How to Make Your Business Stand Out on a Small Advertising Budget

Well-funded startups and shoestring entrepreneurs both have one thing in common… The desire to stand out from among the crowd. Unfortunately, having an unlimited amount of cash to blow on advertising is a pipe dream for most small business owners. But if you are working within a budget, do not despair either. The right move made at the right time can open the market to your product and service in a big way. Here are some ideas of unconventional and innovative options that will get your business in front of your target audience.

  1. Advertise in unusual places.

Consumers are bombarded with advertising messages. When done in excess, it spawns a negative effect. According to an Aimia Institute study, 57 percent of consumers avoid products that use excessive marketing. This is good news for those with a limited budget on hand. But then what alternatives can a small business owner use? Go for novelty! Tangled phone lines that loosely resemble tangled hair are a common sight on the streets of Bangkok. Noticing this, Procter & Gamble placed an ad shaped like a comb on the telephone lines. It read: “Tangles? Switch to Rejoice Conditioners.” That is the power of advertising in an unusual place to capture the attention of jaded consumers.

Try vehicle wraps for your business as an easy place to start. Getting stuck in traffic is a common enough occurrence for most of America’s commuters. Drivers who get stuck behind your vehicle will have something to look at while they kill time.

  1. Look for strategic ways to piggyback.

Does someone in your circle own a business? Set up a meeting and discuss ways that you can both offer something beneficial to the other. Perhaps your friend is hosting an event in a couple of weeks. See if you can get a booth, ad, or product placement at the event in exchange for referrals on your end or whatever else you can think of to offer. And if you do not have anyone in your close circle who you could pitch this to, you still have options. Find a person who can provide an opening that you are looking for, but who also benefits from what you have to offer. Offer a win-win deal. For startups low on cash, forming a strategic alliance can be key to broadening your reach and business exposure.

  1. Offer unusual guarantees that make sense to the buyer.

Regardless of the product or service you are selling, in order to close the sale, there is some buyer resistance that will need to be overcome. Buyer resistance usually comes down to a fear of not having expectations met and money wasted on the experience or product. Think about what the largest point of resistance your potential customer may have and offer a guarantee that targets it. Copyblogger calls it reducing perceived risk.

Remember to clearly outline what you will do in return if the customer decides to cash in on the guarantee. From a 100 percent money-back offer to a specific action you will take on their behalf. Outlining your guarantee clearly shows you have thought it through and that you mean business. Best of all, guarantees cost you no upfront money. They do, however, require that you deliver on the quality that you promised.

Being a small business owner means being ruthless in what you spend your money on. And with every advertising endeavor, there are risks that accompany each initiative. Make sure to evaluate each advertising step and ask yourself if it will provide the return on investment that you are looking for. Don’t stick with something that isn’t giving you the return you want. Do your research to see what risks you will be faced with. By doing so, you will feel more at ease about each action you decide to take to advertise your business.