How to Get Free Local Advertising For Your Small Business

Effective advertising and marketing leads to sales, and sales lead to building a successful business. That simple equation tells us why successful businesses are always advertising.

Now wouldn’t it be great to get some free advertising to jumpstart your sales?

The Real Secret of Flyer Advertising

We all get flyers in the mail, and most newspapers have a nice collection of them sprinkled in between the pages of the paper. The most common flyers are the ones you see every week; from local home electronics and grocery stores offering up great deals for the week.

Here’s the big secret …

Those companies don’t pay for the flyers. Cool, huh? Here’s what they do; they canvas their suppliers and what they’re asking for is two things.

  1. A great offer. This is basically a discount that they are going to pass on to the consumer. It’s usually a limited time offer for the length of the promotion.
  2. A placement fee. Quite simply a check to cover the cost for featuring their products in the flyer. This is what pays for the flyers.

There’s no big trick to this. It’s a standard business practice, but most small businesses don’t know how it works so they don’t take advantage of this kind of promotional advertising.

Putting Together Your Flyer Campaign Step by Step

1. Know your audience

This technique is best suited for the local area where you sell goods or services. And although a lot of people see flyers as little more than a housebreaking tool for their dog, many people DO read flyers. And these people are looking for a good deal. A special, a sale, a unique offer.

These deal-seekers are your audience. And they live in your local area.

2. Scope out the market

Gather up as many flyers as you can and see what kind of deals other companies are promoting. Which flyers catch your attention? How are they laid out? Pay special attention to single page flyers from small businesses; this is generally the best design for small businesses and it allows you to make a strong, bold pitch for one or two products or services.

3. Find out the costs

There are a lot of ways to distribute flyers, like business-to-business fax services and mail services. But probably one of the best ways is with an insert in a free local newspaper that’s home delivered weekly. Wherever you live there are probably one or two of these local papers and they operate solely on advertising income. The great thing about these papers is they cater to your local area. And the people that like to stay in tune with the local news are the same people who love finding great deals.

Rather than making this a one-shot deal, think about running your flyer campaign weekly for three or four weeks. This will give your campaign a real chance to get results, and you can get better pricing.

Get at least two or three pricing/campaign-duration options to take to your suppliers. The longer the campaign is that you can get placement fees for, the better.

4. Craft the deal

Now that you know the costs and have an idea of the kind of deal you want to offer your customers, it’s time to sell the idea to your suppliers. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to take their suggestions on what to offer and how to offer it; after all, they’re paying for it.

But remember, you’re not just doing advertising for them. The key is, customers are coming to you, and your supplier benefits because you sell more of their goods in the process. It’s very important that you get both a discount or a giveaway from your supplier to create a compelling offer, and a placement fee to cover the cost of the advertising. Other than that, let your creativity run wild.

5. Execute your plan

Metrics are very important. You want to track the results of your campaign, and that can be as simple as monitoring the increase in your sales from the campaign.

The big chain stores that do this generally have merchandising contracts with their suppliers. The contract states that the supplier agrees to do x number of promotions a year with the retailer, providing discounts, placement fees, and marketing displays and materials. Having this kind of ongoing promotional agreement is good for both businesses.

But to get ongoing promotion contracts, you need to show results. So tracking is important. If you can show your supplier an increase in sales due to the campaign, they’ll sign up again.

Some Examples of Different Businesses

You might be thinking, ‘this doesn’t really fit my business’. Sure it does. You just have to get creative. Here’s a couple examples to show how you could work this with different types of businesses …

Example #1. You have a painting company, which is basically a service business. Professional painters generally get paint from a paint store rather than a big-box hardware store because it’s better quality and covers in fewer coats. That’s a great selling feature because it means less labor cost for your clients. Talk about that benefit in your flyer, and get your supplier to offer a 15% discount on paint. Finally, don’t forget your call to action; “Call us for a quote today!”

Example #2. You have a pet supply store. You might want to have a store-wide sale, but you also want to get your flyer promotion paid for. Secure as many sale discounts as you can from different suppliers by telling them about your promotion. Choose some key products and get some great deals plus placement fees from those suppliers. In this case, your flyer is pitching your “super-duper kick-ass store-wide sale”, and features a few really great offers that you secured placement fees for.

Example #3. You have a swimwear store. Now let’s think outside the box for this one. Discounts are great for getting traffic into your shop, but there are other incentives too. You might get one of your swimwear suppliers to sponsor a trip for two to the Bahamas, plus pay for the flyers. Customers can enter the contest at your store, and get an additional entry for every swimsuit they purchase.

As you can see, there are lots of ways to craft flyer promotion deals. And by bringing your suppliers in as strategic partners on the promotion, you can get free advertising that benefits both them and you.

Try it. You’ll like it.

8 thoughts on “How to Get Free Local Advertising For Your Small Business”

  1. Exactly what I wanted to read.

    My friend recently opened a bakery roughly 3 weeks ago. I’ve been asked to make the website for them but I’ve also talked to them about doing local advertising and so on.

    The flyer idea is pretty good since there’s quite a few papers that get circulation around here.

  2. great ideas here in the cleaning business I found that alot of people search sites like craigslist and backpage . For some reason people looking for a cleaning service don’t pay attention to flyers or even the phone book they would much rather hire a cleaner from one of those sites .

  3. I didn’t do my flyers that way, I made custom door hangers and had them delivered to every door in the area I advertised. I paid a worker to hand these every day and the influx of work more than paid for the flyers.

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