Overhead is rising, advertising costs are increasing, and consumers are not buying. This is a dangerous combination for any business, especially the small business. Everyone is struggling more these days but the cost of airing commercials is at an all time high. There are alternatives though to avoid those advertising fail though.
Using the human interface could be one of the best advertising campaigns around. It is easy and relatively cheap compared to other forms of advertising. There are several different ways to do this and they can be fun for all involved. Even if you do not have many employees or family members to help you, cheap labor abounds in this market. You can make the ad campaign as extravagant as you want or just keep it simple with some coupons. Discounts and freebies are a plus for any business right now. For the price of a bag of candy and a ream of printer paper, you can create an effective ad campaign directed towards any audience.
The key to a good ad campaign is to reach potential buyers. In other words, get your ad where the people are. Sporting events, concerts, plays, shopping malls, or any other event usually attracts people. These people can be your potential customers. All you need to do is approach them. Many of these events are more than happy to have people handing out advertisements and freebie items. That type of sales helps to attract people. Even if they charge to advertise your wares inside the event, there is no charge to hand things out on the sidewalks surrounding it. The only problem that you encounter at this point is the where. Asking for permission to distribute things at an event is just common courtesy. You will need to contact the people running the event. Many times, they will allow you to set up inside the event for little to no cost, depending on what you have planned. Many sporting events will welcome you if you have giveaways, drawings, or prize wheels to set up. This adds to the whole experience and benefits them as well. They may still charge you but the cost will be minimal and well worth it.
Once you know where, you will need to know how much you have to spend. This will greatly influence the type of advertising that you can do. If you can only spare $20, a bag of cheap candy to pass out to kids and some flyers or coupons printed from your home computer, will do just fine. You can stand outside and hand them out with the help of your family and friends. If you have more, you may want to do more. The more useful the item you hand out, the longer it will stay in the consumer’s possession. If you hand out flyers, they are often tossed within five feet, coupons may be held onto for a little longer. If you hand out a pencil or keychain, they have a much longer lifespan where the consumer is constantly reminded of your company whenever they use it. You will need to price some of these items. Many different graphic design shops run great deals for small businesses and new accounts. Having something simple printed up like a pencil, may cost a little more but can be more effective. You can also personalize it a little. If you choose a sporting event to pass these out at, you may want to add a “Go Team” message to the item as well as your company info. This will further add to the value of the item and lengthen its life span. Some simple calling around for prices can help to fine tune the amount you will need to spend and what you can afford to do.
One other idea to keep in mind is a raffle or contest. If the grand prize is big enough, you could even charge for the entries. It is always much better to cover as much of the cost as you can yourself. Some people are turned off by a company that charges for what they see as a free giveaway. You can purchase the cheapest tickets to an upcoming event and raffle them off or have a prize wheel. The best part of a prize wheel is that the grand prize is so difficult to hit, you may end up keeping the grand prize. You can also have a dress up contest, cutest kid contest, trivia contest, or any other type of game. The more fun you make it, the more memorable your company’s image becomes. This will generate repeat business. Think about the events that you go to and then think of the advertisers. They pop right up when you remember the entire stadium or event experience. This is the best ad campaign and can be more effective than a commercial.
Here are some tips for choosing the type of advertising:
-If you plan to hand out flyers, include a discount coupon. This may be achieved in the wording or an actual reduced price or freebie. I remember when McDonald’s raised the price of their happy meals to $1.99. They were $1.79 the prior week and then I started seeing signs everywhere, “Happy Meals now only $1.99”. Even though it was an increase, it sounded like a huge discount.
– Consider upgrading to a simple printed item that the customer can keep. Mini Frisbees, pencils, pens, all of these are cheap and kids love them. I have seen kids throw fits when mom and dad try to take the item away. You may also want to consider the event or place you are distributing these items. You would not want to take a shiny pink pencil and give it away at a monster truck rally. There may be some girls there but you need to cater to the majority.
-Use your imagination. A catchy or humorous slogan on the item will be remembered. An event specific slogan can be very funny. One example would be “Beat the snot out of the Sox” with a picture of the Red Sox logo dripping from a nose could be handed out a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox. This type of ad will be remembered for a long time and may even be copied by fans.
-Incorporate you business into the event. If you run a dentist’s or doctor’s office, you could use something like “(your business): Making the Sharks look beautiful for (number of years you have been in business)” could be handed out at a San Jose hockey game.
-Sporting events can be cheap if you make signs. A full-page sign saying “Go team” or a team or event specific phrase can be printed out at home for pennies. You can then add your company info to the back or in smaller print on the front. If you place the info on the back, they will be looking right at it every time they hold the sign up. They will also be showing your ad to everyone behind them.
Whatever it is that you decide to do, a little thought and a small investment can yield great rewards for your business. Many things can be done at any event. You will need to plan ahead so that you are ready when the time comes. If you need some people to help pass them out, put an ad on Craigslist or another classified site in your area. It would take about two to three hours to pass everything out. You can offer either a flat rate or an hourly rate for people to help pass the stuff out. Many times friends and family will help for a free ticket to the event. If you end up inside the event, this is included in the cost for you. There are many ways to find the help that you need. I wish you the best in your new ad campaign.