No Money to Advertise?

In today’s struggling retail environment, garnering advertising dollars, whether online, in paper, special sections or niche publications continues to be an ongoing challenge.  Coupled with the evolving and changing advertising media (… consider the internet’s impact on other media!), the media choices for many retailers may, at times, be overwhelming.

“No money to advertise!” Simply stated, this is an all too frequent objection refrain from a potential advertiser.

However, when business is tough to get and the retail or service provider sector continues to be challenging, “No money to advertise!” may be reality, from the potential advertiser’s point of view, rather than an objection.

When a small business owner feels (rather strongly) that she has no money to advertise, your selling opportunity shifts from one of overcoming an objection to one of education. To secure any ad dollars for your newspaper, you must FIRST help her understand where to look and where to find dollars that may be utilized to invest in her business through advertising and promotion.

Within her business and without increasing her budget or without additional cash input, AD DOLLARS DO EXIST to invest in her business.  Here are six areas to consider in your search for those elusive ad dollars ….

  • Explore reducing overall salary expense … by reviewing her business’ hours of operation. Opening an hour later or closing an hour earlier without impacting customer service or revenue generates 20 hours (one hour/day x 20 days) of saved expense that may be converted to a $200/month ad budget (20 hours x $10/hour in payroll expense).
  • Bring her vendors and suppliers into the conversation … inquire from each and every business that she does business with, if co-op advertising or extra promotional dollars exist to support THEIR product placement in her business. Leverage enhanced product placement in her store or in her ads for those vendors willing to contribute to the promotion of THEIR product or service.
  •  Review her current inventory and purchasing habits and controls. (Again) is it possible to tighten her inventory without impacting customer service or revenue, and shift those savings into an ad dollar investment?
  • Take a look at helping her initiate a joint neighborhood marketing effort. Inquire locally at the Chamber of Commerce or other city agencies to see if neighborhood promotional dollars or marketing opportunities are available for the asking. This strategy may also open the door for additional and NEW advertisers for you.
  • Challenge her to review her own remuneration schedule (e.g. her salary!). Remind her that a small reduction in her personal income this year may  reap big benefits for her business and subsequently to her next year and down the road!
  • Last, but not least, help her clarify where her business dollars are going in support of her local community.  Do some services or charities or groups duplicate others … would a realignment of her dollar commitments maximize results while better allocating those funds?

“No money to advertise!” … may simply be a challenge offered to you by an advertiser to find the money!  Good luck and have fun!

 © Murray & Nau, Inc.

Chuck Nau of Murray & Nau, Inc. is a Seattle area-based publishing consultant, sales and management trainer. He has been a speaker for and conducted advertising, marketing, management and sales training workshops with newspapers, niche publishers, publishing groups and press associations, throughout North America.

Comments and questions are welcome and may be directed to Chuck via or at (425) 603-0984.