Looking for Advice - how to spend $1,000 to $5,000 on advertising?

I run a web firm and have been doing many $1500 websites, but have also built some applications that run in the $10-35,000 range. I am looking to get more work like this. So far, I have gotten bigger projects just from existing clients, word of mouth, etc.

Business is slow, and I have a bit of reserve now, so I am considering dropping some big (for me … not for many of you) money in advertising to try and get more $10-35,000 projects.

So, the question: If you were me, and had $1,000 to $5,000 to spend on advertising, what would you do?

You could do a combination of PPC and article marketing. PPC gives you immediate results, but those results stop as soon as you stop paying the ad bills.

Article marketing takes a little longer to get going, but it’s something that you can see results from for a long time. A year from now, you might get a client who found one of the articles you published today, liked it, and clicked on your link.

I would probably do newspaper advertising making sure the ad is on the business section.

If I have that kind of budget to advertise, I would really focus on PPC, media buys, and paid solo ads. I will also spend at least $200-$300 to hire a ghostwriter to write excellent and useful articles for me and submit to hundreds of article directories online. It would definitely give me a steady flow of traffic as long as the articles are keyword-targeted.

Hire advertising company or join PPC network to increase website traffic.

PPC in beginning and some text ads on expert websites and blogs.

I am one of maybe many that has lost faith in traditional advertising - way too much noise and a lot of friction.

If you went the PPC route you could really focus on your geographic area and eliminate many of the competitors on the bid.

You could buy a seat at a trade show that caters towards your target audience (what’s the common link between businesses that have spent the big $?). You will get a lot of leads this way and it’s up to you to impress them.

Another option would be to hire a video production company and do the YouTube route. If it’s average, you’ll get views over time. If it’s something remarkable and worthy of word, you can get many.

Maybe start a referral program. Pay 5-10% of a project cost to those that bring business your way.

Multiple methods, it just boils down to where your audience hangs out.

While I like online advertising, you live and work in a community which presumably has businesses you could be doing sites for. This is much more direct and easier than competing with the slew of low cost and huge agencies advertising on PPC and other mainstream channels. Why not look at some local options, be it local directories, publications, business associations, etc both in your direct community and a large metro area if you’re somewhere small?

Local leads offer the advantage of being able to talk to, which makes for a much easier close than someone surfing through hundreds of firms via Google.