One of the many challenges facing small businesses today is effective advertising. Many small businesses don’t make marketing budgets a priority; if they do, it is not typically considered a large part of the overall annual expenditures. Word of mouth is free, but can also be slow, tedious and a bit of a gamble for a new business. With that in mind, there are several tried and true options available that enable a small business to get the recognition and promotion they need for success – without breaking the bank.
First, consider your business and the industry to which you are connected. What do you offer that no other business in your industry can deliver? What are your benefits? What’s in it for the customer? Research has proven that two out of three ads are ignored by consumers. Furthermore, it takes getting an ad in front of a prospective customer nine times before they actually remember your product. With those types of odds, consider concentrating your advertising in one medium at a time and give each one a chance to work. This will keep you from spreading yourself – and your budget – too thin, too fast.
Among the affordable options available to small businesses are yellow pages advertising, newspaper and radio. Some of these options may be more expensive than others, so to get the biggest bang for your buck, purchase the largest advertising space you can afford in each of these mediums. Other options that might be considered more unique:
Partner with local retail establishments
Whether a fast food chain or a discount chain, work with the management staff of a local retail outlet to include advertising leaflets in their “to go” orders or merchandise bags. This is a low cost option that has far reaching potential in your immediate area.
“Big screen” advertising
Contact your local movie theaters to get your ad included in their preview advertising. Many local businesses take advantage of this option to get their business name in front of hundreds of people each day, usually in multiple theater locations. Consider including an advertising flyer or coupon as an additional marketing piece at the theater’s concession or guest services area. Full color flyer printing is typically very affordable and can give you a great deal of impact for not a lot of expense.
While slightly more expensive than the aforementioned campaigns, direct mail postcards are another possible advertising option for small businesses. The majority of the expense surrounding direct mail is the cost of postage, so keep your mailing list clean and concise. Postcard printing can be purchased from many local or online printing companies for pennies on the dollar. With the right design and a mailing list that adequately covers your desired geographic market, direct mail postcards are generally much more favorably received than other direct marketing attempts, such as telemarketing or door to door soliciting.
From the yellow pages to the Internet, the marketing options available to small business are plentiful. Find the one that works best for your business and watch your revenues grow!