No matter how incredible or unique your product or service is, customers have to find out about it for your business to succeed. That’s where advertising comes in. Advertising encompasses all the ways you can let your potential customers know who you are, what you offer, and why they should support your business.
Many new entrepreneurs understandably hesitate to invest a lot of money in advertising, since it can feel a bit like gambling when you’re just getting started. There is no perfect advertising formula that works for all businesses, and all the advertising methods on offer today can feel overwhelming.
The good news is there are many ways small businesses can start advertising without breaking the bank. As an entrepreneur, by trying out these different advertising techniques and seeing what works best for your business, you’ll learn where it’s best to invest your advertising budget and attention for maximum results.
9 advertising methods for small business
Before we go over how to choose which advertising techniques are best for your business, let’s look at the range of potential options available to small businesses. You can implement these methods for free or with a small budget, and you can always choose to increase your spending on a particular technique that is proving to be useful for your business.
- Social media marketing
Social media marketing includes advertising on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. While you can buy ads on any of these platforms, there are other ways to use them to gain exposure. For example, conducting a giveaway contest for your product or service that requires users to share your page to enter will expose your business to new potential customers.
Maintaining a well planned out social media profile that is in line with your business branding can go a long way as an advertising technique. An excellent social media profile that stands out from the competition can be an effective and free way to advertise to your potential customers.
- Google Ads
Google Ads allows you to advertise to potential customers when they search for specific terms on Google or as targeted ads as they surf the web. You can set a small monthly budget to start, and increase your budget as you see what works for driving traffic to your site and getting new customers
- Broadcast advertising
While fewer people listen to the radio these days, podcasts have become extremely popular. If there is a podcast in your niche, inquiring about the possibility of advertising on that show may give you access to a targeted group of potential customers.
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- Speaking engagements
While people may not be gathering in person for conferences and other events very much at the moment, you might be able to participate in online events in your industry. Speaking as an expert in your field can help establish you and, therefore, your business as trustworthy and knowledgeable.
- Print advertising
Print advertising is similarly decreasing in popularity in favour of digital advertising. Still, you might find great results by advertising in publications that have an audience that overlaps with your target audience.
- Trade shows and networking
There’s nothing quite like a personal connection with someone. Attending or displaying at trade shows in your industry can help you connect with potential customers and also stay informed on how competitors are positioning themselves, which may give you some ideas for advertising strategies.
- Public relations
You don’t necessarily have to hire a PR expert to gain exposure. You can create your own press release with news about your business and submit it to publications and websites that may be interested in sharing the information. Nowadays, online publications need to create a large amount of daily content to keep visitors coming to their site, so many are happy to receive relevant press releases.
- Email marketing
You can run email marketing campaigns for free with platforms like Mailchimp, and email marketing, in general, continues to bring excellent ROI compared to other advertising methods.
You can make use of the power of word of mouth referrals by creating a referral program to incentivize existing customers to spread the word about your business. Reward them when the people they referred become customers. This way, you don’t have to spend any advertising dollars up-front.