Whatever the nature of your business is, I am sure there are plenty of various websites and online communities dedicated to it. All you have to do is join such community and become its active member.
By an active member, I mean contributing to the community on a regular basis and otherwise keeping an active profile – posting articles, commenting on them, replying to the questions you get.
This is a great way to build a following around your fledging business.
Yep. Sometimes you have to get off your a** and do stuff: go somewhere, call someone, make an agreement, or offer partnership. These are the activities for you to consider.
7. Try Advertising Your Business in Classifieds
You would be laughing but some classifieds actually work better than the PPC (pay-per-click) ads.
I guess it’s simply because people look through these ads already motivated to find something – they WANT to view these ads, unlike the regular PPC where people ARE SHOWN the ads they don’t really want to see.
Just make sure you are creative enough with your classified ad to get noticed.
8. Book Ad Space in Your Local Magazines at the End of the Month
A typical advertising cycle usually suggests there is some unsold advertising space at the end of each month in your local magazines. Right around this time you should give a call to their marketing department and ask for a discount.
It’s better to earn at least something than don’t earn anything at all – they will subside, trust me. 😉
9. Use Barter Schemes to Pay for the Advertising
Instead of wasting cash, offer your products/services instead to compensate for the advertising expenses. You can also offer discounts or special privileges to your advertising agent.
For example, if you own a car repair shop, you might want to consider bartering your full-sized ad banner for the cost of a car repair.
10. Partner Up With Your Vendors or Neighboring Businesses
Why not make a deal with your vendor? You place their logo and business cards on your store counter and they do the same with yours. Mutual benefit is what happens next.
Do you share the same building with three other businesses? Why not make a huge street sign attracting customers and split the bill? But it’s more than that – you can also share discount coupons or flyers.
11. Never Do Expensive Ads
Companies like Apple or Google can afford themselves to spend ten thousand dollars on a street ad. You, on the other hand, cannot.
Whenever creating an ad, make sure it does one single thing – it sells. The design, graphics, and beauty are off the list until you become bigger than Apple.
12. Talk to People
No marketing research can do better than a normal human talk. Ask your customers meaningful questions to understand their motivation, needs, and desires.
Who knows how many advertising insights you can get from such a small talk?
13. Use Unconventional Advertising Mediums
Billboards and newspaper ads are quite expensive. So is the advertising on TV and radio. There are, however, a few alternative, less conventional mediums you can use, such as:
- parking meters
- shopping carts
- taxi boards
- community bulletin boards
Just make sure you don’t put an ad your local mayor’s house. 😉
14. Sponsor a Local Event
Is there a marathon in your town any time soon? A fair? A horse race? Whatever that is, try to become one of its sponsors, ideally as an official supplier/provider of goods/services.
This is a perfect way to make a name for your business on your local scene.
15. Always Outperform Your Customers’ Expectations
There isn’t a better way to become well-known than doing it by word-of-mouth promotion.
If you’re excellent at something, people will take notice of that and spread the good word about your business even without you asking them about it.
These were the 15 ways to help you build a following for your business. I hope that answers your question “How to advertise my business without spending too much money or not spending any money at all?” – there is no secret, really.
Just be great at what you do, enjoy it, and let other people feel it. Good luck!
The right thing to do would be share this article with your friends on the social networks – just click on one of the icons of social media, it’s that easy.
If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.
There’s more good stuff if you want it, like this piece, for example:
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