Advertising and marketing is a vital, yet often challenging undertaking for many small-business owners. Making best use of the advertising budget is often very subjective and what may work for one business, may fail miserably for another.
Some small business owners might find themselves looking for low-cost or free alternatives for their small business advertising in an effort to save money. Although there are some very effective low-cost methods available, using these methods correctly, can prove to be a huge undertaking itself.
With a host of options available, it’s easy for the small business owner to saturate themselves in several advertising methods simultaneously. This approach may seem logical at first because they are getting their name, products, or services into many areas. What is often overlooked here is that marketing a small business is an ongoing process, and attempting to keep up with several different marketing methods on a regular basis, can be overwhelming and unrealistic.
On the flip side, some business owners will choose one method and saturate themselves in that completely. This could leave money on the table, since many potential customers or clients may be looking in an entirely different area for those goods or services.
Do Some Analysis
One of the first things to do when considering your small business advertising needs is an honest assessment of your current and potential client base.
• What is your main demographic?
• Where are your potential clients looking for similar goods or services?
• Do they mainly shop off-line or online?
• Are you selling big-ticket items or a larger quantity of less expensive items? What are they buying?
Doing a full assessment of your potential clients will help you to establish the best use of your advertising dollars. For example, you do not want to be placing a print ad in a local newspaper if your demographic are generally between 18 and 30. These shoppers are buying products on the internet and directly from their cell phones and would not give print advertising even a brief look. However, if your demographic include the 50 to 70 age range, you could do very well placing several ads in magazines or newspapers, since this is the medium they are more accustomed to.
It May Be More Work Than Expected
When given more thought, some small business owners find the best use of their advertising budget may not be in the advertising itself, but in the strategic planning stage of their advertising campaign. Taking the time to understand the needs of their market before they start to spend their advertising dollars can often give them the advantage right out of the gate. While other small businesses are spinning their wheels and fighting their way through the minutia online, they are strategically planning their campaign to ensure its viability.
Where to Find the Answers
Strategically planning a marketing campaign can be as much an undertaking as sorting through the various methods of advertising available and many small-business owners do not have the time or the attention to lend to this process. In these cases, it’s often best to consult with a marketing professional or consulting firm and discuss the various options that are available to the business. This is especially true, when navigating the world of online advertising.
Small business advertising involves an entirely different strategy than marketing a large corporation and it is important to find a consultant that understands the needs of the small business owner. Finding a consultant that specializes in small business advertising will be the best way to ensure your marketing campaign coincides with your small business.
Choosing the Right Advertising Firm
Not all small business advertising firms are the same. It’s important to find one with a proven record in the business of small-business. If an advertising firm is catering more to the big guys, chances are your small marketing budget is going to come in second. Seek out a firm which caters exclusively to the small-business owner. These firms are more experienced in the type of advertising best suited to the small-business owner.
An experienced small business advertising firm acknowledges that you are small, and growing, and does not necessarily need to launch a national campaign when your advertising budget would be more effective on the local level. They will help you to focus your efforts and utilize your advertising budget to target your local customer base whether that is online or off.
Once you find a firm you feel comfortable with, be sure to explain your expectations and individual needs so that they can put your advertising budget to the best use. If there is any question as to how your advertising dollars will be spent, these could be addressed up front so there will be no surprises when the campaign is actually launched. Be sure to have them put a comprehensive plan in place, and in writing, so that you have a chance to review it and ensure that it suits your businesses individual needs as well as your expectations.
Small-business advertising can be challenging, but don’t go it alone. Seek out a reliable firm you can trust to assist you so you can get back to business.