One of the most important and costly aspects of running a successful business is advertising. With a rapidly changing market, it’s not just about getting your name out there anymore. The introduction of Social Media has made it too easy for small businesses to fall under the radar when it comes to the marketing sphere. Simply having the tools and ticking the boxes is not enough – you need to know how to use them, and use them right.
Marketing a business, especially a newer one is extremely time consuming and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Small businesses in particular also often feel as if they are lacking in resources to achieve promotional success. Large corporations are known to outsource their advertising needs, and this knowledge can be quite daunting to a small start-up looking to get its feet off the ground.
Because of this fact, it’s all too easy to get carried away and throw money down the drain trying to make your ads bigger, bolder, and more different. The thing is, whilst this may have the ability to be effective – it’s ultimately a risk – and when time and money aren’t on your side, unnecessary risks such as these aren’t worth taking. Instead, simple, cheap and easy ways to get your name out there such as the ones below are risk free, and much more likely to yield you the results you were hoping for!
Long gone are the tired advertising methods that offer little feedback, seem like consistent time wasters and fail to offer immediate or lasting results. Here are four ways to ensure that you are advertising your business successfully.
- Create awareness in the community
One of the best ways to ensure your business has a solid foundation to build its brand and spread its name is by ensuring you have grounding within the community. Whilst the scope of your local area might seem quite limited, do not underestimate its power.
Involvement in the community is extremely easy, and once you’ve established yourself, the pressure of trying to stay afloat in the local arena won’t rest solely on the shoulders of your business. Perhaps surprisingly, this is where tools such as offline advertising can come in handy.
Offline advertising, much like focusing time spent advertising locally may seem counter intuitive. However, in a market where the online world is booming, it is also only targeting certain markets. There are a wide range of target groups that lie in the offline marketing sphere, for example, newspaper readers, which you may be missing out on completely. The best thing about this is that you can reel them in at almost little to no cost.
Submitting articles, or pitching your business to the local newspapers, meeting with reporters, working with local clubs etc. can be a great way to start creating that all-important foundation. Gaining coverage in local print will aid in growing your business name/brand awareness and help to educate the community about your business – which ultimately drives customer acquisition.
- Social Media is your friend, but…
While the effect of social media on business and its usefulness as a marketing tool isn’t unknown, many business owners can still be fearful to use it – or are simply using it plain wrong.
The age old rule of quality over quantity applies here. Potential clients are much more likely to ignore repetitive updates as they become a nuisance and almost routine-like. Part of this is also understanding the platform you are using – in some cases you may be able to get away with multiple posts daily, but on other platforms this can be completely overwhelming to the consumer.
For example, platforms like Twitter offer an instant stream of information that constantly updates itself so there is little to no chance of users taking in repetitive information. Platforms such as LinkedIn however are much slower, and do not update as frequently and do not offer as many channels in which users can funnel out the information they don’t want to see – which means your advertisements may be nothing but an annoyance to its users.
Understanding both the audience and the platform is key. You want them to be engaged, and you want to offer them smart and useful content that will pique their interest. Don’t be afraid to engage with them directly, the more communication between you and your potential/existing clients the better. DIY PR has never been so easy!
- Make use of email marketing
Email marketing is probably the easiest tool to master. It’s effective, time – saving, and allows you to get a large amount of information out there – something that traditional social media lacks. Email is also said to deliver the best ROI (return on interest), although you have to be mindful of what your specific client base responds to most.
There’s no use in investing all your energy into an email marketing strategy, if the hard evidence suggests that local advertising is the main source that the majority of your client base use to stay updated on your business. Understanding what works best for you is the best way to guarantee that you are getting the most out of what you are putting in.
That being said, if you’re looking to make better use of your email – a great way to do so is by developing a company newsletter. Ensure that you keep them updated, regular and informative. There are several free services that enable you to make the most of your email and turn it into something bigger and more useful. Give it a try!
- Utilise gratified customers as springboards
One of the best tools to catapult your business is completely free – word of mouth. Satisfied customers are the modern day version of a Town Crier. Nothing says more about your business than what others have to say about it.
Getting into contact with your customers, questioning them about what they appreciated, what feedback they had, where and how they found out about the business – is immeasurably beneficial to how you both run and advertise your company. Engage your clients through Social Media, Email etc. and allow them to advertise your business for you.
It may even be worth gathering testimonials and advertising them along with an article in a local newspaper, or quoting them on Social Media. The more ways you can ensure that their satisfaction reaches other potential clients, the greater the prospects are for your business to grow!