7 Tips for Small Business Advertising
Getting the word out to consumers about what you have to offer may seem like a daunting task. While no two consumers are alike, the key is finding those who have the same needs or wants that your business can fulfill. However, this doesn’t mean there is space in that specific market for your products or services. Why? The answer is that a competitor might hold more market share than your business, advertise more often, have refined their target market better, or their value proposition might stand out better.
It's all about how well you know your customers and how you use this information to reach them. If you can conquer that, you’ll have the competitive advantage in your market share. Small business advertising starts with establishing and then maintaining your identity. Keep this in mind when brainstorming advertising ideas. Here are seven tips to remember when creating your advertisements:
- Put a benefit-heavy headline in the forefront. Your headline must tell readers how your product will be beneficial to them. This is key for pulling an interested audience into your marketing piece. Tell your targeted audience clearly and quickly what your product or service will do for them, and specifically, what problem your business can solve. Don’t just sell the features; sell the benefits.
- Insert photographs and graphics worth talking about. You shouldn’t only sell your benefits in your headlines, but in the rest of your copy and images as well. An audience might not care that a digital camera has the best pixel count on the market, but they will care about the fact that their photos will come out looking sharp. Tell your audience the benefits first, and then explain how they will get the benefits by using the features of your product or service.
- Use attention-grabbing words in your headline. It's all about how you use words like “free,” “how-to,” “secret,” “rare,” “new,” “fortune” and “amazing.” All of these words intrigue an audience, and say why you're different from the competition.
- Repetition helps create memories. Be front of mind when your audience sees your advertisement style, slogan, or better yet, your unique product or service. Your advertising efforts, especially for a small business, should be ongoing, and have a consistent element that repeats itself over and over again so that any advertisement with that element becomes connected to your brand in the audience's mind.
- Show off real customer testimonials. Testimonials from satisfied customers are one of your most effective tools for small business marketing. Your audience knows that you think your product is great; that doesn't come as much of a surprise to them. However, when other people say your product is great, that's when people really listen. For maximum results, publish a photo with the testimonial, along with the name of the customer giving the testimonial, and the city and state they are from.
- Highlight what makes you different from your competitors. The most successful way to gain a loyal business following in a sea of look-alike companies and overgrown market share is to point out what makes your offering different from everyone else's. If your competitor claims to have the lowest prices, you should claim something totally different, like having the best quality. Don’t try to compete by blending in; compete by standing out.
- Always test your ad before taking it to the masses. Testing can save a lot of money in the long run. If your ad isn’t effective with a small targeted audience, it won’t be effective with a larger group either. Host focus groups to present a few different ad ideas and see which one receives the highest audience response. Then use this top ad for marketing.