Small businesses are often faced with the challenge of advertising effectively on limited budgets. You need to advertise to get noticed, grow your business and keep growing. But small business advertising ideas look a lot different and don’t necessarily need a huge budget.
Small businesses can take advantage of Free and low-budget advertising ideas.
And they should invest in advertising to build brand awareness among a larger audience.
What is brand advertising?
No matter how great your product or service is, it can’t guarantee success until you have the consumer’s attention. Brand advertising is a type of strategy that develops long-term brand recognition and strong relationship with clients.
The purpose of brand ads is to create a positive brand identity, awareness, credibility, and loyalty with consumers over time.
What Is Small Business Advertising?
Small business advertising means putting your brand before your target audience, using cost-effective methods, especially online advertising methods. By knowing different ways to advertise, you will save your budget and escape from mistakes small businesses make.
There are different types of advertising approaches that your small business can take. You can focus on digital ad platforms. Or, you can choose more traditional ways to run ads for business. Investing strategically in advertising for small businesses can result in a high ROI and bring value to your company.
What is the best way to advertise a small business?
For many small business owners, advertising reminds them of billboards, TV commercials, and huge budgets that can’t even be tracked.
Online advertising is among all the different ways to advertise a small business. If you are at the beginning of your journey and don’t know where to invest your money, you’d better choose online over offline and traditional advertising.
It lets you know the exact level of engagement. You have access to complete insight, and you reach more people with a cost that makes sense.
Top low budget small business advertising ideas
If you’re looking for small business advertising ideas on a shoestring budget or free business advertising ideas, here are some ideas you should give them a try:
1. Social media marketing
Social media is not about likes and views. With interaction, being authentic, and having great content with consistency, you can succeed. The opportunity is limitless and free to enter. It’s something you can’t pass as a small business.
There are many reasons why people are on social media, 21% of people use social media just to follow celebrities or influencers. Therefore influencer marketing is a great tool you can’t ignore.
1.1- Ainfluencer- easy and cost-effective influencer marketing platform
Ainfluencer is an influencer marketing platform that connects brands and influencers. Also, it makes Instagram influencer marketing and ads on the marketplace easy and fast. The platform is 100% free to use with no hidden fees.
As a small business, you can create your marketplace ad for a business and explore and invite influencers relevant to your brand at a logical cost.
As a brand, you can sign up for free on Ainfluencer on your desktop using your email address. Then it’s time to enter your brand info and create the ad for business with a clear and engaging title, description, sample image/video, and campaign details. Your ad will be shown in a marketplace where thousands of qualified influencers are looking for a brand to collaborate with.
Once you are done with your ad, explore and invite influencers. Ainfluencer’s AI engine finds influencers for you based on your location, language, gender, hashtag, and more.
With Ainfluncer, you have the opportunity to manage the offers you have made or received, chat with influencers, and finally get real-time analytics to track your campaign performance from start to finish.
1.2- Social media ads
93% of social media marketers use Facebook to promote their business. Paid advertising on popular social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is another attainable and effective way to advertise your small business. A budget based on ads can do great since you are informed when you decide what to spend. You can also start, stop and pause your ads anytime, so you’re always in control.
1.3- LinkedIn company page
LinkedIn has become much more than a means of finding another job. The world’s largest professional social network is now a valuable publishing platform in its own right, which means you should be posting content to LinkedIn on a regular basis. Doing so can boost traffic to your site and increase your profile within your industry.
2. Email Marketing
It is considered to be one of the most effective ways to advertise a small business for free. You should strategize email funnels, collect emails and use them when you launch a new product, post a new blog or have a discount. It’s also great for retargeting. Brands can use retargeting as a great small business advertising tool to keep your customers coming back and revisiting you. Just be careful not to bombard people with emails about every single update in your business.
Mailchimp is a great email marketing tool to start with.
3. Local advertising
Local advertising can be a helpful small business advertising method by strategically placing advertisements in high-traffic areas near and around your business and where your immediate customers live.
Local business advertising is important to create awareness of small businesses. Don’t underestimate the power of your local community to get the word out about your business.
