AdvertisingAdvertising is an essential component of success for any business. Proper advertising ensures more sales, but if you choose the wrong options, it can be a very expensive outlay for no return at all.

“Most small businesses just think “too bloody expensive” when they think of advertising, so it is time to look outside the box and find the right kind of advertising for your business.”

Let’s look at five low cost advertising options for your business:

1.Referrals from existing happy customers

A referral opportunity encourages your current customers to send their friends to you.  But they don’t do this unless you are front and centre of their mind.  What customers are you looking for, why should they come to you and what do they get out of it (yes – people always want to know what’s in it for them).  This might not mean you have to rush and start an affiliate program, but sending some kind of thank you for referrals is a great start.  Much cheaper than going out and hustling to find the right client all on your own.

2. Sharing the load

A joint advertising campaign works like any joint venture: you find a related business and you share the cost of the project. At the same time, you share target audiences, increasing the number of interested people who see your mutual ad campaign.

Good examples of this kind of advertising build on complementary industries. But be flexible and ready to compromise.

3. Influencer Marketing & Social Media

Social media, if used right, could be a lead generation tool all in itself.  Whether or not it is straight out ads, or offering freebies (such as download-ables to boost your email list) – all the way through to influencer marketing.  The great thing about social media is that you are in control of the price, and you can put a stop to what is not working whenever you want.

If you match your products or services to “social media Influencers” who can promote your business to their following, then suddenly you can reach people previously out of your league.  BUT, you must do your homework.  Working with the wrong influencers could severely damage your brand reputation.

4. Create loyalty

It is often said that it is more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. For this reason, it is important that you strive to build a relationship with your existing customers.

Customer service takes such a small amount of time, but is easily pushed to the side in favour of more vital business tasks.

However, by answering queries quickly, making sure complaints are dealt with swiftly and always try to exceed their expectations will ensure that you build a positive, rewarding relationship with your clients.  This in turn allows you to decrease your external advertising costs in the long run.

5. Be loud and proud

The last time someone asked you what you did for a crust, how did you respond?  Most times people brush off what they do with not much enthusiasm.  You have a potential customer in front of you and you are not giving them any confidence about why they should buy from you.

Even if that person is not your target market, their wife could be, their sister could be, their children could be, their friends could be.  The more people that know about you the better.  And a conversation from the heart, well that is free and that is memorable.  Win-win if you ask me.

“Sometimes, the best form of advertising is one which does not involve money, but instead, it is about sharing your story and making your customers feel a part of your business journey.”

Most successful businesses spend a large chunk of their money on advertising, so it is critical that you get the best possible returns. Don’t just assume that throwing money at an ad campaign or billboard will make it work better.  Research all the options, understand all the options, then run tests to figure out where and how to invest your hard earned money the most effectively.