Advertising has been the sure proof method for communicating with potential buyers for decades. It offers a direct way to make customers aware of your products and services, it’s a way to introduce to them the solution you offer to their problem, it’s a sure fire way to build brand loyalty, and it’s a great tool to get clients to come back to your brand.
Advertising can very easily become a pricey expenditure for businesses. It helps to have money coming in before putting out a ton of advertising dollars for a new small business. The trick is to keep the budget low and try a few ways out first, see what pays off and then grow your advertising budget as the sales grow. Check out the links at the end of this post to get ideas for other less expensive ways to advertise your new small business.
Some lingo basics:
When someone refers to a marketing strategy, they are talking about finding ways to communicate to their clients and potential customers. These ways can include offline (for example: print ads and flyers) or online (for example: Ads on Facebook).
Tip: Write out a simple marketing strategy to start. Here’s a link with great info.
Having a marketing strategy includes deciding which forms of communication to use, which path to use, and how often to communicate your message.
For online advertising, they say “copy is king”. Copy is everything in written form about that product or service.
That means what you say matters.
Tip: The communication should be persuasive and relevant whether it’s a visual aid or written words, a video and/or a story.
One simple way to get started with advertising is to use what industry experts call Media Concentration. This strategy recommends focusing the media concentration over a few channels. Experts recommend 2 avenues.
Tip: Mel Heywood, Sales Executive with Mercury Newspaper recommends one campaign that offers one print ad and one digital ad. For more information about this email Mel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trial and Error are normal when starting to advertise. Experts recommend trying out different methods and seeing which one works the best for your business goals.
The psychology behind selling suggests that if there is too much information or too many choices buyers get overwhelmed. So, simplify. Start with one or two ways to advertise, promote 1 product or service and leave it at that.
Here are 8 ways to advertise a new business:
- Run low budget ads in a local newspaper or magazine.
As one form of “print” advertising this would include running ads in a magazine, industry publication, newsletter, newspaper or billboard.
What’s needed: Decide on the size of ad (depending what’s offered), which images to use, the wording to be added and your budget for this. You want something that catches the reader’s eye and stands out. This is when a good brand image is helpful.
Tip: Because costs for this type of advertising can vary so greatly it’s a good idea to first find out all the advertising options you can use for that publication and then decide which works best for your business.
It’s also good to find out long the ad will run for. Unlike digital advertising strategies that can be tracked by click thru rates and other actions, it’s not easy to find out what the response rate for a print ad is.
- Try door hangers. Another form of print advertising.
Not the most cost effective but it offers more potential buying leads than other forms of print because it’s a larger form of distribution. Door hangers generally have a 1-3% response rate.
Note: For those percentages to happen, the ad has to be something that leads the potential customers into a call for action: an action step like walking into your store, calling you or to visiting your website to buy. Those customers are leads until they become sales customers.
To learn how to do this, this post is helpful.
Here is the US Post Office product they offer.
- Run an ad in a local trade magazine.
This link offers the advantages to this approach.
- Start or Join an Online community.
Communities are online groups that make their content and engagement available only to its members. One new trend are the groups you can join on Facebook.
Groups have been around for a while but now you can pay to join a specific group, provided you are accepted by the moderator and follow the rules. Communities are similar to forums where people can dialogue with each other, ask questions and get resources. The idea is to get closer to those that buy the products and services you are offering.
If this interests you, here’s a great post about strategies.
Tip: Some forums and groups are very open and invite sales talk, surveying the audience and talking about what you are offering on their forum. But some are not. Read the contract form (that’s that link that says “I agree to” on the site you click right as you are joining). It’s worth a read so you don’t burn bridges or put people off.
- Create a free Yelp listing.
Yelp itself is the best source to help get you started, click here for more information.
- Host a free workshop.
I’ve had several colleagues offer free workshops to build their mailing list and capture potential leads. Offering to host a free workshop or seminar can be a great way to get in front of prospective buyers and build brand awareness.
Tip: look at trade websites or industry magazines to see what topics are trending and then you can cater your workshop to what is current and top-of-mind for your customers.
- Offer to be a speaker at an event.
There are many service organizations that meet weekly or monthly and are always looking for speakers to engage their audience. Offering to speak at an event is a great way to get more familiar with that organization and also the local community members.
- Direct mail campaigns.
“Direct mail can take a number of forms, including mailing samples, letters, uniquely shaped mailers and catalogs.For direct mail pieces, there are several cost components:
- designing the mailer
- printing mailers
- purchasing a mailing list
- postage costs”
Additional ways to advertise:
- Radio Ads
- Television Ads
- Pay per click ads
- Banner ads
- Retargeting ads
- Yellow Pages
Get your company name out there, build your presence and your brand!