Advertising Your Business Is Not An "Extra" Expense

Advertising Your Business Is Not An Extra Expense.

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Advertising Your Business Is Not An "Extra" Expense

“I need to bring in more revenue before I start advertising.”
As a former media account executive, I heard this phrase regularly. In marketing a small business, the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money”, is an inescapable truth. Advertising is an investment in growing your business. While an unlimited advertising budget would be great, obviously this is not the reality for most businesses. They key to managing your marketing budget wisely is making every dollar count. While most business owners realize that having a marketing plan is a must, often they don’t know where to begin.
A good marketing plan is an integrated one. Many businesses rely only on Internet marketing, or running TV commercials on local cable networks, or a weekly newspaper ad. A successful campaign will include several advertising media vehicles as part of an overall marketing plan. Below are a few to consider.
People love to see themselves and their businesses on TV. Remember, though, that you aren't selling to yourself. Make sure to identify your target audience before buying any TV airtime. For example, if you are selling eyelash extensions, your target audience will most likely be women ages 18-49. A good media salesperson will help you choose the programming to best reach your target audience. Television can be costly, so if you’re just starting out, you may want to wait to launch a TV ad campaign.
By now, most people realize that to be competitive in today’s business environment, having a website is an absolute necessity. You can hire a web designer to create your website, or do it yourself. In the past, it was necessary to invest in expensive software, or learn specialized web programming skills or HTML code to design a website, but today there are several website builders that let you place your text, images, and design elements to create your own website. You will also need to decide on a domain name and arrange for website hosting. The best do-it-yourself website companies serve as a one-stop shop, where you can design your site, have it hosted, and get your domain name set up all at once.
Radio advertising is a great way to get your message out to targeted groups of people. Each radio station reaches a specific demographic, based on its programming. As with television, a good salesperson will provide you with an advertising proposal best suited to reach your prospective customers. Sponsoring special programming, such as traffic or weather reports, is a good way to break into radio advertising while staying within your budget. You can also combine sponsorships with a traditional 60-second spot schedule for maximum impact.
Both daily and weekly newspapers can be effective marketing tools. A big, splashy ad is great for advertising a special event, like a weekend sale. However, for long-term branding of your business, you may want to consider running smaller ads more frequently to keep your message in front of your audience on a consistent basis. Another advantage to running a more frequently is that most papers offer a discount for advertisers who run more often.
Direct Mail
A major advantage of direct mail is its ability to target very narrowly. You can purchase mailing lists that sort by occupation, zip code, household income, leisure interests, and more. Direct mail can be in the form of postcards, brochures, interactive CDs, or coupon books. Whatever you choose to mail, be sure to design an eye-catching piece with just enough text to get your message across. Don’t try to cram too much information on the back of a 4”x6” postcard. Instead, direct recipients to your website or 800 phone number.
Whatever marketing efforts you decide on, remember that consistency is key. The goal is to plant your company name into the minds of your prospective customers. This takes place over time, so plan ahead, be patient, and be creative and have fun with your marketing!

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