Promote Your Business

How to save money on ads … By bartering

We all know that a successful business requires advertising…and that can be expensive. We also know that owning your own business can mean a very tight budget. So what do you do when you don’t have enough cash to advertise? Start trading! Trading products and services for advertising can not only give the small business person excellent opportunities for exposure, but it also saves money.

Trading for advertising can be easier than you think. For example, say you own a donut or bagel shop. Try giving boxes of your goods to local radio stations for daily giveaways. In return, they can speak highly of your products on the air. Or, try simply showing up with treats for the morning DJs. They’re probably hungry, and they can give you a mention during the show. All it will cost you is a few of your products.

And fortunately, radio isn’t the only place you can trade for advertising. Newspapers frequently need traded items and services to give away as prizes to readers, advertisers, and employees. Getting your product out to even a few people (especially if it has your name printed on it) can encourage great word-of-mouth advertising, and it won’t cost you much. Check with the circulation department of your local paper.

Aside from radio and newspaper, TV stations in many medium-sized and small cities like to trade advertising for products or services. You’d be surprised at how flexible some TV stations are willing to be. If you’re willing to do some checking, you could end up with some great advertising just by trading your product or service. Try contacting the advertising department.

Trading for advertising can be a useful tool in almost any business. For example, there is a Realtor in my area who does his own real estate show on talk radio. He enlisted local business sponsors to pay his on-air fees, so they get some inexpensive advertising in return for small financial support. For the Realtor who doesn’t have that show biz zeal, appearing regularly as a real estate expert on someone else’s show can be just as effective. In this case, you’re simply trading your own expertise for some on-air exposure.

Not all media outlets will trade for advertising. Some will welcome trades at some times of the year, and not others. Some outlets will want to do a part trade, part cash arrangement. A great many newspapers, radio, and TV stations will give you a bonus of a few free commercials or mentions when you buy ads.

No matter what you do or sell, there is probably a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, TV station, cable system, radio station, or on-line provider that needs you. If you’re short on cash, simply ask these outlets if they’d be interested in a trade. You might be surprised at what they’re willing to do.

About the author
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copywriting. See his 10,000 marketing ideas and popular promotion packages at Reach Kevin at or 603-249-9519.