As the owner of a small business, you probably don’t have the luxury of a large advertising budget. To make the most of your limited advertising dollars, you need to establish clear advertising objectives and make use of low-cost but effective advertising strategies. A number of possible objectives and strategies may be suitable for your business.
Demonstrating a Product
One advertising objective is to demonstrate the effectiveness of a product or its ease of use. A common example is the “before and after” technique, which shows how well a product cleans, improves appearances or enhances quality of life. If your business involves selling weight-loss products or systems, before/after photos can demonstrate their effectiveness. If you operate a hair salon, photos of satisfied clients can show off your skills to potential customers.
Businesses may use advertising for the objective of building a company or brand image. Insurance agencies often attempt to position themselves as trustworthy by guaranteeing that consumers can count on them in their time of need. Car dealers use advertising to establish a reputation for fairness and honesty. Retailers may attempt to create an image of always offering the lowest prices or providing the best service.
An advertising objective may be to alter the perceptions of the public. A business that has developed a reputation in the community for treating customers poorly can use advertising to tout its new customer-service policy. The owner of a restaurant that is perceived to serve an upscale clientele may advertise new menu choices and prices to appeal to a wider range of diners.
Special Promotions Strategy
A typical small-business advertising strategy is to make use of special promotions. By developing an email database, you can send customers coupons or invite them to special sale events. Another technique is to attach coupons to receipts that allow for savings on future purchases.
Participating in blogs that pertain to your business is a strategy that allows you to interact with potential buyers. For example, if you sell products such as handmade crafts via your website, become active in craft-related blogs and include a link to your website in your signature line. You can also create a blog of your own.
Low-Cost Media Strategy
Use a low-cost media strategy to reach a targeted group of customers. For example, if you operate a computer repair service, advertise in small community or “penny-saver” publications that are often delivered to residents in a specific geographic area for free. These publications typically charge less for advertising space than regular daily newspapers, and you’ll also attract the attention of other small-business owners who could make use of your services.