Advertising in Small Business


First of all a question comes in my mind is, What is advertising?
The answer is very simple anything that conveys a message is advertising. Please focus on word anything, I mean here anything i.e. word of mouth, website, social networking even clothes you wear conveys message.
The second question is not why advertising ? I know everyone knows the answer of this question. My second question is Why do you advertise a simple message again and again? Because it is human nature to distrust advertising. The third significant question I have asked on linkedin i.e What are the cheaper but effective ways to advertise? Especially for small business.
Here are some great responses—
On 08/22/11 9:05 PM, Judy Brown wrote:
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During the 12 years of operating my writing/marketing business online, I’ve been successful with very little money spent on actual advertising in the traditional sense, I have had some good results from placing classified ads in my local newspaper, but that was really the only thing I’ve actually paid for. I’ve also submitted articles and had bylined columns in several newspapers which has gotten my name out there somewhat.

Submitting regular news releases, attending networking events online and in my local area were worth it. Teaming up with a network of graphic artists and web designers has been a really good way to get new clients as we help each other with client projects.

Most of my success has been by my clients referring their friends to me.I have had several jobs as a result of my profile on LinkedIn and there seem to be many job opportunities available here.

Marketing is very time consuming when you do things that don’t cost money, so if you make time to do the free marketing and PR stuff it won’t be time wasted. By the time that pays off, you’ll be busy enough that paid advertising may not be needed. 🙂
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On 08/22/11 9:16 PM, Nathan Rofkahr wrote:
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Generally you will want to partner with a small advertising agency or boutique. If you have a web savvy individual he can easily do this.

1. Create a Facebook page both for your company and for each product.
2. Create a Twitter Account (very effective for networking and PR)
3. Depending on you’re product create a YouTube Channel
4. It is essential that you have a clean, well designed Website with great Content.
5. Create a Google Profile and use Google+ if you have it
6. Check out Google Adwords and best SEO Practices.
7. Create engaging content and if you can, call or email your newspaper & news channel.

That should get you started for a fraction of the cost of anything else. ENGAGE your customers every day.
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On 08/22/11 9:32 PM, Howard Earle Halpern MA CPRW wrote:
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For me, SEO has been not only the cheap*er*, but the cheap*est*. How about zero dollars and zero cents? In 1998, I decided that I would put my primary websites on page one of Google. Took me 4 years. Now, they are sufficiently well-established that they stay on page one, for the most part, regardless of what I do. I pay nothing for advertising. I get most of my business from Google. And I was booked solid, without a break, from June 2010 to June 2011. After that, there was a brief lull. I updated one of my sites (below), and immediately, there was a flurry of inquiries.

Howard Earle Halpern
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Links:
http://NoBlock.com
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On 08/22/11 10:18 PM, Todd Hicks wrote:
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It is helpful and very affordable to do things such as using social media, handing out your business card, linking to your website through articles and forum participation, etc.

Links:
http://www.helium.com/items/1611487-operate-small-business-invest-money-budget-basics
http://www.helium.com/items/1440305-market-small-business-develop-customer-base-targeted-visitors-traffic
http://www.helium.com/items/823549-web-advertising-that-does-work
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On 08/22/11 10:38 PM, Garmeon Yu wrote:
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People always remember to use technology but forget about simpler methods such as word of mouth.
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On 08/22/11 11:25 PM, Manish Kulkarni (manishpk68@gmail.com) wrote:
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advertise through google. write a blog about services in your area etc.
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On 08/22/11 11:36 PM, Emily Zhang wrote:
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HI,

Just a thought. Online advertising would be more economy for small businesses. Also using social web pages to advertise the company would be effective. I read a couple of articles about small business start up and advertising. Hope they are helpful .

Links:
http://www.edustarzone.com/Advertising1.html
http://www.edustarzone.com/BusinessResource1.html
http://www.edustarzone.com/Entrepreneurone.html
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On 08/23/11 12:11 AM, Helen Dowling wrote:
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Hi Lalit,

I completely agree and this is one of the most common questions we hear from the small businesses that we work with – how can I effectively promote my business without spending a fortune?

