Small Business Advice

10 tips to advertise your business at any budget

Looking for some of the best yet affordable ways to reach a wider audience and customer base? Use these 10 quick tips to better advertise your small business.

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Small business advertising doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Granted, some mediums of advertising like direct mail and TV ads cost a lot1, which makes them viable options if you have a ton of financial resources. But if you are working with a shoestring budget and are looking to stretch it, then you will love these 10 budget-friendly tips to advertise your business.

In today’s world, a lot of small business advertising happens on the internet. Digital marketing accounts for 60.4% of all advertising spending, followed distantly by national TV ads (13.9%), local TV ads (7.6%) and radio ads (5.1%)2. Considering the internet is free, yet it’s used by over 5 billion people (or 63%) around the world3, it provides a practical low-cost, high impact platform for getting the word out about your brand and products.

Combine it with some offline advertising strategies like setting up a stand at your local trade show and you’ll have given your business a good chance of discoverability and growth. Whether you are a freelancer or an established business, advertising can benefit you. And with that in mind, we look at some small business advertising tips that can quickly take your company from 0 to 100.

1. Create a website for your business

Between 70 and 80% of consumers research a company on the internet before visiting or making a purchase4. In other words, if you don’t have a website that people can check out, you potentially lose up to 80% of would-be customers.

It doesn’t matter how small or old-fashioned your business is, it needs a website to create an online presence. In addition to potential buyers using it to find you, your current customers will frequently visit your site to stay up to date with your products. Even those who find you on social media will want to check out your website before making a purchase.

Use the website to tell a good story about your brand and all the products/services that you provide. Make sure it captures your brand personality in a way that your target audience can relate with.

Even though there are several free tools for creating websites, chances are you will need to hire the services of a web developer to get a professional site. While at it, do not forget to include a blog and create engaging content for it. Your blog content will pull traffic to your site, after which you can direct that traffic to your products.

2. Do search engine optimization

Having a website is important, but getting it to rank higher on search engines is perhaps more critical to sales. The process of improving your website so that it appears higher on search engines (ideally on the first page) is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO basically increases your website’s visibility when people search for terms that are relevant to your brand or products. For example, if you sell running shoes, Google and other search engines may bring up your store when people search for terms like “best running shoes for ladies”.

By constantly increasing your visibility and suggesting your products, search engines help you make sales. In fact, research shows that search engine leads have a conversion rate of 14.6%, which is around 12% more than traditional mediums of small business advertising6.

3. Open a Google Business Profile and have it verified

Google boasts 92.5% share of the search engine market5, which makes it a no-brainer to have your own Google Business Profile. This profile is essentially your business’s listing across Google platforms, including on Search, Local Pack, and Maps. Thus, when customers search for the products that you offer, Google suggests your business as one of the places to buy them from. And with Google Maps integration, it can literally direct them to your store front.

It's important to get your Google Business Profile verified because that’s what will make your business show up on Google’s platforms. The best part? Google Business is completely free. It’s, therefore, an option even if you have absolutely no budget for marketing.

4. Create profiles on other major directories

Apart from Google Business, you can also sign up to other online directories to increase your discoverability and web traffic. Many of these directories are free (with optional premium features) yet have millions of potential customers.

For example, Yelp gets 92 million visits each month7 from people looking for restaurants, hotels, retail stores, home services etc. 92% of those who visit Yelp often end up making a purchase. Thus, if you have a Yelp listing, there’s a 92% chance that everyone who sees your business will buy your products.

And it’s not just Yelp, there are many more popular online directories, including Bing, Glassdoor, Craigslist, Foursquare, Yellow Pages and White Pages. Others are ideal for specific niches. These include Zillow for real estate, TripAdvisor for travel companies, Angie’s List for home services. In every directory, make sure to optimize your listing by including concise information about your business as well as helpful photos.

5. Connect with consumers on social media

Using social media platforms is up there with the most helpful tips to advertise your business. 58.7% of the world’s population (or 4.65 billion people) is on social media8. That includes 72% of all U.S. consumers9. If you want to reach them – or at least some of those who may be interested in your brand and products – you simply must have a social media presence.

Some entrepreneurs avoid these platforms or consider them a time waster, but the truth is these platforms allow you to showcase your products, interact with consumers, provide additional information about your goods, collect customer feedback, and – perhaps more importantly to marketing – reach a wider audience. Every like on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, or share on Instagram represents a potential buyer. You can also create accounts on TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and basically any other social media platform where your business can get exposure and potential buyers. It’s an excellent way to do small business advertising because social media platforms are free – of course, unless you take paid advertising, which is a good option too if you have the budget for it.

6. Use visuals

Not just any visuals, high quality visuals. These include photos and videos of your products in websites, blog posts and social media posts. Stats show that 65% of people retain information for at least three days when it’s presented with visuals. Only 10% remember things that you publish without visuals10.

