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Unique ways to advertise my small business

Small business owners are constantly faced with the pressure to come up with creative and unique ways to cost effectively advertise their business. Yet while many small business owners complain that they are unable to compete with larger competitors due to the lack of advertising budget.By the same token, when it comes to small business advertising, while budgets may be a scapegoat, they are rarely the real problem. The problem for most small businesses is a lack of creativity, boring ads, and even doing the same thing again and again. Keep in mind that the reason Super Bowl ads are so popular is that, when they are done right, they are clever and compelling. So while it may be awhile before you can afford to advertise on the Super Bowl by following these guidelines you can come up with "super" ways to advertise your small business.

  • Do not be afraid to do the unexpected! It is important to keep in mind that any type of advertising is great when: it gets the point across in creative and/or unexpected ways, and it helps sell the product or service.Small business owners should know that there are 28 million small businesses out there that provide a lot of competition. Even worse is that fact that people are now being bombarded with advertising in places and at times they never before experienced, so many are simply tuning the advertising out. The only way you can get your advertising noticed then is to have it be a bit quirky, unexpected, and clever. For example: at a recent trade show for food vendors a bakery supplied a cookie decorated as business card instead of the paper version everyone else was passing out.To avoid having the delicious cookie eaten and the contact information lost it was also printed on the napkin underneath the cookie.Interested parties got to literally sample the wares while becoming acquainted with the new business. Another creative use of advertising is a CPA who ran radio ads that began with three sharp, loud alarms, like the beginning of emergency broadcasting segments ("If this had been a real emergency . . . ") He then goes on to talk about your tax emergency. The ad is unexpected because it is not your typical accountant advertisement.
  • Try shoestring advertising for your small business. Small business owners should understand that there are all sorts of ways to get their business name out there and get attention without having to spend big bucks, if you are creative. You may want to consider holding a contest.By holding a contest, getting local celebrities to be judges (a bakery tried this idea using chefs) the local media may just pick up on it and your business will be receiving loads of free publicity. Just make sure that the contest highlights what your business does well. You may also want to consider co-op advertising. This is where you ask your major distributors and wholesalers if they will pick up a large chunk of the cost of your ads if you mention their product. Just remember it never hurts to ask!
  • Work on expanding your Web presence.It is staggering to learn that half of all small businesses do not have a Web site. This is a major mistake many small business owners are making.There are even free web tools that will allow you to establish and maintain a basic web site for your business. And if you do have a Web site, then one of the smartest things you can do these days is to devote more of your marketing efforts and dollars to it.
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