How to advertise a small business locally?
As a business owner, you need to stand out from your competitors and connect with your local consumers. But Targeting local customers needs a strategy. Follow these marketing strategies to better promote your business locally:
Brands that want to reach a target group in a specific region can get the most out of working with local influencers. This can actually be a better small business advertising tactic because the audience is more likely to take action since the content is very relevant to them.
Advertising on Instagram with local influencers can position your product with better wording. There’s far less convincing work to do and less risk involved.
You can find influencers based on their location on Ainfluencer and connect with them.
Check out this video to see how Ainfluencer can help you with local advertising:
Create Google my business account
For local businesses especially, a Google Business Profile has become one of the most effective small business advertising strategies available. This free business advertising tool, with its listing feature, allows your business to show up on Google Maps, the local section of Google Search, and the right-side Knowledge Panel for branded searches.
Sponsor a Local Event
Contribute financially toward local charitable or community events. You’ll likely get your business in front of participants. And you’ll get the satisfaction of supporting a community.
4. Referral promotion
Referral programs can bring huge wins for businesses, whether large or small, but you must make sure your customers know they can benefit by telling their friends about your brand.
In referral tactics, Customers are essentially doing marketing for you! They are promoting straight to their network, usually in person or on social media, which makes word of mouth not only cost-effective but highly valuable.
Tesla is a successful example of referral promotion. To this day, Elon Musk and Tesla are never out of the news.
Tesla’s customer satisfaction rate is 89 out of 100, putting it ahead of all other car manufacturers around the globe. In 2016, Musk capitalized on his customers’ loyalty and launched a referral program that provides a great example of rewarding referrals with something other than pure product discounts.
Since 2019, Tesla’s switched up their referral program to allow successful referrers to earn 1,000 miles (1,500 kilometers) of free Supercharging with the purchase of a new Tesla car by anyone using their referral code.
But, if that wasn’t tempting enough, Tesla is also giving successful referrers a chance to win a Model Y every month or Roadster supercar every quarter based on the number of successful referrals. Each Tesla owner can give friends up to 10, US$1,000 discounts.
5. Relationship Building
If your business is primarily online, consider adding networking to your marketing tactics. Remember, business success is about relationships, and networking allows you to make the types of relationships that lead to sales, referrals, and other significant business growth. Other types of relationship-building are:
5.1- Interview Industry Leaders
For your small business advertising goals, you need to interview the leaders in the industry, and you’d be shocked how many of the thought leaders in your industry will be willing to talk to you if you just send out emails requesting an interview, and publish the interviews on your blog.
Not only will the name recognition boost your credibility and increase traffic to your website, but the interviewee will also probably share the content too, further expanding its reach.
5.2- networking events
Using social media and building up your digital networks is essential, but don’t forget about traditional “face-to-face” networking as well! You don’t even have to look at pricey, membership-only groups as there are a host of smaller, more affordable events on sites like meetup.com to consider. Attending a networking event can be a great way of growing your reputation, building relationships, and finding new business opportunities, so bring a stack of business cards and become one with your elevator pitch before you go.
5.3- Join professional or business organizations
This is just a more specific way of networking and a great way to make business contacts.
6. Content marketing
Content marketing for small businesses if done with a good strategy can add great value for your business in a long time. It’s a great small business advertising strategy but practical with more needed time.
User-Generated Content is the new word of mouth strategy. Do your customers share their reviews about your product with their friends?
If yes, you should make the most of UGC with good strategies.
Share the love, let them know they are appreciated, and be sure to get permission from the person who posted the photo first. Don’t underestimate happy customers!
Here is how “gisou”, a haircare brand uses UGC content:
Gisou relies on social media platforms to get in front of consumers by showcasing its product through a candid video that showcases the before and after results of a model influencer.
Doing what gisou does is a great way for brands to showcase the value of their product in a real way. If you do this, you can’t help but level up how relatable, and usable your brand comes across.