Because this is such a common question, I have actually put together a guide called “50 free ways to promote your business”. If you or anyone else would like a copy of this, you can get it by going to http://www.exceptionalthinking.co.uk/50ideas.htm

Hope this helps
Helen

Links:
http://www.exceptionalthinking.co.uk
http://www.exceptionalthinking.co.uk/50ideas.htm
http://twitter.com/helen350
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On 08/23/11 3:51 AM, Jon DiPietro wrote:
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I would focus on using your web site to drive sales. It’s the greatest amount of bang for the buck. Consider an inbound marketing strategy that focuses on providing valuable content that will attract your target audience. This approach has five steps:

1) Create remarkable content: This means creating content (using a blog) that your target audience will find compelling enough that they will want to share it with their peers. This could be because it’s informative, inspirational, entertaining, etc…

2) Optimize for search: Make sure that the content you create is optimized for search engines. The most important aspect of organic search raking is inbound links. By creating remarkable content, you’re encouraging people to create links to your site. But you also need to engage in active link building tactics like guest blogging, link exchanges, etc…

3) Promote via social media: Create syndicate your content on social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (product demonstrations), LinkedIn, etc… This will generate inbound links, increase SEO and build a wider audience for your message.

4) Convert visitors to leads: Make sure you have strong calls to action on your website that direct users to landing pages. Calls to action include things like “purchase now,” “download the demo,” or “sign up for newsletter.”

5) Measure: Make sure you have analytics installed on your website so that you can measure where your traffic is coming from and (most importantly) what your conversion rates are on those landing pages.

This strategy consistently produces results that are 60% cheaper than outbound (i.e. direct) marketing techniques. However, it does take time to build and audience and generate results. Therefore, Adwords and Facebook ads can be a good bridge to ramp up more quickly. Just make sure that your website has well-designed landing pages before turning on the Adwords or you might as well be setting your money on fire.

Links:
http://www.domesticatingit.com/what-is-inbound-marketing/
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On 08/23/11 5:02 AM, Donna Krech wrote:
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I really like everyone’s answers here and just to add.. Networking is very important. Getting to know people in your community, participating in community events, and really putting you and yourself out there. That’s all free advertising.
Social media is also free. Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter – but don’t forget about places like Reporter Connection, where you can establish yourself as an expert in your field by answering journalist queries.
You can also comment on blogs and write articles.
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On 08/23/11 7:05 AM, Kelly Penwell wrote:
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Agreed that networking, blogging, social media, and word of mouth advertising are probably the best option.

However, one caveat, there is a fine line between mutually beneficial networking and carrying it to the extreme. Many times I have watched people go overboard with networking to the point where they are more interested in making quick connections than they are on developing long term business relationships. Focus on cultivating relationships so people want to do business with you because they trust you.
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On 08/23/11 8:52 AM, Mark Stevens wrote:
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Forget “cheap.” Effective is all that counts. And when you break the code on effectiveness, expensive gets cheap because it produces ROI.

Links:
http://www.msco.com
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On 08/23/11 9:09 AM, Joyen Pendowski wrote:
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Hi Lalit,

There are many cheap alternatives when it comes to advertising and marketing. Here is a link to our blog post about guerrilla marketing that should give you some creative ideas.

Hope this helps!

-Joyen

Links:
http://www.rubyporter.com/1/post/2011/08/guerrilla-marketing-fun.html
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On 08/23/11 9:10 AM, David Daniels wrote:
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I’m going to have to side with Jeff SKI Kinsey. Marketing is a discipline with an inward and an outward market focus. It isn’t just t-shirts and coffee mugs. Brand is the visual representation and the perception of the company/products. Too often discussion of marketing focuses on the department called marketing and not the role.

Peter Drucker said it best: “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

Links:
http://www.launchclinic.com
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Some of the ideas that many have presented has been used by myself when I had a business back in the 90’s. Other options on a small expense scale but some leg work is needed at times.

Local level-
A. Go around town and drop off business cards to local businesses where you want to flourish. (gas money-free or cheap business cards-time)
B. Add to that if you’re computer savvy flyers you create with several programs you probably have right on your computer. (time-paper-ink cost)
C. Put up flyers/cards etc. at local stores on their bulletin boards.(cost of flyers-cards are cheap or free depending where you get them)
D. Door to door dropping off packets of flyer/business cards/business information. Select neighborhoods to drop off. (Never put in mail boxes, that’s not legal). (No cost-just gas money-time)
E. Functions your business participates in. For example. I had a photography business and I performed weddings. At the on start prior to the wedding I came prepared with one or two framed photographs and put them up at the reception along with business cards, flyers. (No cost!)
F. I put my work up around town at local banks, retail outlets that had something to do with that particular area I was involved in, (ie, weddings, portraits, children-@ banks, retail, kids stores, bridal shops) (Minimal cost of products used-gas money-time)
G. Local shoppers-ad papers (minimal price per line, word, or column)
D. Telephone- Cold calling businesses that has some use for the area you service. Offering service- (no cost)
E. Friends/Family-give them cards and flyers to carry around. They’ll give their friends and family-(cost of flyers-minimal cost or free business cards)
F. Church bulletins – (cost of square usually very reasonable and minimal)
G. Barter with local telephone books- for instance in my business, I would give X amount of photography for X amount of advertising space. Offer to be their photographer in exchange-(zero cost if you can bargain with them)

