Here are a few smart ways to build a strong brand and consciously construct how people think of you and your company without having a corporate advertising budget:
Buy Advertising at 80 Percent Off
Advertising in your local radio or newspaper may not be too expensive for the small business. If an ad’s rate card rate is $1,000 a month, there is a very good chance you could get it down to $600, $400 or even as low as $200 with some shrewd negotiating.
It is important to realize that most newspapers struggle to get advertisers. When a newspaper goes to print, any unused ad space is money lost. Since it costs them the same amount of money to print the paper, they will often be happy to take your money, even if it’s far below what they would normally receive. Start by asking what their remnant rate is, the price for unused advertising space. You can often get an immediate 30 percent discount this way.
Then ask if they honor the 15 percent in-house advertising agency discount, which is the discount that ad agencies received which isn’t passed on to the client; in other words, by not using an ad agency, you can take the discount for yourself. Now you have already saved 45 percent. Then try asking for their bulk rate for three, six and twelve months. The goal is to try to get the twelve-month rate for a one or two-month test to determine if the medium works out for you. Using a combination of negotiation techniques, you can get as much as 80 percent off.
Small Businesses Need to Focus on Response First
A large business can afford to put their time and energy into just branding, rather than direct sales efforts. A small business, however, needs to focus their main attention on building sales today, and save branding for tomorrow. If you are spending money on advertising, your goal is responses. Those can be email sign-ups, telephone calls or sales, but branding just isn’t enough for a new small business. Aim for sales and reap the benefits of branding as a side benefit.
Use a Variety of Media
Research has shown that people who see an ad again and again through different media are a lot more likely to buy. Let’s say someone sees your banner ad on a relevant website. Then they see an article you wrote on an industry leader’s blog. Finally, when they are searching for information on a related topic, they see your Google AdWords ad. By now, you have built up so much credibility just by appearing multiple times in different media that people are likely to click just out of curiosity. If you are marketing a local business, try mixing local media such as radio, newspaper and perhaps even direct mail or postcards.
These are a few smart ways to build your brand effectively. Take care of your bottom line first by generating sales, while being conscious of your brand. Use a variety of media to target the same audience and never ever pay full rate card.