Needless to say, retention of information is a key part of brand recognition and loyalty. Plus, videos and photos generally make your content more interesting, which can increase interactions and online visibility. You don’t necessarily need to invest in professional production equipment. Oftentimes you’ll be able to capture captivating content using a decent enough smartphone.

7. Put out press releases

Have a new product? Create a press release for it. Has your business achieved a noteworthy milestone? Do a press release. Alongside publishing them on your business website, make sure to send these press releases to your local news outlets. Those that will pick and publish your stories will give your business free publicity and allow it to reach a wider audience.

Pitching your business activities to the media may seem intimidating at first. But you should know that up to 78% of journalists still want to receive press releases frequently11, and many of them usually end up publishing those releases.

8. Encourage customers to leave online reviews

84% of consumers trust internet reviews as much as they trust product recommendations from friends. More interestingly, customer reviews can increase close rate by up to 270%, and 92% of potential buyers will hesitate to complete a purchase if the product has no reviews12.

That’s to say, while word of mouth recommendations are good, online reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp and Facebook are better for business. Once you set up your online profiles on these platforms, make sure to encourage your customers to review and rate your business. Monitor and respond to these reviews. That will not only increase your interactions and reach, but it may also offer additional helpful information to other buyers who need more reassurance about the quality of your products.

9. Consider paid advertising

Organic marketing is a great way to gain brand loyalty. However, it can be quite slow. If you need to expand your reach quicker, you can look into paid advertising techniques. There are multiple of them, starting with Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads and basically sponsored ads for all other search engine and social media platforms.

One advantage of online paid ads is that they may pick out and focus on your actual target audience. And with engines like Google that offer pay-per-click, you get to pay depending on the interactions that the ad gets. This translates to nearly 100% value. However, keep in mind that this value won’t necessarily translate to sales. In fact, 94% of users usually skip over paid ads on Google13. Therefore, before investing in a pay-per-click program, make sure that it can offer the results you want.

Beyond online platforms, you may also consider TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine ads. These are essentially traditional methods of marketing, but they are still quite effective, especially for spreading the word within your local area.

10. Join communities

Whether online or offline, getting involved in communities can help put your brand out there for people to notice it. There are industry-specific groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit etc. that have people who may be interested in your products. In addition to making impressions, build connections with members through active contribution. Consider writing guest posts or giving advice based on your experience. This will increase your profile visibility and boost your company’s credibility.

When it comes to offline interactions, you can participate in community events that are based in your area. If you have the budget for it, consider attending, hosting or sponsoring local events and trade shows. Have your banners and fliers around so that people get to see your brand and products.

As you can see, these are pretty straightforward tips to advertise your business. You can implement most of them immediately with little to no cash requirements. For example, you don’t need a budget to join social media platforms or create a Google Business profile. Once you have those in place, you can implement the other small business advertising tips one by one, depending on which is easiest for you.

References

  1. Streetwise Small Business Start-Up. “Choosing Advertising Mediums.” VentureChoice, 18 May 2022, http://www.venturechoice.com/articles/choose_adv_medium.htm
  2. Statista. “Share of advertising spending in the United States in 2022, by medium.” 20 Apr. 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/183704/us-advertising-spend-by-medium-in-2009/
  3. Data Reportal. “Digital Around the World.” 18 May 2022, https://datareportal.com/global-digital-overview
  4. Nick G. “What Percentage of Small Businesses Have a Website.” Review 42, 7 March 2022, https://review42.com/resources/what-percentage-of-small-businesses-have-a-website/
  5. Statista. “Worldwide desktop market share of leading search engines from January 2010 to January 2022.” 20 Apr. 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/216573/worldwide-market-share-of-search-engines/
  6. Johnna Wahrman. “What Are the Benefits of SEO?” Rival Mind, 18 Aug. 2020, https://www.rivalmind.com/what-are-the-benefits-of-seo
  7. Iva Marinova. “25+ Groundbreaking Yelp Statistics to Make 2022 Count.” Review 42, 7 March 2022, https://review42.com/resources/yelp-statistics/
  8. Data Reportal. “Global Social Media Statistics.” 18 May 2022, https://datareportal.com/social-media-users
  9. Pew Research Center. “Social Media Fact Sheet.” 7 Apr. 2021, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/
  10. Leamon Crooms. “Top Content Marketing Statistics for Marketers in 2021.” Strategic Growth Advisors LLC, 1 Jul. 2021, https://www.stratgrow.com/content-marketing-statistics-2021/
  11. Prowly. “20+ PR Industry Statistics You Should Know in 2022.” 18 May 2022, https://prowly.com/magazine/pr-statistics/
  12. Patricia Hester. “26 Mind-Boggling Online Review Statistics & Facts for 2022.” Website Builder, 18 Dec. 2021, https://websitebuilder.org/blog/online-review-statistics/
  13. Susie Marino. “11 Legitimately Scary PPC Stats Every Advertiser Should Know (+Survival Tips).” Wordstream, 9 Dec. 2021, https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2021/10/26/online-advertising-statistics
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