Minimal or given Budget
A. Regional Telephone books.
B. Ads in newspapers
C. Viynal telephone book covers
D. Resturant place mats under their glass sometimes offer advertising space.
E. Magnetic plates on side of vehicle or viynal letters on back glass of vehicle.
F. Radio spots are pretty reasonable for 30 second spots (dependant on budget)

Attached is a book I highly recommend.Getting the Most From Your Yellow Pages Advertising, Second Edition: Maximum Profits at Minimum Cost
by Barry Maher

Yellow page advertising online may be a option also.

One last thing based on your town, area, geographical location, you sometimes (based on budget) can obtain reasonable pricing off small/midsize billboards, especially if you find one that hasn’t been used in an area you would like to infiltrate. I know locally where I am they use to give them for like $500 a month

Social Mediums has already been discussed as shown in other answers I would also support.

And lastly-word of mouth – under promise, over deliver!!!!
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On 08/23/11 10:26 AM, Natalia Ajuba wrote:
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Hi Lalit,

To effectively advertise your business with a small or no budget – there’s a trade off – Time. And as many of the responses here have stated – CONTENT is king. Blogs, articles, social media and more. Networking is also a powerful tool and can lead to referrals. Naturally, time is short in supply which is where you will benefit from partnering up with a small business marketing company which will take your budget limits into consideration. Hope this helps.
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On 08/23/11 12:12 PM, h ē ŕ š č ђ Е hersche wrote:
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branding gives markets but markets can make better brands
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On 08/23/11 12:19 PM, Al Fiala wrote:
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Lalit – Instead of cost, you should be thinking about return on investment.
If something costs a dollar, but you only, but you only return 50 cents, it doesn’t matter how little you spent, you still lost money.
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On 08/23/11 2:49 PM, Brian C. wrote:
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A conundrum: the most effective are the most profitable. And the cheapest (lowest price) are likely to be the least effective.
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On 08/23/11 3:25 PM, Mohsin Ali wrote:
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well, there are a lot of mediums which do not require you to put in a lot of money and yet very effective. after the emergence of web it has become very easy for small businesses to to communicate through their websites.

Email, social media, content marketing, web optimization and ppc advertising are just a few examples of such mediums.

Pay Per click advertising is a very effective way of exposing your small business. google adwords, linkedin advertising and facebook advertising offer you a world of opportunities to advertise and the campaigns will cost you as much as you intend to spend. the results could be highly fruitful if done correctly.

Email Marketing is another amazing way of marketing yourself and its again a very low cost medium.

both the above mentioned mediums are highly effective if your website is top class and entertains the needs of your customers. Email marketing to some extent and PPC advertising completely is designed to bring users to your homepage.

Search engine optimization is another way of marketing yourself through search engines. you need to do constant efforts to ensure that your website appears on top when people search for relevant keywords.

to conclude i would say that your website is the base camp and then you have various options to bring people to your website.
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On 08/23/11 3:39 PM, Alex Grechanowski wrote:
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Hi Lalit,

To avoid “traditional” high-end advertising campaigns some small businesses started using social commerce platforms to benefit from the sharing economy. Here’s an example from the Pikaba blog:

Links:
http://blog.pikaba.com/how-to-get-more-customers/
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On 08/23/11 7:59 PM, dennis aubuchon wrote:
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I have spent little money on advertising. While there is a time and place to spend money for advertising it is not something I feel is required in every situation.

The technology we have today and will have in the future offers a wide assortment to advertise and gain exposure for your products or services. There are many networking sites which have millions of followers. Using these resources for me has proven bneficial in terms of my recognition.

Writing articles is also a way to advertise not only your expertise but your talent to communicate with others interestd inthe topic on which you are writing. The place where the articles are published also adds to your credibility.
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On 08/23/11 8:38 PM, Peter Nguyen wrote:
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It’s true that most small business owners don’t have a big marketing budget.

So the cheapest way to “advertise” is to actually give away a free sample through a Facebook network called “Friendchise.”

Links:
http://friendchiseconcept.wordpress.com
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