For many small business owners, the word “advertising” brings to mind billboards, radio ads, tv commercials, snail-mail flyers, and lots of dollar signs. In today’s world, however, small business advertising ideas look a lot different and don’t have to involve a huge budget.
What Is Small Business Advertising?
Small business advertising is the cost-efficient method of putting your brand and website in front of a targeted audience using digital marketing avenues like social media advertising.
The popularity of social media means that you can easily reach your target audience from the comfort of their computer or cell phone.
According to one recent survey, 11 new people join social media every minute. And more than 70% of North Americans use social media daily. If your business isn’t making the most of that captive audience, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity.
In addition to the impressive potential audiences, there are many advantages to social media marketing:
- Relatively low barriers of entry: If you have a computer or cell phone, you can make social media accounts for your business. Advertising prices vary across different platforms, but when you compare the price of a Facebook ad to the price of a 30-second TV commercial or radio spot, it’s obvious which is more affordable, especially for a small business with a smaller advertising budget.
- Easily customizable to your business: Social media is made to be customized. Incorporating your brand standards (including consistent fonts and colors) into your photos is a simple way to make sure that when customers see your content, they immediately know where it’s coming from, and are able to associate great content with your business.
- Can be as simple or elaborate as you like: Whether you’re working on implementing a year-long, multi platform campaign or just want to place a few ads – social media can accommodate your content and advertising strategy. There are tons of small business advertising ideas out there, and it’s easy to build a strategy that works for your business by picking and choosing which advertising ideas will best connect with your target audience.
- Targeting is easier than ever: With digital marketing, you have a lot of control over who sees your ads. Demographics based on age, gender, and location are only the tip of the iceberg. So you know that the ads and content you’ve worked so hard on are going to be seen by actual potential customers!
You may be wondering, “What does small business advertising actually look like? What are good advertisement ideas? And how do I advertise my small business?”
If you’re ready to start taking advantage of social media marketing, or if you’re struggling to come up with new and creative advertisement ideas, here are our top 12 small business advertising ideas that will help drive qualified traffic to your site!Image courtesy of Curalate
Top 12 Small Business Advertising Ideas
1. Make the Most of User-Generated Content: Sometimes the best advocates for your brand or business are your current patrons! Be sure to check the “Community” tab on your Facebook page and see what your customers are saying. Are they taking pictures of their favorite dish at your restaurant, or showing off the results of your skin-care products?
It’s time to share the love! Be sure to get permission from the person who posted the photo first. Then find creative ways to show it off, such as a collage of happy customers. Or like this women’s boutique did with a series of Sunday Shoutout posts to let their customers know they are loved and appreciated!
2. Answer The Questions Your Audience is Asking: Do a quick search of your business online: what questions are people asking? An important thing to remember when brainstorming small business advertising ideas is that providing value to your audience creates loyal customers. And there’s no easier way to do this than to simply provide answers to your customers most frequently asked questions.
If one person is asking a question, it’s likely that others are as well. Yelp reviews, Amazon reviews, and Facebook are great places to check for questions. Write a list of the best questions. Then create simple, branded graphics to answer them and post on the appropriate social platforms.
3. Put Those Reviews to Good Use: A social media page filled with rave reviews is great! And if you have one, good for you! But are you repurposing those reviews? You should be!
Studies show that more than 80% of customers read and trust online reviews when it comes to making purchases. Turn those hard-earned five star reviews into marketing materials that show off how happy your customers are! Pair your favorite product or location photos with your best reviews to create a simple, customized graphic that spreads the word about your stellar customer service and awesome events in a new, eye-catching format.
Image courtesy of invesp
4. Teach a Skill with Video: Let’s face it; the reigning content format for most social platforms is video. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Video is predicted to account for 80% of internet traffic by 2019. And 90% of viewers say that video content is a factor in their purchasing decisions. Take advantage of this knowledge and create video that provides value to your customers.
Live venue tours and product demos are always popular! But one of the best small business advertising ideas for video is to use it to teach a new skill. Chances are that the phone in your pocket already has the ability to take pretty great video. So grab an employee or a tripod, find a quiet place to film, and show what you know!
How-to videos or quick advice videos bring more eyes to your business, as well as establishing you as a source of knowledge in your industry. Which leads to trust, brand loyalty, and more sales.
5. Contests Are a Win-Win in the World of Small Business Advertising Ideas:
Running a sweepstakes or giveaway contest is a great way to drive business to your social media platforms and website. The key to a successful contest is to make sure that it results in a win-win situation. The winner of the contest gets an awesome prize that turns them into a loyal customer and brand ambassador. And it generates audience growth for your business as well.
Even better, contests that ask your audience to take photos or leave reviews have the added bonus of generating content that you can continue to use in your advertising strategy in the future. A local Manhattan pizza restaurant did just that and used one of our small business advertising ideas with their Snap-a-Slice Instagram contest.
