Marketing is an investment, but that doesn’t mean that business advertising has to be expensive.

Advertising is important if you want your business to be profitable.  At the same time, business advertising can be expensive, so many brands only advertise when they have the money.  That approach can result in lower sales and reduced brand awareness.  Successful business advertising needs to provide a solution to a customer’s problem or provide a desired benefit, no matter how much you have to spend.  Your company’s marketing efforts can be robust even if you don’t have a big budget.  Even the most budget conscious organizations are sure to find some great ideas in our list of 20 free or low cost business advertising tips.

1. Don’t spend a lot of money on a one-time marketing campaign. Instead, place more inexpensive and frequent campaigns on platforms that allow your marketing dollars to stretch, like Facebook and Twitter.

2. Create and use unique website path for each traditional marketing piece you create. You can even set that URL to redirect automatically to an existing page on your website. This will allow your track the impact of your marketing efforts more effectively.

3. Are you interested in running an ad in the local newspaper but can’t afford the ad space? Contact them to see if you can exchange goods or services from your company in exchange for ad production.

4. There is often unsold ad space toward the end of the month at magazine publications. Towards the end of the month, reach out to see if they will sell you the ad space at a discounted rate.

5. Always include your 800 number, if you have one, on all your marketing pieces for quicker responses. If you piece is digital, always include an email address for those that don’t have the time to call.

6. Business advertising on radio stations and local publications will often provide you free assistance in establishing marketing strategy that will help you reach your goals, while saving your company money. After all, you will only advertise with them if the spot works, right?

7. When advertising in the larger print publications proves to be too costly, try placing an ad in a smaller newsletter or magazine. You will likely still reach a good segment your target audience but spend a fraction of the price.

8. National publications like Time and Newsweek have ad space available regional issues. Such advertising is a smart investment because those issues can remain at doctors’ offices for many months.

9. To reduce the expense of print ads, work with your vendors to create joint business advertising pieces. Note in your ad that the vendor is a valued partner and then have them share in the cost.

10. Search your neighborhood for local stores whose goods or services complement your own.  If you are an paint store, seek out a local furniture store for example.  Work out a mutually beneficial deal where both businesses carry flyers and coupons to promote each other.

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11. Talk to your best customers to see if they would be willing to provide you a testimonial. Hearing why your business is the best choice is more meaningful if it’s in their work. This approach will add credibility to your existing business advertising.

12. Seek out opportunities where you or members of your staff can talk about your company’s business, services, or provide thought leadership on a topic important to those working in your target industry.  This help boost confidence in your brand and increase awareness.

13. Sponsor community events like golf tournaments, run and walk events, or fundraisers.  This will help to promote the name of your company and provide some valuable public relations exposure as well.

14. Be price conscious when selecting your marketing channels. If your campaign needs to be communicated verbally, consider radio spots instead of television commercials. You will save valuable business advertising dollars just by being more selective.

15. Consider the size of your ad or the length of your radio spot? Is there any way you can make the same point but in fewer words?

16. Direct mailers can be expensive. Instead, consider if posting flyers in places such as community centers, libraries, and on grocery store bulletin board might be a good fit for your company. You can gain exposure without spending a lot of money.

17. Write more original content on your website. If you don’t have one already, start and blog and focus on the topics that interests your customers.

18. Find alternative advertising options in more unconventional spots like on park benches, grocery shopping carts, or those free publications available at the grocery store.

19. Leverage cost-effective email marketing but be careful not to oversaturate your customer lists. Receiving too many emails will do more harm than good. Also, don’t forget to unsubscribe those that request no more emails immediately.  It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s always federal law.

20. Finally, never promise what you can’t deliver.  And what you can deliver, always go the extra mile to keep  your customers happy.

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What tips for successful business advertising has your company used? We would love to hear about your experiences. Share your comments and feedback below!