The current global health crisis really paved the way for the further digitization of business processes. We all know that it would have happened anyway, but the recent events certainly paved a way to hasten things.
With digitization came increased access to various online resources, tools, and platforms一some of them at no cost at all.
However, this also meant heightened competition between businesses regardless of their industry or scale. That means even small business owners can’t afford not to invest in advertising.
Hence, allow us to share our tried-and-tested business advertising ideas to help you gain an advantage over your competitors.
12 Business Advertising Ideas That Are Cheap and Creative
Here are 12 effective advertising ideas that you can try, no matter what type of business you’re running:
1. Take Advantage of Online Business Listings
The first thing you should do to boost your online reputation and expand your audience reach is to make sure that your business is listed on relevant online directories.
There are different ones for various industries. One good example of such listings is Yelp which caters to restaurants, entertainment establishments, and other forms of customer experiences.
Take a look at location-focused online listings as well. For instance, NiceLocal has a page specifically dedicated to their listings in Mumbai. This is especially crucial for businesses such as medical centers and educational facilities that need these listing hubs’ added credibility and legitimacy.
We recommend prioritizing getting your business listed on Google, though. Not only will it provide ad opportunities, but it can also help in posting your store’s physical location online.
2. Launch a Social Media Page
Business listings are handled and shared by listing companies, so business owners usually have limited control over their projected brand.
Hence, we recommend launching your own social media pages. It will also help increase your online presence. Aside from that, most social media platforms offer affordable advertising opportunities for businesses.
The best thing we love about social media, though, is the ability to engage with your customers directly. You can even join groups within those platforms to further boost your visibility.
Try to provide value by answering questions, posting well-thought-out comments, and sharing your expertise.
Finally, you can share a link to your social media page or website within your comment for further advertising. For instance, suppose you own a restaurant, it wouldn’t hurt to join food delivery groups on Facebook.
3. Have a Quality Website
By quality, we don’t just mean having a website that looks aesthetically pleasing but making sure that it’s professional and has substantial and relevant content as well.
The good news is, posting a new blog or article will give you some content to share on your social media pages as well. Most importantly, though, make sure your website has good search engine optimization or SEO.
This will allow it to rank higher in search result pages, boost your online visibility, and ultimately function as a free advertisement.
4. Offer an email Newsletter
Contrary to common misconception, email is not dead. In fact, it remains to be one of the best advertising tools available.
Just think about it. Your customers have already opted in to receive unlimited advertisements and other related messages from you the moment they share their email addresses.
emails also offer more space than just limiting your ad messages to an average social media post.
Here’s an extra tip: Don’t forget to mention essential business details in all of your emails. They don’t have to be space-consuming. You can simply include these details in the footer of your message.
For instance, will they find more information about you in your business listings via NiceLocal? Then don’t forget to include those.
Those needing extra credibility, such as medical centers, financial companies, and educational institutions, can also link their affiliates and member organizations. Finally, those receiving a lot of reviews, such as restaurants and hotels, can link to their review platforms.
5. Collaborate With People Online
Many successful free marketing and advertising campaigns are done by partnering with other brands, businesses, and organizations. The great thing about this step is that it’s easier to accomplish online. There are various ways to do so as well.
You can participate in online events, offer guest blogs on other websites, make guest appearances on online interviews, vlogs, and podcasts, and more.
Just make sure that these partnership projects are relevant to your business.
6. Collaborate with People Offline
If you can collaborate online, you can also partner up the traditional way. You can attend networking events (and find out if these events offer free marketing or ad opportunities), form partnerships with other businesses, and more.
One good example for restaurants is partnering with event organizers. In this way, they’ll gain free advertising from event companies. On the other hand, these event companies will also be able to increase their customers by getting discounted catering services from you. It’s a win-win solution for everyone involved.
7. Launch a Referral Program
Other related businesses are not the only ones you can partner with for further advertising. Your loyal customers can help as well.
You can launch a referral program by providing special offers to customers who can invite their friends and family to avail of your products and services. Think of this method as a level-up of the classic word-of-mouth advertising technique.
8. Launch a User-Generated Content Campaign
In relation to a referral program, another method of marketing a business is to launch a user-generated campaign or UGC. It is a method that encourages your customers to share their experiences with you online in the hopes of being rewarded later on.
There are even companies that succeeded in building a trend around their product that customers still create UGC regardless of whether they’ll be rewarded for it or not.
For instance, suppose you are a medical center. You can create a UGC campaign that revolves around the positive things that patients experienced in your establishment. Don’t forget to use a hashtag to track your campaign is going.
9. Get Your Business Nominated for Awards
Speaking of providing positive experiences, nothing advertises better than recognition. Different online and offline award-giving bodies recognize the best in each industry.
Research around to check which opportunities are available in your particular expertise. Plus points if you have existing online listings and reviews.
For instance, your NiceLocal and Yelp reviews can help the award-giving organization learn more about the value you provide your customers and determine whether you truly are deserving or not.
Here’s an extra tip: Don’t nominate your business immediately. You can increase your chances of winning by preparing for the award beforehand.
10. Work for a Cause
Another way to get your business noticed, not just by award-giving bodies but by consumers in general, is to work for a cause.
Are there charitable groups and institutions that reflect the same values as your company? Then maybe you can work out ways to collaborate with them while getting your brand some well-deserved recognition both online and offline.
Even better, these organizations are usually very outspoken about the brands that they work with. Consider your help and donations the same way you would in working with a business marketing or agency. Only this time, your money will go to a good cause.
11. Participate in Local Events
We will be remiss if we don’t stress the value that local events provide in terms of getting affordable advertising. You’ll also be able to meet your customers personally, which helps forge a better relationship with them.
You can either get your booth or explore other ad options, such as flyers, posters, and standees.
12. Take Advantage of Merchandise and Freebies
Posters and standees work great, but let’s face it, they don’t move around. Unless you have your billboard on a moving car, chances are, their visibility will only be limited to a particular location for a fixed period of time.
This is where merchandise and freebies can help, especially those that can be worn or carried around by your consumers all day.
Suppose you’re giving away a shirt that has your brand on it. This means your business gets advertised every time your customer wears this shirt. It will be seen by everyone they’ll encounter that day and more.
More importantly, you can make sure that your customer and the people surrounding them will be constantly reminded of your brand for as long as they use your merchandise.
That’s what we call effective advertising or marketing of business!
Maximizing Online Visibility and Advertising
It’s not always easy to run a business, even if it’s online. Fortunately, there are many ways to boost your advertising and, of course, your revenue.
Please don’t limit yourself to the business advertising ideas we featured above. After all, they are just some of the methods you can try.
There are definitely others out there. These were only the ones we have tried and tested.
Disclaimer: Content Produced by Nicelocal
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