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Internet advertising spend overtook TV advertising for the first time in the UK in September 2009, as more companies focused their ad budgets online.

Some clients ask are printed adverts in the local press are a solution to slow sales, but this alone is like throwing a tiny dart at an even tinier target 3 miles away.  The likelihood of hitting your target is slim.

As much as press advertising has its place in promoting your business, it works best when integrated with other activity.

So here are some ideas you could bring into your marketing mix to deliver measurable results.

social networking for business1.  Tweet tweet

Social networks provide somewhere to build relationships, research your market, promote new products, and get customer feedback.

2.  Get a mascot

“Simples” is now part of everyday conversation because of an advertiser’s bright idea to use a Russian meerkat to sell car insurance.  Having a character associated with your business can add a third dimension to promotional campaigns.

Press release ideas for business3.  There’s no such thing as bad PR

Yes there is – Ratners is one widely quoted example when media coverage did the business no favours.  But if done well, press releases can raise your profile and help build your reputation.

Here are some ideas to get you in the press.

4. Give and receive

Recommend and rave about other companies.  It’s less sales-y if you’re happy to talk about other businesses in your field, or outside of it.

Marketing ideas for small businesses5. Go green

Ethical policies and corporate social responsibility bring you a competitive edge.  Favour suppliers with responsible policies, write your own and stand by them, show your customers that it’s not always about the bottom line, and that you care about the people and the world around you.

6. Find a friend

SkyTV gives any customer who refers a friend £50 in Marks and Spencer vouchers.  They also give a gift to the friend.

If one of my friends recommends a product to me, I trust them more than if a salesman had recommended it to me.  Make it easy for your happy customers to recommend you, and reward them for it.

benefits of sponsorship7. Will you sponsor me?

Sponsorship of a local event, attended by your target market, is a great way of accessing a wide range of audiences and showcasing your business through positive publicity.

8. Search engine optimisation

Identify the words and phrases used by your target audience when they’re searching for your product or service online, then use them in your online content.  You can also get higher up the search engines by getting links from other websites.

9. Facebook advertising

The benefits of advertising on Facebook include being able to target your customer by region, gender, age and even marital status, so your online ad only appears to people who fit your customer profile.

promotional offers for businesses10. BOGOF

Buy one get one free, £5 off your next order, free postage if you spend over £50, book now and save 20%…. these offers are everywhere, encouraging you to spend more when you order to benefit.  This sense of urgency is a great way to convert wavering customers to make that purchase.

11.  Knock knock – who’s there?

As much as I hate unsolicited direct mail dropping through my door, a postcard from White Stuff came through earlier this year, with free postage on all orders and a £5 voucher (it was my birthday).  Thanks White Stuff!  How did you know?

With some simple data management you too can get in touch with your customers around their birthdays or other seasonal celebrations to give them a little reward for their custom.  It keeps you front of mind, encourages them to buy from you, and builds customer loyalty.

How to blog for business12.  I blog, therefore I am

(I guess you’re not shocked to see this one here).

Why blog? I love blogs – they are one of the most effective ways to build relationships with your customers, engage them with your content, research your market and establish a reputation in your industry.

Related article – 10 blog posts you’ll want to write today

11.  Sell yourself

People like to buy from people, not faceless websites.

Put yourself out there – add a photo to your website on “About us”, tell your story, share your creative processes.  Connect with customers.

free marketing ideas12.  Collect testimonials

Word-of-mouth marketing is a great way to share what your customers think about your business.  They can help build trust, and work well at overcoming any customer reservations.

13.  Video

Multi-media content makes your website more engaging, which keeps visitors there for longer, and adds value to your pages.  Ideas could include product demos, customer reviews, a tour of your creative space, an interview with an employee, or with yourself about the business.

And if you’re brave enough to film yourself talking, it’s a nice way for potential customers to look you in the eye and see who they’re buying from.

marketing ideas on a budgetIf these few ideas have inspired you, then keep the fresh enthusiasm going by downloading Perfect Balance Marketing’s ebook 41 Fresh Marketing Ideas for your Business.