Are you ready for some football?

At no surprise, the most expensive advertising day of the year is Super Bowl Sunday. According to NBC, 30 second spots for Super Bowl XLIV are reportedly selling for $4.5M (say what?!), an increase of over 12% from Fox’s rate in 2014. For most, forking over that type of money for a “moment in time” campaign is out of the question. I don’t care who’s performing during the half-time show. But if you’re one of a handful of brand marketers with your pockets lined, here’s hoping you pull off a water-cooler worthy spot like GoldieBlox did at last year’s game.

Ok, so you don’t have a cool $4M in your budget? But you still want to create Super Bowl buzz? We thought this approach last year from Newcastle Brown Ale was so clever, it hurt. One of their “If We Made It” campaign online spots featured Anna Kendrick poking fun at the traditional well-paid celebrity appearances in high priced Super Bowl ads only to find out that the beer maker didn’t have the money.

And to the other 99% of marketers, small can be just as big. Think about a store-level campaign to increase overall visits and encourage your loyal customers to show patronage on Game Day. Here are a few affordable tips to successfully run a Super Bowl campaign:

1. Stay Current: This seems like a no-brainer, but if your menu and site are outdated or unattractive, customers are less likely to purchase from your establishment. Take a quick assessment of your site now to see if there’s any glaring issues. It’s essential to have a seamless and intuitive online ordering experience for your customers.

2. Cross Promote: You sell chicken wings. You know soda pairs well with wings, so your objective is to promote soda. Create a value-driven promotion like “Buy 2 large wings, get 2 sodas for the price of 1.” Pair related items to create a win-win situation for all parties.

3. Create Thematic Fun: Ever think of making that sandwich bread in the shape of a football? What about a special online game? When you “eventize” thematic food for special events, they tend to sell better due to its limited window of purchase. Here’s an example of Papa Johns’ online Super Bowl game for a chance to win free pizza the day of.

Papa Johns Super Bowl 2014 gamefication promotion

Papa Johns Super Bowl 2014 gamefication promotion

4. Social Media Presence: Make sure that leading up to the Big Day, your social media presence is palpable. According to the Pew Research Center, over 30% of Facebook users get their news from Facebook. With engagement like that, it’s vital to keep your social feed up to date. You can also create a unique Twitter #hashtag for your brand and promote it in-store and on your social sites. Make a contest around the hashtag to increase awareness and generate excitement.

5. Direct Communication: Don’t underestimate the tried and true power of direct mail. Send out an email a week before launching a promotion, new menu items, or special in-store events. A few days prior to the campaign, send out another short reminder email. If you’re creating a Spendgo-powered campaign, you’ll be able to track how many emails were opened and the direct ROI with your efforts.

6. Incentives, Incentives, Incentives: Offer double points on the items you want to promote during the Super Bowl. This campaign can easily intertwine with the cross promotion idea. A good example would be “Buy 2 large pizzas, get an order of breadsticks for 2X points!” Customers love getting rewarded for their actions.

Whether you get inspired with these ideas or hatch others, the Super Bowl is too large of a national event to stay stagnant. It’s a chance to reward your loyal customers and gain new ones. If you’re looking to promote new menu items or just trying to keep up with the buzz of Super Bowl Sunday, we’re always here to help at Happy marketing!