You’ve prepared your advertising budget, now what next? How do you achieve the most value for your money? Don’t blow your advertising budget on an expensive radio advert which goes out at 3am. Spread your risk and save money by investing in a range of low-cost advertising options
1. Get into local classified directories
Many people turn to their local classified directory first when they have a need. Consider a basic, free entry in a print directory, featuring your business name and contact details or a higher profile paid advert. These entries will give you a prominence in consumers’ homes for at least a year. A complementary or alternative option would be to advertise with an online directory service, or have a profile on a 118 directory enquiries service.
2. Use your local press. Whether through a successful press release or a classified advert, featuring in your local newspaper will get you in front of local people. Local newspapers, either paid-for or free, may be worthwhile considering if you have a short-term promotion or a sale to advertise.
3. Use free notice boards. A small printed advert on your local supermarket or community centre notice board will be seen by a surprising number of people – and it’s usually free. Focus on your unique selling point to attract the attention of browsers.
4. Make more use of business cards. Business cards are very useful for reinforcing word-of-mouth recommendations. Carry plenty with you and give two to contacts – one for themselves, one to pass on.
5. Print and distribute flyers. A flyer through the door with a clear unique selling point, business name and contact details stands a good chance of bringing enquiries. Printing usually starts at around £70 for 250 flyers; if you have them professionally designed, add a one-off cost of around £200. Exchange flyers with other businesses – for example, a wedding venue if you are a photographer.
6. Give away branded merchandise. Merchandising manufacturers cater for all budgets. Stick to useful items that people will actually use, such as t-shirts, key-rings, mugs and pens, and give these to customers, suppliers and anyone else at every opportunity.
7. Sponsor a local sports team. Most small teams will be happy to wear your logo in return for some kit – and supporting your local side will reinforce your community identity. Fourteen shirts can cost as little as £150; good quality complete kit is likely to set you back around £500.
8. Use public transport. Bus, taxi and train companies often carry advertising posters inside vehicles and stations, and thousands of people see them. It’s not as pricey as you might think – a poster panel in some London Underground stations, for example, can cost as little as £85 for two weeks.
9. Brand your business vehicle. Carrying your logo while you’re on the move can establish a strong presence in your community. Prices for small panels start at around £100; a vehicle wrap will cost up to £2,000, but will last for up to five years and could be seen by thousands of people.
10. Endorse car park tickets. Everybody uses them, and few people remove them straight away – mostly they sit inside car windows for a few days before being peeled off. Approximately £500 will get your name on 90,000 tickets.
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