Small businesses have it rough. They’re not big enough to generate name recognition, which means they have a limited client base. With a limited client base, they pull in fewer profits. With fewer profits, they don’t have enough money to put toward advertising, so they can’t compete dollar-for-dollar with larger companies for name recognition, creating a vicious circle.
But what if you could boost your name recognition without breaking your budget? These low-cost advertising techniques will help your company stand out and give you a fighting chance against bigger businesses.
1. List Your Business at Free Online Directories
E-commerce generates more than $1.2 million every 30 seconds. If you want a piece of that pie, you’ll need an online presence.
While you don’t need to spend a fortune on a professional web designer or invest countless hours researching SEO, you do need to create a reliable website that your customers can visit. Your website should include your list of services as well as important contact information so potential clients can reach you when they need you.
And even if you don’t have a website, you can still create an online presence via online directories. Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and Yelp enable you to list your business information for free, so you can increase your online visibility easily.
2. Decorate Your Car
Highway billboards can be an expensive waste of resources. Your potential clients only have about two seconds while driving on a highway to get your message, and you have little way of tracking the return on your investment. And some billboards cost more depending on their location and the materials used.
If you still want to make the most of highway advertising but you don’t want to spend money on billboards, turn your car into a moving advertisement. Consider investing in a vinyl decal to wrap your car in your logo. Cheaper alternatives could include bumper stickers and temporary glass paint for your windows.
3. Get Involved in the Community
Since you can’t compete for customers on a nationwide scale, you’ll need to focus your advertising efforts in the community. Sponsoring community programs and events is a great way to get your name out without spending too much in advertising fees. For example, you can hand out water bottles with your logo at a neighborhood 5k charity run. Or you could run a concession stand at a community baseball game.
If you want to push your advertising efforts even further, submit press releases about the events to local newspapers and business magazines. Newsworthy stories, rather than simple advertisements, will make your company more memorable in the eyes of your community.
4. Design a Reader-Friendly Sign
Many small business try too hard to attract customer attention, and they often overcompensate by crowding their signs with every feature and product they offer. This makes their signs difficult to read, which distracts customers rather than attracting them.
When you order a custom sign for your business, make sure it’s visually appealing and reader friendly. A good sign can go a long way when attracting new customers. You can learn more about design mistakes to avoid in our previous blog.
5. Hand out Flyers in Unusual Locations
Small business owners need to think creatively to reach their niche market. While posting a flyer at a local grocery store may attract some attention, it won’t do you much good if all your competitors post advertisements on the same board. The more companies that vie for customer attention, the more difficultly you’ll have standing out.
Understanding your audience can help you effectively place your advertisements. It may surprise you how many customers may come in because of a flyer you posted at a nearby salon, pet groomer, or hobby store.
6. Go Above and Beyond with Customer Service
Nothing benefits your business more than customer service. In fact, 3 in 5 Americans would rather try a new brand or company in hopes of experience better service, and 7 in 10 Americans are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide quality service.
When your customers walk through your door, take extra care to ensure they feel comfortable and that you meet their needs efficiently. Be straightforward and honest when they ask you questions, and resolve any complaints as quickly as possible.
Providing quality customer service doesn’t cost you a cent, but it can earn you loyal customers and countless referrals. As more customers fall in love with your service, word of mouth will do all your advertising for you.
Need More Advice?
These are just a few ways you can garner name recognition without overspending. But if you need more advertising tips and tricks, feel free to browse our other blog posts. We’ll keep you updated on how to make the most out of your advertising and ways you can attract more customers to your business.