How to Advertise a Small Business? Some cost-effective ideas

. 6 min read
How to Advertise a Small Business? Some cost-effective ideas

Best Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses

Advertising is important for all businesses, large or small, but small business owners have one big problem-money. Since money is a constraint, they have to give a lot of thought, when they have to spend on advertising. One thing that is on top of their minds is what returns shall I get by commissioning this advertisement?

If small businesses have the right strategies, they can use advertising to increase sales, and get positive Returns on Investment (ROI). You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and find out what advertising ideas appeal to them.

Before starting an advertising campaign, a small business owner has to ask himself the following questions:

1. What am I trying to sell?

You have to focus on your one core product or service that you would like to sell, and make the advertising revolve around it. Be sure to embed specific Calls to Action in the ad, so that viewers can react to it.

2. How much should I spend?

You have to decide your advertising budget, based on the product that you are selling, and its cost. Suppose, your product costs Rs 10,000, and you have set an advertising budget of Rs 500. Then you have to figure out what returns or benefits will you get by spending the Rs 500.

3. Who am I trying to sell to?

You should try to figure out who is your ideal customer, and find out their demographic and psychographic details. Your ads should be created in a way that appeals to them.

In this article we discuss some creative advertising ideas, both old school and new age, that any small business entrepreneur can employ to effectively increase sales.

1. Google Ads

Online advertising is more cost-effective than placing an ad in the newspapers or yellow pages because you are able to target your advertising budget to a select group of people. Since Google is the number one search engine in the world, its search advertising tool Google Ads, is the most popular platform for Pay-Per-Click marketing.

The first step is to have a Google account like Gmail. Then you have to go to to get started. There is an option for website traffic, which helps to get you more visitors to your website. You can run search-based ads by using the Display feature, or run ads on YouTube.

Suppose you run a business of selling men’s watches, and you have subscribed to the search-based ads program. So, when someone searches for men’s watches, your ad will pop up at the top of the search results. You can use SEO tools to get the right words in your ad.

As you use Google Ads more and more, your ads will get better and better. You will learn which key-words people use more often, and use this in your ads to get good conversion rates.

Are Google ads a good investment for the small businessman? Let’s find out. As per Google, for every one dollar that anyone spends on AdWords, he makes two dollars. So, there is a doubling of return. It uses an auction model so there is no fixed cost for an ad.

2. Advertising through SMS

SMS advertising is sending bulk promotional messages through mobiles to your target customers about a particular product or service. You can send thousands of messages to people in a particular location or to a niche category. There are many companies out there which can help you in this.

You can use SMS APIs to send pre-loaded short messages from web applications through the telecommunications company to the audience. The SMS API is connected to a sender application to form the SMS system.

Another way is to send SMS messages from your mobile by using a SMS gateway. With this application you can connect your Android device online, and send campaigns. You can buy the script online.

Text message advertising is a great way to gain visibility among your customers and grow your business. Its biggest advantage is that people gets to see the message instantly. A study has shown that over 95 percent of people open a text message within 15 minutes of receiving it.

The costs of SMS depend on the number of messages you send and the quality of the messages, and they are very affordable. Though they are more costly than email advertising, they are more effective since they never go to the spam folder, and have got a high reading rate.

3. Facebook Advertising

Facebook is a great platform for generating leads and sales for small businesses. It has a feature called Ads Manager, where you have to opt for either sales or leads, depending on the type of your business. You also have to integrate Facebook pixel with your website. Facebook pixel is a code which helps you to analyse the effectiveness of your advertisements.

You can define the audience that you want to see your product or service, through a feature called ‘lookalike audience.’ Suppose, your target customers are male, and in the age group of 30 to 50, so, you enter this data plus the geographical area that you want to target in that feature. So, what Facebook will essentially do is to show your ads to that specific demography.

Facebook is one of the most cost-effective platforms, and has a very low Cost Per Click (CPC). It has a global audience of around 1.5 billion people making it very attractive to advertisers. According to a study by WordStream, the average CPC for a Facebook ad is $ 1.72, which is well within the reach of small businesses.

4. Pamphlet Distribution

It consists of a paper flyer that is inserted between newspapers. Or, it can be distributed door-to-door by a person. It is a very effective form of advertising for small local businesses or services.

You can work on designs to make the message more effective. One thing that you should be careful about is that your flyer should be exclusive in terms of the product. For example, if you are in the dry cleaning business, your competitor’s flyer should not be distributed by the agency at the same time.

If you have a graphic designer, you can design and print the flyers yourself, or get it made outside. You should keep a track of the areas in which your pamphlets have been distributed. You can distribute them five to ten thousand at a time, and see how it works for you.

The cost of the pamphlet depends on what paper quality you are using, and its size. Usually, it is printed on white paper with either black or coloured ink. The size should be enough for you to add all the features of your product or service, along with special offers. You can also attach your business card along with the flyer.

Pamphlet distribution is a very cost-effective method of advertising. If you want to target people in a particular area, you just have to give that area’s pin code to the newspaper delivery agency. Your flier will get distributed to the people of that area along with the newspaper.

5. Google Posts

If you want to boost your visibility in search results and get more customers, without spending too much on advertising, then Google Posts may be the answer to your problems. It is an under-utilised tool that Google created to help small businesses send timely information to searchers. It allows you send your photos or texts directly to Google My Business.  You can send any information like the following given below:

  • Offers that you have going on.
  • Sales and events.
  • News.
  • Products & Services.

These may include any unique feature about your company, such as a new product launch.

How do they work? They show up as miniature knowledge panels in the Google search results. They are a powerful tool for you to stand out from your competitors.

The best part is that if you already have a Google My Business profile, then Google Posts are completely free.

Small business owners have to figure out which delivery channel will deliver the highest returns for their ad campaigns. The bottom line is who am I trying to reach, and what channels they are active on? We hope that the advertising ideas that we have presented above will fit the budget of small businesses, and will be of use to them.

Also read:

1) Why are Small Businesses Important to the Community?
2) Where to Get a Small Business License?
3) Best Tips for Small Business Owners
4) How To Get Small Business Loan From Government?