Low-Cost Local Advertising Ideas

Tom Egelhoff

Advertising is expensive! I hear that a lot. If that’s the case why are newspapers, radio, TV, Internet and every other thing I see and hear packed with ads?
The kneejerk response might be, “I have to keep my name out there.”

It’s Not How But Where
If your specialty is dentures for seniors, a high school yearbook ad may not be the best use of your advertising dollars. These are not the seniors you are looking for. In the same way, a local rock station may not be the best place to advertise an upcoming production of “Madame Butterfly.”

What to advertise is not the question; where you do it is very important and can be the difference between wasting money or improving your business traffic.

Here are a few low cost tips that might help blacken your bottom line:
• Social media ads on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, et al. are a great way to test response to your offers. Your Facebook business page will allow you to set your daily budget and track local demographics.
• Google Analytics is also a free tracking service for your web site and will give you tons of info about what your customers are looking at on your web site.
• Business cards for all employees. All employees from the driver to the janitor should have business cards and some incentive to pass them out. If an employee refers a customer, that employee deserves some sort of perk.
• Google Places is another free service used by realtors and restaurants. If someone searches for “Bozeman Restaurants” all those signed up with Google Places will show up in that search.
• Google Adwords is another good way to test search terms to improve your web traffic. You can set a monthly budget and see what words or phrases drive traffic to your site. Add keywords that refer to your other advertising.
• Sponsor local events like a July 4th marathon. Have all personnel involved wear shirts with your company name.
• Magnetic signs for your personal vehicles in addition to company vehicles. Advertise while running errands around town. Make sure the phone number is included and always have your phone and company name on the rear of the vehicle. If I’m sitting behind you at a stop sign and I need your service I can jot down the number.
• Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Club, Kiwanis, Elks, Moose, VFW, Rotary Clubs are all great ways to use “word-of-mouth” advertising. Visit these organizations and join where the members fit your target market.
• Sponsor events at your local church. It’s the only place I know of where rich and poor sit side by side. Every contact is a potential customer.

Some Final Thoughts
Last but not least, don’t forget to explore advertising opportunities offered by Bozeman Magazine.

If you are reaching your target market, your advertising will pay for itself. If I place an ad that costs $100 dollars and it produces 50 customers and each one spends $200 dollars what are the chances of me running that ad again?
Smart advertising might seem like an expense but that expense buys profit.  

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