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How to Trade for Advertising

By: Kevin Nunley

Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice, copywriting, and promotion packages. See his 10,000 free marketing ideas at DrNunley.com Reach Kevin at kevin@drnunley.com or 801-328-9006.

What do you do when you don't have enough cash to advertise? You trade! Trading products and services for advertising is one of the hottest marketing topics in business discussions. And for good reason. Bartering for ads can give the small business person excellent opportunity and value.

One radio station owner, who never forgot his penny-pinching beginnings, is always on the lookout for businesses wanting to trade. When he needed extra storage sheds behind the studios, he got a carpenter to build them in exchange for free commercials on his stations. When the station promotional vehicles required regular detailing, he traded commercials for custom car washes. A big snow brought a private snow plow purchased with traded on-air mentions.

The station owner figures he has a few commercials that his sales reps won't sell. Why not trade them to other business people who have extra products and services they can't sell? It's a classic WIN-WIN arrangement. And lots of media managers welcome the situation.

Joan, who owns a very successful donut shop, bases her advertising entirely on trade. She gives boxes of her high-quality donuts to select radio stations for daily giveaways. In return, they speak highly of her donuts on the air. It's not unusual to hear a morning DJ go on and on about how wonderful her product is. She has a rock solid reputation in the community as a result. The cost? A few boxes of donuts that might be surplused anyway.

A newspaper editor reminds us that radio isn't the only fertile ground for trade. Newspapers frequently need traded items and services to give away as prizes to readers, advertisers, and employees. He advises to check with the circulation department. They often need prizes to give to paper boys and girls.

A TV exec recently emailed me to say that 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 on this," he said.

Be creative. Got a book store? It's trendy now days for TV weathermen to publish their own books on local weather stats. Call the manager at your favorite TV station and offer to do a cooperative promotion with the station. They can place the books in your store, AND have their weatherman do in-store appearances, in exchange for mentioning your store's locations. Offer to help them write and publish the book.

"But I'm a Realtor," one man told me. "How would I trade real estate services to a media outlet?" There is a Realtor in my town who solved the problem. He does his own real estate show on talk radio. Enlisted sponsors pay his on-air fees. 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.

Not all media outlets do trade. Some welcome trade some times of the year and not others. Many will do a part trade, part cash arrangement. A great many will bonus a certain number of 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.

© 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996 DrNunley.com.

Other Articles by Kevin Nunley

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