The best advertising, whether for a small business or large, is advertising that works. The price a small business owner pays for advertising would not be an issue if the outcome of the ad was known.
If a small business owner had a choice of paying $1000 a month for advertising that brought in a guarantee of at least $2000 a month profit or paying $500 a month for advertising that brought in $750 worth of profit a month, there would be no hesitation. That savvy small business owner would gladly shell out $1000 each month for the advertising.
Small business advertising has no such guarantees, however. It’s not like buying a refrigerator that is guaranteed to keep the milk and eggs cold. $1000 of advertising might bring $8000 of profit, or it might bring in zero. So, what’s a small business owner to do, especially if faced with a limited budget?
The best answer is to use small business advertising that only charges the owner when and if it works. There are several ways of doing this.
The primary method is called pay per click. This Internet option is available with numerous online merchant sites as well as hundreds of newspapers across the country and the globe. Simply put, a small business agrees to pay a specified amount to the publisher, or the merchant site, for each ad that entices a consumer to come to the small business site. The price paid is generally an amount that the small business owner has bid on. More and more newspapers are offering this option as they struggle to maintain competitive online with eBay, Craigslist and other pure-play classified and marketplace sites.
Another option for pay per click and inexpensive advertising for a small business that wants to concentrate on local customers is with regional publications or some of the larger metropolitan newspapers and groups that are introducing citizen media sites. These zoned products offer a much less expensive buy because the small business advertiser is buying the local neighborhood instead of the total metropolitan circulation of the metropolitan paper.
Companies such as YourHub, a product of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, are licensing these citizen media sites to other newspapers in other areas and those welcome small business advertising and discount the price. They also encourage citizen journalism. The small business owner can contribute articles, photos, and local stories, although the paper will undoubtedly edit something too unabashedly self-serving. This is still a great way for a local entrepreneur to introduce himself or herself to the neighbors in a friendly, casual and soft sell way.