Instagram makes for a great platform for small business advertising ideas that involve contests. Because it is a visual format, it makes it easy to gauge audience interaction and response to your contest. You can also use hashtags to track the success of your giveaway and any user generated content that might be created in the process.
6. Be a Guest Blogger: Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry is imperative to a successful marketing strategy. And guest blogging is one of our favorite small business advertising ideas because it allows you to spread that expertise to a wider audience than you might usually reach.
The trick to successful guest blogging is to partner with an individual or company that is complementary to yours, and not a competitor. A guest blog should be informative, have a unique voice, provide value to readers, and be accompanied by a call to action that drives traffic to your website and encourages sales revenue. It’s also important to share your guest blog on social platforms that have the largest audience. Don’t forget sites such as Pinterest and LinkedIn if the blog is appropriate for that audience.
And how do you look for guest blogging websites? Google it. Yes, that’s one of the easiest ways to search for these websites. You can start by using your own keywords. For instance in the marketing industry, try marketing, then other keywords related to it such as online marketing, internet marketing, digital marketing and such. Then add these key phrases:
- +guest blog
- +guest post
- +write for us
- +submit a guest post
- +become a guest blogger
7. Re-capture Your Audience: Sometimes all your potential customers need to become current customers is a little reminder. Remarketing services target users that have already interacted with your brand by visiting your website or clicking a link on a digital ad you have running. It’s a simple way to remind your an audience that has expressed interest in your content that you’re still around.
The key to effective remarketing ads is consistent and recognizable branding across every platform and in all of your advertising materials. A great ad is one that your customers will know came from your business at a glance.
8. Show Off Some Data: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And when it comes to small business advertising ideas, an infographic can pack a serious punch. You’re an expert in your industry, and you probably have tons of data in your back pocket that could be valuable to your customers. Take advantage of all that know-how and create some infographics to use in your marketing strategy.
An infographic is a great way to show off that data because it highlights the important information and saves a reader the time and energy of sorting through tons of extra details to find the most important facts and figures.
Our attention spans are shorter than ever, so information that’s easy to digest and easy to share is becoming increasingly important. Studies show that 65% of people are visual learners, and infographics that share ideas, facts, and solutions are sure to stick in the minds of your audience better than more traditional advertising tactics.
9. Incentivize Engagement: Everyone loves a giveaway! Whether you’re running a contest entirely online, or giving away swag at an event or in-store. The key to making giveaways an integral part of your advertising strategy is to make sure they’re beneficial to both parties.
If you’re running an online giveaway, ask for participants to enter the contest by submitting photos that you can continue to use in your marketing. And take the opportunity to gather contact information for those all important email lists. An in-person giveaway is also a great chance to capture pictures to use on social media. Be sure to designate a photographer and snap some shots of your giveaway winners posing with their prizes. Everybody wins!
10. Create a Refer-a-Friend Program: Word of mouth is often the best advertising around. By channeling the enthusiasm of your current customers, your small business has the potential to increase it’s following and customer base exponentially. While many small business advertising ideas revolve around creating and distributing content to your audience, a referral program puts your customers to work for you!
Refer a friend programs work well because consumers trust the point of view and opinion of their family and friends. By incentivizing that relationship, you create a cycle in which current customers are encouraged to spread the word about why they love your business, and they are rewarded for their loyalty.
Rewards for a referral program don’t have to be elaborate; it can be something as simple as a percentage off their next service or purchase. This also encourages return business from those customers. Make sharing simple for your customers by incorporating social media share buttons onto your website wherever necessary.
11. Host an Event: Nothing creates a buzz around a business quite like an event. And with the emergence of social media it’s really easy to spread the word, build excitement, and gain a larger online audience from an in-person occasion. We create content for event pages and promote them for clients all the time. The key to success is to deploy digital tools to accomplish these tasks.
Create a Facebook event to share the details with your audience, and encourage them to share and invite their own circle of friends and family.
A Snapchat filter that shows off your business and branding is an awesome way to encourage customers who attend your event to share their excitement. And hashtags on both Instagram and Twitter are useful in finding all the great photos and nice things people are saying about your event and your business. Be sure to tell your guests what hashtag to use!
12. Give Back: It always feels great to give back to the community that your business operated in….and sometimes it’s good for your advertising strategy as well. There’s no shame in bragging about the good work your team is doing.
Whether it’s organizing a food drive, sponsoring a sports team, or running a charity 5K. Start talking about your volunteer project on social media ahead of time to drum up excitement and get your customer involved and invested.
Tag your charity partners in social posts to share the love, and consider guest blogging and collaboration to further engage with the audience you’ve collectively built.
Putting Small Business Advertising Ideas to Work
Marketing and advertising for small businesses can be a daunting task, especially when you compare your budget to the budget of larger companies and brands. However, with a little creativity and dedication, you can identify your target audience, reach them through your social platforms, and build a community that is engaged and enthusiastic about your business!
Do you have more clever small business advertising ideas we didn’t cover here? Share them with us in the comments below. We love hearing from our readers!