How to Escape the High Cost of Traditional Advertising for Your Business

Binns Ltd., Newcastle window display 1960
Binns Ltd., Newcastle window display 1960 (Photo credit: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)

Most business owners know the importance of advertising when it comes to seeing growth, especially in the beginning. However, not all new business owners can afford the high price tags associated with various advertising options.

I just listened to a great podcast by James Martel. For those you of you who might not be familiar with James, he is a very successful online business guru. His Coffee Talk podcasts are just one element of his online world. On this particular one, his guest was Don Campbell, president of Expand2Web.

In this podcast James and Don shared their knowledge on the importance of having a website, how to create a functional one, and more to the point…how to avoid high cost advertising through using things such as social media outlets…and Google+ Local. Seeing how successful James is, and knowing that Don is an expert in Google+ search matters, I paid attention.

So, now I am going to share with you some of what I learned through them, as well as in my own experience in business.

The High Cost of Traditional Advertising

If you are in business, or thinking about starting up a new one, then you might have already put a lot of thought into advertising. The sticker shock might not have worn off yet, so I will tread lightly here. It’s horribly expensive. Sorry, I guess there’s just no way to soften that fact.

Putting an ad in the paper can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on what paper, and the size of the ad. And, the worst part is that it’s often for a one-time shot…one day. I used to work for someone who took out an impressive ad at the movie theater that played for a month. It seemed good to him, because it was a huge screen that played it multiple times a day, for a month. The unfortunate thing is…do movie goers really pay more attention to the ads, than they do to the person next to them, finding a seat, shutting their phones off, getting comfortable, and attacking the popcorn bucket? I don’t.

Another area is the Yellow Pages. Unless you take out a basic one-line ‘ad’, with your name, address, and phone number only, it’s also very expensive. And, let’s face it…who reads those anymore, when there is so much Internet access? Sure, you could switch to Yelp, the Internet version of the Yellow Pages. But, it’s also costly, and you have little control over things such as reviews from customers.

There is a great alternative that addresses getting your name and number out there AND advertising. I am talking about using Google+ Local, which I will get into in a moment. But first, you need a website in order to take full advantage of it.

Creating a Functional Website for FREE

There are so many areas of your business that a good website can help you with, such as getting information out about your business. This is good way to advertise your business as well, and it doesn’t have to cost you anything, not even the website.

While listening to this podcast, Don talked about the time before he took a position at Microsoft, he worked for a web content development company. He witnessed many companies paying out large amounts of money…in the thousands, to have a website developed. However, as he pointed out, it no longer has to be that way, especially with WordPress.

You can have a fully functional, and enticing website that you can create on your own, by going through WordPress, at no cost to you. It’s an easy process, with many perks, such as nearly 20,000 plugins to help your business.

Pages you should have on the website are the following:

  • Home Page
  • Content Page
  • Map and Directions Page
  • About Us Page

Make your website interesting, with relevant content that you update often…weekly, actually. Don tells of a story about a chiropractor, Dr. Jeri Anderson, who says she gets 4 new patients a week, on average. She updates the content with informative and relative information, photos, and even video…and, you can do all this for free. For example, her videos are often done through Youtube.

Another area you might consider, is a place to pay for services and products, even if you are not ‘selling’ online. I always look to a company’s website when I have an invoice to pay, to save on postage, time, and even checks. In fact, the other day I needed to order order personal checks online and it occurred to me how much we rely on technology these days. Your customers and clients do as well, and you might as well take advantage of that, right?

If you have social pages for your business, such as Facebook and Twitter, link to your website, and link your website to them. If you don’t have these, get them. More free advertisement for you.

Take Advantage of Google+ Local for FREE Advertising

I mentioned Google+ Local earlier, which is a great alternative to the Yellow Pages, Yelp, and other high ticketed advertising. Before I describe how easy it is, let me remind you that it’s free to use. Imagine having a tool that will drive more traffic to your business than the higher paid advertising will, and there is no cost to using it.

All you have to do is create a full and high quality profile, and then let Google+ Local do the work for you. By ‘full’ and ‘quality’ I mean you should have as much information in it as allowed, which is quite a bit, to be honest. Information such your business name, address, number, hours, direction, and more should be in your profile. You can even put photos and video in it.

In Closing

So, if you could create a website…for free, and drive more traffic to your business…for free, why wouldn’t you?

About the Author:

Benjamin Baker, a freelance writer, drew inspiration while visiting and after listening to a podcast for a series on the importance of having a business website. Benjamin is a research hound as well, and looks for topics in just about anything he reads. Living in Denver, Colorado, Benjamin is married with 3 teenagers that keep them busy. On his down time, he enjoys fishing, sitting around the campfire, and strumming on his guitar.

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