7. Video advertising
As consumer preferences change, simply posting images or writing copy won’t always get you the results you’re looking for. 92% of marketers say videos are an important part of their marketing strategy.
For your small business advertising journey, video can be a great idea. Video is a highly effective form of content, and it’s getting more popular with the rise of social media. And You don’t need tons of dollars if you are creative with your video advertising.
“Dollar Shave Club” is an excellent example of a viral video with no weird budget spent on it. With its grand storytelling and being direct and to the point with the founder of DSC building trust. And after the video is finished, the viewers get the point of the video and are directed to the website. This video has over a 27million views!
8. Run informative webinars
If reaching a potential audience in person doesn’t sound like your idea of a small business advertising idea, you can always host a webinar. Webinars are free advertising ideas to promote your business by providing helpful information to interested customers.
Webinar platforms such as Webex and GoToMeeting allow you to broadcast your webinar with just a few button clicks. Make sure to promote your webinar on social media or through an email newsletter one to two weeks before the event and include reminders to registrants so that they don’t miss it.
9. Paye-Per-Click advertising
PPC advertising is a type of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee every time a user clicks on one of their ads, usually through a search engine. Advertisers bid on ad placements within the search engine, meaning they set a maximum price they’re willing to pay for a user to click on their ads.
If a person sees your ad but doesn’t click on it, you aren’t charged anything. The most common platforms for PPC advertising are Google Ads and Bing Ads. PPC advertising is a form of search engine marketing (SEM). It can be a great option for small business advertising with minimal budgets.
10. Give Away Something For Free
The best source for free business advertising is giving away something for free. There are a number of different social media contest types out there, but the main idea is to require registrants to like, follow, or tag your business, or tag someone else on your post, to get your name out there and introduce potential clients to your services.
11. Develop business partnerships
Start doing cross-promotion with other businesses. Cross-promotion keeps things cheap by sharing advertising costs, and it can create valuable synergies that benefit all the partners.
12. Participate in a joint venture
This is another excellent way to lower your costs as a small business.
A joint venture is a temporary partnership that two companies form to gain mutual benefits by sharing costs, risks, and rewards. You can use a joint venture partnership to speed up the expansion of your business by gaining access to scarce skills or entry into new markets.
13. Native advertising
Native advertising is an excellent small business advertising method. It enables advertisers to promote their brand, products, or services in a non-intrusive way on websites where their target audience likes to visit.
As opposed to banners and other traditional ads, native advertising does not interrupt users’ web experiences; instead, it fits seamlessly within the context.
This is how native ads appear on web pages:
14. Mobile app advertising
Mobile advertising is a type of digital advertising in which ads are served only on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Mobile advertising can include:
- Mobile display ads
- Mobile search ads
- Mobile videos
- Mobile app ads, which are meant to drive downloads of a brand’s app
- Social media ads served on mobile devices only
Having a mobile advertising strategy can pay off for your small business as 84% of adult customers under 30 are most likely to shop online using a mobile device.
15. Guerilla marketing
Guerilla marketing emphasizes creativity over budget, and strategies are often cheap and easy to implement, especially when localized. Broadcast your Twitter handle with sidewalk chalk, use an abandoned storefront as a canvas for street art, or plaster custom stickers on urban decor that makes those who stroll by look twice.
There’s a ton of room for invention here, and you don’t need a big budget to succeed.
Check out Frontline’s campaign, and yes! Its people, not fleas!
Today more than ever, small business advertising strategies are essential. Small businesses can achieve remarkable results with free or low-budget advertising ideas. It’s a matter of exploring all the available opportunities offline and online.
No matter how big or small your business is, online ads are necessary, especially for small businesses, as their resources are limited. But with the right strategies, identifying the goals and target audience, you can drive leads, sales, and boost revenue.
With different ways of advertising, from TV commercials, magazine ads, billboards to social media ads, mobile marketing, etc, you have to manage your budget and save as much as you can. Use free online platforms to start generating leads and get the most of your resources.
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue on marketing and advertising.
The cheapest way to advertise is social media ads, generally speaking. These kinds of ads can be placed starting as little as $20