Low-Cost Advertising

Advertising is essential but it doesn't have to be expensive to be effective. There are many advertising avenues that offer free marketing and even more options that can give you more exposure for your advertising dollar than you may think.

Press Release

A well written press release is a excellent way to make the public aware of your product or company. You can submit a press release to local and national newspapers, radio, television, magazines and trade publications. Make your press release attention grabbing, truthful and newsworthy. For best results focus your article on a targeted audience instead of a wide readership.

Sponsor Contests

Another way to receive free advertising is to offer to sponsor a contest for a community event or large publication. By furnishing the winning prize your advertising can come in a variety of methods. If the contest in on-line you will be offered a free banner link or rotation on the contest entry page and are often given a 6-8 line advertisement to be included in a subscriber newsletter. Normally this advertising package can cost from $30 to several hundred dollars depending on the size of the web site. When sponsoring an online contest always ask how many unique visitors they receive to their site in a month or how many participants visited the contest page during their last contest. You could be asked to send the prize to the main web site prior to the contest or forward the prize directly to the winner. Be aware that you will be responsible for shipping costs, no matter which country the winner resides in.

Twice a year public television stations will also have a broadcast in which prizes can be donated in exchange for advertising. Generally you will be asked to provide a sentence or two to be read on-air while your product is being shown by the camera. Some public stations will also allow you to choose the demographical area you wish your merchandise to be used. I recommend that only large companies utilize public television donations as a way to generate advertising. You can also use this method if you need a tax write-off for the merchandise. Most small corporations or home-based business will not be able to contribute merchandise within their minimum prize value without hurting their inventory base.

Advertising Exchange

Direct mailing campaigns can be costly for you to handle them by yourself but it is very inexpensive to join a group of fellow business associates who will mail out your advertisement with their product orders. You in turn offer to do the same so it is a win-win situation for all involved only costing you the paper the advertisement is printed on!

Writing Articles

The key is to write an article that is interesting enough that the readership will continue reading to the bottom of the article where your author by-line and company information is located. Avoid listing your credentials as a writer but use the space to advertise your product or service. Include a web site or e-mail address where applicable.

This ad space will only work if you get the readers' immediate attention. Offering a coupon or discount can be both eye catching and might be the incentive they need to act upon. Most articles used online will be archived and you need to be willing to honor the coupon if product orders surface months later from an archived article being read.

Remnant Space Advertising

When your advertising budget will allow you to look into paid advertising you should rarely have to pay full price. Almost every media has left over space that the industry refers to as "remnant space". Advertising is a perishable commodity and it is not uncommon to be able to purchase bonus television or radio airtime if you ask for it as a package deal. Newspapers offer the most remnant space but could be more difficult to work with unless you have established yourself as a regular advertiser. You will generally not be able to choose the time or location in which your remnant space advertising is ran.

By Rachel Webb, PageWise, Inc.


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