While Preferred CFO isn’t an advertising agency, we work with many as clients and are used to working with non-agency clients to project ROI metrics on current and future advertising campaigns. A thoughtful approach to advertising can help increase the chances of productive advertising budgets.

Banner and print ads can be expensive, and they aren’t necessarily the best way to advertise a small business. Here are some inexpensive alternatives that you can try.

  1. Google adwords can (depending on your offering and industry) give a high volume of traffic if you’re willing to pay for it. By maintaining your campaign and focusing specific ad groups you can increase the quality and decrease the cost per click. Focused, long-tail keywords that are specific to your industry will cause the highest possible click-through rate and in-turn conversions.
  2. Facebook has become an amazing trend in advertising given the advertiser’s ability to be so specific in the type of person they target. It has proven to be fairly effective depending on the circumstance and can provide you with focused consumer targets. Facebook allows you to target specific demographics and pinpoint people you haven’t reached yet, providing a great platform to reach out to them. This is possible with a very small budget (as low as $10 per day).
  3. StumbleUpon ads cost as little as $0.05 per click, so for $5 you can get 100 unique visitors to your site. Since the bounce rate tends to be a little higher with these, it can be a great platform for coupons, giveaways, and contests. If your content turns out to be popular and you receive a lot of likes, you will start receiving free traffic from Stumbles, which can go on for months.
  4. Get published online by submitting interesting, well-written articles on various topics to reputable websites. In exchange for your content, they allow you to include some links to your website. This provides you with traffic, leads, and can help establish you as an expert in you field.
  5. Word of mouth referrals. The power of the individual’s opinion in their sphere of influence can’t be oversold.  Although not as tangible or measurable, this advertising technique has proven to be one of the most successful, especially for small businesses. We all know, however, that it starts with superior customer service. If your customers don’t walk away satisfied, there’s no way they will refer friends and family. With that as a baseline, you can initiate various programs and techniques to incentivize customers to refer others. Subscription services such as Amazon Prime will give out gift cards and discounts for referring friends and family. Dentists often offer $50 off your next visit if you refer two people. Be creative and think about what might entice customers to refer others.

In my experience, Utah companies have a lot of success with word-of-mouth advertising because of the culture here. Many people have family close and talk about products they use openly to each other. Many are also frugal and look for coupons and discounts. Take advantage of that culture and try to think of creative ways you can exploit the market.

Engage with one of our CFO’s to start taking a more analytical approach to your advertising.