10th Nov

Advertising On A Budget

Starting a small business is never easy. Your resources are limited and advertising is usually the thing that gets the least amount of attention. Most small businesses function by first spending the majority of the resources on the business start up (rent, utilities etc). Then whatever is left over is spent on advertising. We could go on about that being a bad idea, but that is another blog.

Even though limited advertising revenue can set a small business up for limited exposure (and ultimately, limited customers) we need to be realistic. The beginning stages of a small business are like baby turtles trying to make the journey from the beach to the ocean. They are very delicate, and needed to be treated with care. In some cases, this might mean baby steps with the advertising.

Here we provide three different ways that you can advertise on a budget and still make an impact in the market.

TIP 1: Sign up to local listings

Sites like Yelp, yahoo local, tripadvisor and urbanspoon all have one great thing in common. They are free!

If you aren’t aware of these sites, they serve as a way for consumers to trade information about local businesses and give reviews. These sites are becoming increasingly used as a way for customers to discern where to shop. However, even though these sites are used frequently, you would be amazed at how many small business owners do not utilise these services!

By making an account on these sites, you open yourself up to more exposure. If your business produces a quality product, or has exceptional customer service, people will give you positive rankings on these sites.

A side-tip to getting higher rankings is to ask customers to leave positive reviews on these sites after using your services. If you do this frequently enough, you will slowly build up a high ranking that will serve as its own form of advertising on the site. When people search for “best ranked X,” your business will appear. This is immensely powerful.

TIP 2: Use Search Engines Wisely

If you’ve ever heard the term Search Engine Marketing and don’t know what it means, it is essentially exactly what is sounds like – marketing through online search engines. Simply put, if you want your business to be seen, then you need visibility across all the major search engines. These include Yahoo, Ninemsn (Bing) and of course Google. Together, this covers 97% of the places people search. By getting wide coverage you ensure that no matter what your target audience, they will be able to find you easily.

But wide coverage is generally not enough to get real visibility. This is because there are numerous businesses that also have access to these search engines, which means that your search may get buried under hundreds of others. In order to combat this issue you should employ two main techniques – Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and AdWords.

SEO involves utilising keywords that are highly searched by customers looking for your product/service, and weaving them into the copy of your website. Sites like Google will put websites that are the most relevant to the search (by keywords) at the top of the page. With SEO, you avoid the issue of having your website knocked back to the 2nd page and beyond. This is crucial, because most people never look past the first page of results!

AdWords is the placement of paid advertising on search engines like Google. Ads will appear on the first page of search results and bypass the problem of 1stpage kickback. AdWords is relatively cheap compared to more upscale advertising efforts like Television.

TIP 3: Advertise on Facebook

With the amount of people currently using Facebook, you are pretty much assured that you will be able to find you target audience using the site too. The beauty of Facebook is that it allows you to target directly to certain audiences based on age, gender and location.

The first step to advertising here is to figure out how much you have to allocate to advertising your business on Facebook. Facebook allows you to set your own advertising budget, making it perfect for smaller-scale campaigns. You can set your daily advertising budget to as little as 5 dollars per day. If you can afford more, then we recommended it, because a larger budget means your campaign reaches a larger audience. However, do what is best suited to your situation.

Facebook advertising enables you the capability to ‘switch off’ your campaign at any time, which means that you will no longer be charged from that point. But we recommend that you stick with an Facebook campaign for at least 15 days to get a decent sense of whether it is working or not.

Advertising on a budget has never been easier than it is today. With the plethora of online avenues, you have a great chance at making a powerful little campaign with limited funds. Don’t let a limited budget stop you from not making it off the ground!

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