Paid vs free advertising – which is best?

Nowadays we are busy. Busy scrolling on our screens. Busy with out day-to-day routines.

So how do you reach out and connect with customers and clients to tell them about the fabulous things you do?

There’s a time and a place for free communications that can work wonders. But you may need to consider spending some cash too.

Let’s take a quick look to explore this idea a bit more…

Use free channels of communication

  • To experiment and try something new without investing money. Test the messages that work well and resonate with people. Think about creating a content calendar for free.
  • To understand what works well and ways to improve. You can do a ‘soft’ launch to throw ideas out in to the world with low risk.
  • Enjoy being authentically creative to share your brand image and unique perspective of knowledge and expertise.
  • Tell a story that is emotive and engaging. People will connect with it and enjoy learning more about you.
  • Put yourself visible as the ‘face’ of the business

Examples: create a content calendar for social media. This could include a social media planner with posts to increase your instagram followers.

Create a blog post content calendar with editorial content. Ask your customers  for reviews, create an email newsletters or share news stories and PR. Consider creating a video content calendar and don’t forget to include auto captions and subtitles so it’s accessible.

… but there are times when you may want to invest some money to advertise your products and services.

Try paid advertising

  • To give you control to decide who sees your message.
  • Choose how, when and where your message is shared. Think of it as a targeted approach
  • Pay to share messages so you can guarantee ‘eyeballs and foot fall’. Paying allows you to control that people will certainly see your content on a screen or while they out and about on a billboard for example.
  • To understand your audience. Who are you talking to and what can you learn about them. Paid adverts can give you some insightful clues.
  • Spending on advertising gives you functionality and options in apps and software that gives you more tools and options to play with.
  • When you spend on communications you can ask clear questions about the success of the advert. Ask for detailed data to understand clicks, impressions reach and more, for example

Examples: pay to advertise in places and spaces such as digital platforms: Spotify, Meta, Google, Tik Tik) could be good places to start. Look at the rules for selling products on Instagram as an idea.

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Louise is a media, marketing and communications specialist with over 20 years experience working in TV, Radio, print and online media for BBC and Commercial brands, businesses, and services.

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