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Marketing and advertising can become incredibly costly for businesses. The misconception that the more you advertise the better its effect is gradually being replaced by more creative, effective advertising methods.

With so many options at their disposal, business owners may feel overwhelmed when trying to decide on an effective marketing campaign. The secret is to choose a few methods that are most applicable to your business model. Your product or service can easily and cost-effectively be advertised using some of these creative methods:

1. Reap exposure through guerilla advertising

Guerilla advertising is a style or form of advertising that costs little or no money, seen most predominantly out and about on city streets. Guerilla marketing is where the most creative and original of advertisers can let their imaginations run wild. The key is to tie it back to a bigger campaign, where possible.

Even brand giants like Sony have used guerilla marketing tactics to promote their products. For example, in the past, they have hired actors to hang out at popular tourist attractions, with the latest model of smartphone, asking strangers to take their photo.

Guerilla advertising examples:

  • Inventive chalk directions to a bricks-and-mortar store.
  • Creative street art, especially in chalk.
  • Organize a flash mob.
  • Place people on streets to subtly promote a product.

2. Get social with your advertising

Social media can no longer be ignored. Businesses utilizing social media in advertising is nothing new. However, by creatively using certain platforms to their full potential, brands can stand apart from competitors and leverage the trending power of the internet.

The options are near-endless: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Snapchat, and the list goes on. However, each platform is unique in its own right. Choose the most applicable options for your business or brand rather than trying to master all at once.

Creative social media use:

  • Livestream an event on Facebook.
  • Join in on trending hashtags on Instagram or Twitter.
  • Begin a subreddit or join in on a relevant community on Reddit.
  • Use your Instagram feed for creative photo advertisements.

3. Everyone loves coupons

Coupons are great for product promotion and brand awareness. Digital coupons can be easily adapted for social media, Groupon or other online coupon hotspots. However, don’t limit your advertising potential by forgetting about the physical coupon. A coupon book is like a pocket-sized advertisement for your business, which is especially effective on a local marketing level.

Creative coupon use:

  • Send coupons with postcards to customers.
  • Distribute coupon books for customers to carry around with them.
  • Use social media to give out flash coupons.
  • Using QR codes, leverage smartphone technology with mobile coupons.

4. Use unusual outdoor ads to stand out

Outdoor signage is a tried and tested method of advertising. Now, many advertisers are taking a more unusual approach in order to stand out from the crowd. Use the climate or the season, engage local foliage or design ads around certain other features. Be it large outdoor signs or small flyers, businesses can use the surrounding environment to enhance their ads.

Creative ways to use outdoor ads:

  • Create an ad that pops by combining both digital and physical elements.
  • Build an ad that jumps out at you. For example, an ad for paint with two mannequins situated in front of the billboard “painting” it.
  • Use digital displays on public transportation stops to surround commuters.

5. Sponsor sightseeing maps

Every train station, bus stop or hotel lobby offers them. Most tourists will rely on the handy pocket maps that pinpoint the city’s main tourist hotspots and places of interest. By sponsoring these types of maps, your business and brand can be promoted to city visitors looking for shopping districts, places to eat, drink or socialize, as well as having your business featured as a stop on the map route.

6. A winning formula

The general public love competitions. Not only do competitions provide the opportunity to win something (which we all love), it gives participants a sense of excitement and hope. This makes a brand memorable. With social media, there are a number of ways advertisers can get creative.

Creative ways to use competitions:

  • Caption competitions keep people thinking about your brand for days.
  • Submit-your-vote contests keep people engaged with your products.
  • Photo and video contests allow people to upload themselves engaging with your product.
  • A “biggest fan” competition encourages people to promote your brand for you.
  • Tag-a-friend competitions are a modern form of refer-a-friend advertising.

A final piece of advice is to ramp up creativity at certain special times of the year. Don’t ignore holidays and other important local dates. Integrate these events into your creative and interesting advertising campaigns and your business or brand will be sure to connect with your target audience on an emotive level.