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Reduce Advertising Costs by Teaming with Local Businesses

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by No Comments

When you’re a business that’s just starting out, every penny counts. And in this economy, even if you’re a well-established business, you may be watching your spending.

So how do you get out of your slump, attract new customers, and boost your revenue? Print advertising is one of the first solutions that comes to mind. But if you’re already balancing a tight budget, you may not see how to squeeze in another expense, even if you see the potential of a long-term return. An investment in advertising is a risk, and for some of us, it may seem like the risk of loss is just too large.

But we’ve got a novel idea for reducing the investment you make in advertising materials, while at the same time opening up new networking possibilities with related – but not competing – businesses in your neighborhood. It’s a win-win, and it’s relatively easy to get started. All you need is a willingness to serve as a small-time leader and the patience to do a little planning.

Simply said, we’re talking about gathering a group of related businesses together to participate in joint print advertising projects. This could be something as simple as door hangers that feature a coupon from each of four or five companies, to a newsletter full of special offers from nearly every business in the neighborhood. The more businesses you can get involved, the less the investment you need to make yourself, and as an added bonus you’ll establish a sense of camaraderie among the businesses nearby, and also give potential consumers the impression that you are a friendly establishment that works in harmony with the rest of the community. In short, you form something of a team, and everyone benefits.door hangers

So how do you make this work? As we mentioned, you have to be prepared to take a leadership role on the project. You can of course take suggestions from others as you go along, but it’s important to have a clear proposition so that businesses you approach know exactly what they’re signing up for.

So first, pick a project. You may choose to start small – for example, a full-page (8.5”x11”) 16pt cardstock flyer – that you can use as a platform for printing coupons or ads for between three and eight local businesses. Go to and check out the cost of the print project you envision. Figure out whether you’ll need to hire a designer, and if so, add in design services to the final cost of the project. And then make a list of local businesses you think may be interested in participating in your venture. Businesses you already have a relationship are no-brainers. But don’t be afraid to put “friends you haven’t met yet” on your list as well. Otherwise you’ll miss the chance to make new and potentially beneficial business connections.

Then call up your potential partners and schedule a time to meet face-to-face with them, if possible. Have an easy-to-understand, preferably printed proposal ready to present to them, that features a description of your idea, how all can benefit, the low and high range of their potential investment (which will depend on how many businesses you can get to sign on), and your plan for distribution (direct mailing, hand-to-hand delivery on the street, or giving the materials out at an event or at each of your businesses are all potential ideas). Get them to sign up and maybe even write you a check on the spot if possible, because if you leave without their agreement, the chances that they’ll actually sign up diminish greatly (although follow-up calls can help).

Repeat for each biz on your list. Then it’s off to the races. You’ll get your ad out, you’ll all see new business, and everyone will be eager to sign on for the next joint advertising venture, so you won’t have to do so much legwork for subsequent endeavors.

Awesome idea, right? Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell everyone you stole it from us.