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Advertising that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg


Question: What type of advertising can I undertake for my small business that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?

Answer: Anita Campbell, guest blogger for Small Business Trends, reported in the U.S. SBA newsletter, “Advertising can be a powerful way to deal with marketing challenges such as low brand awareness, a declining customer base or heavy competition. Or perhaps you simply have a desire to drive more foot traffic to your business and think advertising can help.”

Most of us cannot afford a 30-second national TV ad during a big championship game at $400,000. Luckily, there are many more affordable and cost-effective techniques available if you choose wisely. Here are seven types of advertising that need not cost a lot, and can fit within a small-business promotion budgets:

  • Sign spinners: Holding a grand opening? Running a special sale? Consider a sign spinner service, i.e., someone who holds up a large sign near the main thoroughfare and spins it around to capture attention. At $30 an hour (rates vary by market) for a professional sign-spinning service, it would cost $750 to advertise five hours a day for five days. Factor in the cost of printing a large sign, too. Check your local ordinances to make sure sign spinning is allowed.
  •  Event and charity sponsorships: Sponsoring local events such as fun runs or bike races (example: Last Gasp), sporting events (Seaside LeMans), Cape Cod Baseball League, charity events or causes can be relatively inexpensive. You can get considerable visibility starting as little as $500. Donate branded giveaway items at the event such as key chains, notepads or water bottles with your company logo at a cost of a few hundred dollars more. You’ll not only get business visibility, but also the satisfaction of supporting your community or favorite cause.
  •  Every Door Direct Mail: One of the U.S. Postal Service’s innovations is a lower-cost way to send direct mail. With the Every Door Direct mapping tool, you identify neighborhoods you want to reach. For example, the retailers and shops of West Dennis Village could identify and send 1,500 postcards for under $795 including four color 5″x7″ post cards and the Every Door Direct special postage rate of $0.177 per piece.
  •  Social media ads: Ads on social sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter can cost just pennies for each person who views your ad. The way each social platform charges is different, and the type of action you are looking for (view, click-through etc.) can vary the rate. With social media ads you can set a small daily budget — perhaps just $20 per day, or around $600 a month. You can boost a Facebook post and reach 1,400 Cape Cod business people for a $30 investment.• Classified ads: Classified ads are perfect if you are looking to post a job opening or offer a household service such as lawn cutting or cleaning. A typical print/digital classified ad investment with Cape Cod Media — 1 column by 3-inch display ad twice a week in the Cape Cod Times (print), once a week in the Dollar Saver (reach 51,000), Digital Box ad (40,000 impressions) costs $900 per month.

Note: The above advertising cost estimates are just that — estimates. Many factors affect advertising costs, so always get firm price quotes in advance.

Finally, remember that the most benefit comes from combining advertising with other marketing. For example, advertising your grand opening along with hiring a DJ and providing food during the event, together with a publicity campaign targeting your local media and postings on your social media channels, may get far more mileage than advertising alone.




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