Whether you are promoting a business, website or event, spreading the word wherever you go is the cheapest form of advertising. A little footwork can go a long way without breaking your budget. The following tips are cheap and creative advertising ideas designed for anyone with a small budget.
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Ask friends for help – If you have a friend that works at a grocery store or fast food, ask them to hand out business cards or flyers for you.
Blogging – In addition to your website, build up a series of blogs that relate to and link to your website. This can be a very valuable tool, provided you make each blog unique and valuable.
Bumper stickers – Place a bumper sticker on your car with your company’s name or website address.
Business Cards – Print business cards with your business name, email and website. Pass out your business cards everywhere you go.
Buy ads in a college newspaper – These ads are typically cheaper than a local newspaper. Depending on your target audience, this may send you more targeted customers than normal print ads.
Buy advertising on websites – Buy ads through Google Adwords or Facebook.
Classified ads – Avoid the high cost of display ads and insert a cheap classified ad into your local paper.
Cross promote – If you have multiple blogs/sites, be sure to cross promote them.
eBay items – If you sell on eBay, put a business card in all your items you send out. This particular idea on this list of creative advertising ideas helps you bring in an extra return when you’re already making money.
Learn SEO – Give yourself an advantage over the competition. Learn how to optimize your rank in Search Engines.
Link exchange – Offer to place a friend’s link or ad on your site in exchange for a link or ad on their site.
Make flyers – Design a flyer and post it everywhere you can. Bulletin boards, cars, doors, etc.
Offer incentives to show up/become a customer – Advertise with an offer like cash, gift cards, or some other prize. Be creative, but do not overspend your budget on the prize.
Order a stamp with your business name/website. – Stamp your all your outgoing mail and anything else you can think of.
Order Pencils/Pens – Order pens or pencils with your business name/website on them. Go to the library and ask to leave them for patrons to use.
Post on Forums – Read the terms of service of each individual site before you do this. If there is no rule against putting your site in your forum signature, then go ahead. Be respectful to forum moderators if they do not want promotional links on their site. Posting links where they are not wanted is SPAM.
Put your links in your email signature – Brand all your outgoing email with a tiny advertisement.
Send a mass email to everyone in your address book – Explain briefly what the site/business/event is, and offer to help to anyone interested.
Social Bookmarking – Add your blog to sites like del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, or Digg.
Twitter – Create an account dedicated to advertising. Build up your followers list and tweet about interesting things. Mix in some interesting tweets with your self promotion.
Word of Mouth – Stand outside the grocery store or other public area passing out flyers or business cards. Make yourself available to answer questions. This may not be one of the most creative advertising ideas, but it is the longest-lasting and tried and true methods.
YouTube – Create a YouTube channel dedicated to your business, website, or event.