Game Day is almost here and while the final score is anyone's guess, here's what we know for sure: Your small business can't afford one of those very high-priced Super Bowl ads that everyone will be talking about in the break room on Monday morning.

But even though a Super Bowl ad may not be within your company's reach, it's important to understand why brands drop millions on Super Bowl ad spots and how to leverage cost-effective strategies to create a similar effect for your small business.

Buzz: The Essence of Super Bowl Advertising

It's estimated that 30-second ad spot during this year's Super Bowl will cost as much as $5 million. That's a lot of money to invest in a single ad, but for some companies, it's money well spent.

Why? Because the point of a Super Bowl ad is to generate buzz about the brand. For some brands, buzz comes in the form of a viral ad campaign that cuts across a range of channels (e.g., TV, online, social media, etc.). For others, a Super Bowl ad simply creates much-needed awareness with consumers and cements the brand's position as a major industry player.

In 2015, viewership for the Patriots-Seahawks game topped 114 million, making it the most watched TV show in U.S. history. So you can see why a $5 million ad spot for this year's Panthers-Broncos game makes sense for some companies. It ultimately boils down to the return the business expects to achieve from the anticipated exposure the ad will provide.

Small businesses face similar advertising challenges. Local ads can generate buzz with target audience segments and build awareness for your small business. But to achieve desired outcomes, you'll need to make smart decisions and look for ways to maximize the impact of your advertising dollars.

How to Promote Your Small Business Like a Super Bowl Brand

Advertising and other promotional strategies can benefit your small business both now and later, when you eventually list the company in the business-for-sale marketplace. By raising the company's visibility among new and existing customers, you can grow your customer base and increase business value.

  1. Community-Based Advertising--In smaller markets, it's not uncommon for groups of small businesses to band together to promote their companies in the local community. In addition to leveraging the combined advertising budgets of multiple businesses, this type of advertising can produce goodwill by emphasizing your company's standing in the community.
  1. Complementary Advertising--In certain scenarios, it makes sense to partner with a complementary business on joint promotional campaigns. For example, an independent bookstore could partner with a local optometry practice on a campaign that features shared messaging and reciprocal discounts for readers. The sky is the limit when it comes to identifying potential partners and opportunities, but the benefit is that complementary advertising can expand your reach and audience.
  1. Pay per Click--Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be a very cost-effective way to build awareness with specific groups of people. Assuming that you have already invested in a high-quality business website, the key is to structure PPC campaigns around the right keywords and market segments.
  1. Social Media -Across all industries, the most successful small businesses actively engage customers through a variety of social media channels. Similar to PPC advertising with Google and other search engines, social media advertising can also be an affordable way to increase exposure among targeted customer segments.
  1. Event Sponsorships--Event sponsorships have the potential to generate real exposure for small and medium-sized businesses. Although it's not realistic to sponsor a large, national event, local and even regional sporting or entertainment events can offer valuable opportunities for building awareness with groups of like-minded attendees. If the right event doesn't currently exist, consider organizing an event that will appeal your target audience.

We're currently seeing plenty of supply in the business-for-marketplace and the most attractive business opportunities are often the ones that have strong customer bases.

By building awareness about your business through a diverse mix of intelligent advertising and marketing strategies, you can develop your customer base and make your business more desirable to buyers when you eventually decide to exit.

Published on: Feb 5, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.