The current global health crisis has really paved the way for further digitization of business processes. We all know it would have happened anyway, but recent events have certainly paved the way to speed things up.
With digitization, access to various online resources, tools and platforms has increased, some of them being free.
However, it also meant increased competition between companies, regardless of industry or size. This means that even small business owners cannot afford not to invest in advertising.
Therefore, allow us to share our proven business advertising ideas to help you gain an edge over your competition.
12 Inexpensive and Creative Business Advertising Ideas
Here are 12 effective advertising ideas you can try, no matter what type of business you run:
1. Take advantage of online business listings
The first thing you can do to improve your online reputation and grow your audience is to make sure your business is listed in relevant online directories.
There are different ones for different industries. A good example of such listings is Yelp which caters to restaurants, entertainment establishments, and other forms of customer experiences.
Also take a look at location-focused online listings. For example, NiceLocal has a page specifically dedicated to their listings in Mumbai. This is especially crucial for businesses such as medical centers and educational institutions that need the added credibility and legitimacy of these referral centers.
However, we recommend that you prioritize getting your business listed on Google. Not only will this provide advertising opportunities, but it can also help advertise your store’s physical location online.
2. Launch a social media page
Business listings are managed and shared by SEO companies, so business owners generally have limited control over their projected brand.
Therefore, we recommend that you launch your own social media pages. It will also help increase your online presence. Other than that, most social media platforms provide affordable advertising opportunities for businesses.
The best thing we love about social media, however, is the ability to engage directly with your customers. You can even join groups within these platforms to further increase your visibility.
Try to provide value by answering questions, posting thoughtful comments, and sharing your expertise.
Finally, you can share a link to your social media page or website in your comment for more publicity. For example, 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 an aesthetically pleasing website, but making sure it’s professional and also contains substantial and relevant content.
The good news is that publishing a new blog or article will also give you content to share on your social media pages. Most importantly, make sure your website is well optimized for search engines or SEO.
This will allow it to rank higher in search results pages, increase your online visibility, and ultimately work as a free advertisement.
4. Offer an email newsletter
Contrary to popular belief, email is not dead. In fact, it remains one of the best advertising tools available.
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 simply limiting your advertising messages to an average social media post.
Here is an additional tip: Remember to mention essential business details in all your emails. They don’t need to be bulky. You can simply include these details in the footer of your post.
For example, will they find more information about you in your business listings via NiceLocal? So don’t forget to include them.
Those who need additional credibility, such as medical centers, financial companies and educational institutions, can also link their affiliates and member organizations. Finally, those who receive a lot of reviews, such as restaurants and hotels, can connect to their review platforms.
5. Collaborate with people online
Many successful free marketing and advertising campaigns are done in partnership with other brands, companies, and organizations. The advantage of this step is that it is easier to do online. There are also different ways to do this.
You can participate in online events, offer guest blogs on other websites, make appearances in online interviews, vlogs and podcasts, and more.
Just make sure these partnership projects are relevant to your business.
6. Collaborate with people offline
If you can collaborate online, you can also partner the traditional way. You can attend networking events (and find out if those events offer free marketing or advertising opportunities), form partnerships with other businesses, and more.
A good example for restaurants is partnering with event organizers. This way they will get free publicity from event companies. On the other hand, these event companies will also be able to increase their clientele by getting discounted catering services from you. It’s a win-win solution for everyone involved.
7. Launch a referral program
Other related businesses aren’t the only ones you can partner with for further advertising. Your loyal customers can also help you.
You can start a referral program by offering special offers to customers who can invite their friends and family to enjoy your products and services. Consider this method an improvement on the classic word-of-mouth advertising technique.
8. Launch a User-Generated Content Campaign
When it comes to a referral program, another method of marketing a business is to run a user-generated or UGC campaign. It’s a method that encourages your customers to share their experiences with you online in hopes of being rewarded later.
There are even companies that have managed to create a trend around their product that customers always create UGC whether they are rewarded or not.
For example, suppose you are a medical center. You can create a UGC campaign that revolves around the positive things patients are experiencing at your facility. Don’t forget to use a hashtag to track the progress of your campaign.
9. Get your business nominated for awards
Speaking of positive experiences, nothing beats recognition. Different online and offline award bodies reward the best in each industry.
Do some research around to check what opportunities are available in your particular area of expertise. More points if you have existing online listings and reviews.
For example, your NiceLocal and Yelp reviews can help the awarding organization learn more about the value you provide to your customers and determine whether or not you truly deserve it.
Here’s an extra tip: don’t name your business right away. You can increase your chances of winning by preparing for the prize beforehand.
10. Work for a cause
Another way to get your business noticed, not just by awarding 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? If so, you might be able to find ways to collaborate with them while gaining well-deserved recognition for your brand, both online and offline.
Best of all, these organizations are usually very upfront about the brands they work with. Consider your help and donations the same as if you were working with a business or marketing agency. Only this time your money will go to a good cause.
11. Participate in local events
We would be remiss if we did not highlight the value that local events provide in terms of obtaining affordable publicity. You will also be able to meet your customers personally, which will help establish a better relationship with them.
You can either get your stand or explore other advertising options, such as flyers, posters, and displays.
12. Enjoy Merchandise and Freebies
Posters and displays work great, but let’s face it, they don’t budge. Unless you have your billboard on a moving car, chances are their visibility will only be limited to a particular location for a set period of time.
This is where merchandise and gifts can help, especially those that can be worn or carried by your consumers all day.
Suppose you offer a shirt bearing your brand. This means that your business is advertised every time your customer wears this shirt. It will be seen by everyone they meet that day and more.
More importantly, you can ensure that your customer and the people around them will constantly remember your brand for as long as they use your merchandise.
This is what we call effective advertising or business marketing!
Maximize online visibility and advertising
It’s not always easy to run a business, even if it’s online. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to increase your advertising and, of course, your revenue.
Please don’t limit yourself to the commercial advertising ideas we have presented above. After all, these are just some of the methods you can try.
There are certainly others. These are just the ones we have tried and tested.