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Low Cost Advertising

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It appears that most micro and small businesses do not spend much time on advertising, simply because of the cost involved. Taking the yellow pages as an example, that form of advertising can be very expensive, especially considering that often you must place your advertisement in several of those publications to serve the same area. Here I will demonstrate some advertising methods that may effectively fit in your budget and more importantly, help you attract more customers.

Elmer Thomas Jr.
It can get expensive advertising in the local newspaper, especially if you decide to purchase a large advertisement. An often affordable alternative is your local ethnic newspaper such as the Black Voice News. Especially, if the market the newspaper caters to is the same market you serve. If you are willing to spend some time searching online, take a look at www.MediaBids.com . That website allows you to conduct reverse auctions or purchase advertising space directly from newspapers and magazines across the nation.

Online advertising can also be cost prohibitive and confusing since there is no real consistent standard and there are more choices than you can count. As a means of getting started, look at your local ethnic media and find out if they offer online advertising. To assess value, you will want to know how many impressions the web pages that will contain your advertisement receive. Impressions tell you how many times your advertisement will be viewed. You can expect, on average, to have less than one percent of those impressions click on your advertisement. You will also want to spend some time creating a landing page where visitors will be directed once they click on your advertisement. That landing page should be a call to action based on the advertisement the visitor clicked.

Another way to advertise online with a specifically set budget is to utilize pay-per-click services, such as those offered by Google (www.Google.com/Adsense), Yahoo (www.Overture.com) and MSN (www.StartAdCenter.com) among others. With these services you will set your budget in advance and then pay only when someone clicks on your advertisement until you reach your budget. These clicks can cost pennies to hundreds of dollars based on the keywords you choose. I suggest that you choose sets of keywords that build specialized phrases targeting your market and location as specifically as possible. You may also want to try www.ThemBid.com  if you would like to provide special offers online (think of it as online coupons), as this service allows customers to easily search for local special offers.

Next, I will discuss affordable radio and TV advertising and some other alternative means of advertising.

Elmer Thomas Jr. is Founder of Above the Limit, Inc., an award winning web and software development company dedicated to bridging the digital divide. You can find out more about Mr. Thomas at www.AboveTheLimit.com.

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