As small business owners, you’re busy ... to say the least. Between balancing planning and strategizing, accounting and financing, and customer service and human resources, your plate is usually full—any given day. And, despite the fact that you probably understand the importance of marketing and advertising, more often than not these efforts are overlooked.
Advertising is a broad term that involves many activities, including marketing, promotions, public relations, and online efforts. While the success of small businesses is often contingent on advertising, many owners simply do not have the time or resources to commit to these efforts. Advertising takes work—and often, the results do not happen overnight. A successful campaign takes commitment, strategy, and often, a little patience.
Think that brands with big budgets are the only ones that see advertising success? Think again. With a little strategizing, businesses of any size can see results. If you’re looking for advice on the best advertising for small businesses, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are some techniques worth incorporating into your strategy.
1. Build Your Online Presence
Ask anyone for advice on the best advertising for small businesses, and many will reference the power of social media and blogging efforts—and for good reason. These techniques require little to no investment up front, and are proven to drive results. Publishing great content to a website or blog drives traffic to your website and contributes to your search engine rankings (which, in turn, increases your visibility). And social media enables brands to directly engage with their followers.
Though many social media and blogging platforms are either free or at least affordable up front, they do require maintenance and upkeep. A blog or social media account with very little or outdated content is counterproductive to your initial investment. Plus, not responding to user comments on social media could come back to haunt you in the long run.
2. Pay for Clicks
Because 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase, pay-per-click (PPC) is a great way for brands to target a specific audience and develop a strategy that drives the right types of leads. Google AdWords has made it easy for businesses to advertise online. These PPC efforts can provide brands with relevant, hyper-localized online traffic for affordable prices. Advertisers create ads and pay an established fee each time their ad is clicked on by an online user. These ads are then shown within search engine results or on social media platforms.
When executed properly, PPC can increase customer lifetime value, increase profit margins, and help sell niche products. Of course, as with any dedicated advertising campaign, PPC takes strategy and effort. It’s essential to establish objectives and outline a budget. Often, small business owners will outsource their PPC efforts to marketing and advertising experts. Regardless, it’s important to ensure your investments are worthwhile.
3. Go Local
Whether you’re a family-run auto shop looking for new ways to engage with your community or a new restaurant approaching opening, hosting events is a great advertising technique. From happy hours to car washes, community events can build excitement and get people in your door. Consider partnering with other local companies or individuals to create a win-win situation. Joining forces with like-minded organizations can help you reach your partner’s like-minded audience to increase traffic.
Want to take things a step further and make a splash in your community? Participating in fundraising or charity events does just this. Not only do these efforts show that you care, they also position your brand front and center in your community. Major holidays are an ideal time to make the most of fundraising events. By donating a portion of your sales to charity, you make your customers feel good about spending—which can influence both foot traffic and sales.
4. Harness the Power of Coupons
Looking to make an immediate impact on how your consumers interact with your business? Coupon advertising not only compels consumers to purchase your products or services, it impacts how much money they spend. In fact, nearly 90 percent of consumers said that promotions affect the amount of money they spend per shopping trip and the items they purchase.
Ultimately, the best advertising for small businesses engages targeted users. Because the typical grocery store customer lives within three miles of their preferred store, grocery store advertising with coupons is the perfect way to reach your local market. What’s more, the average shopper spends 43 minutes in the grocery store per trip and visits local stores an average of 1.7 times per week.
This precise location targeting enables businesses to distribute messaging to exactly the right audience. At an average grocery store, this means 20,000 potential or existing customers will come in contact with your offer every week. That’s the power of advertising.