Updated on 9/18/2013
Banner ads and print ads can be expensive. And they are not necessarily the best way to advertise your small or mid-size business. So to find how to get the greatest return on your advertising investment, Small Business Computing surveyed small business owners. Here's what they had to say.
Top10 Ways to Advertise on a Budget
1. Invest in Google AdWords
“AdWords and PPC [pay-per-click] can give you crazy amounts of traffic if you are tight with your campaign and run niche ad groups,” explained Andrew Riker an SEO specialist at WordStream. “Focused, long-tail keywords that are specific to your industry will cause the highest possible click-through rate and in-turn conversions.”
Riker adds that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a lot of traffic. “A small daily budget -- $10-$20/day -- can provide you with a large amount of traffic and in turn qualified leads, as long as the ad is relevant,” he said.
- If you're new to AdWords or just want to keep up with the latest tips and info, be sure to check out Inside Adwords, Google's official resource blog on all things AdWords.
2. Try Facebook Ads
“We tried print ads and banner ads, but for our money Facebook ads provide us with the most focused consumers,” explained Chris Knollmeyer, Web manager for Carolina Rustica. “Being able to target specific demographics lets us pinpoint people we have not reached yet and provides us with a platform to reach out to them. This kind of targeting allows us to minimize extemporaneous clicks from consumers [who are] just browsing or searching for information and gets us the most for our money.”
“Facebook ads have definitely been the most successful overall,” concurred Megan LaBant Abrahamsen, the owner of Blue Star Bazaar. “I can set a small budget (less than $10 per day) and target specific customers – [by] age, gender, education and interests similar to my product categories.”
Even if people don’t immediately make a purchase because of the Facebook ad, many of them wind up “liking” her business, she said, which lets Blue Star Bazaar create a database of potential customers.
- Get your Facebook Ads tips direct from the source: Facebook for Business.
3. Look into StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
“One of the best ways to advertise and get traffic to your website is by using StumbleUpon ads [StumbleUpon Paid Discovery],” noted Chris Wise, the online marketing director at CustomerRave. “They cost as little as $0.05 a click, so for $5 you can get 100 unique visitors to your site. While the bounce rate is more often than not higher when using these ads, it’s a great way to advertise contests, giveaways and big promotions,” he said.
And if the content you are promoting proves to be popular and receives a lot of “likes,” you will start receiving free traffic from Stumbles, which can go on for months, even after you have stopped advertising.
- Need a hand? Head on over to the StumbleUpon Paid Discovery Blog.
4. Get Published Online
Another great way to advertise your business is to “submit articles on topics your customers may be interested in to reputable websites, such as Ezinearticles.com, Articlesbase.com or TheFreeLibrary.com,” said Matthew Kostanecki, a marketing specialist at Archon Systems.
“In exchange for the content, they allow you to include a couple of back links to your website. Not only does this provide you with potential traffic and leads to your business, it also helps establish you as an expert in your related field,” said Kostanecki. Can’t come up with a subject to write about? He suggests asking your customers about their biggest pains and problems.
5. Donate Products or Volunteer Services to a Worthy Cause
“I got the equivalent of $1,000 in advertising by building the website for the Rhode Island Rally for Recovery,” explained Benjamin John Coleman, founder of The Origami Bonsai Company. And his investment of time really paid off -- resulting in $5,000 in new business. That’s because when other vendors who participated in the Rally saw what a great job his company did building and maintaining the Rally website, they hired Coleman to help them with their websites.