Small Biz Advertising 101: Aim for memorable, measurable

When making your own ad choices instead of hiring a firm, consider these steps for getting started:
by: Custom Toll Free , November 29, 2016

Small businesses are not usually known for their expansive advertising budgets. The problem is, however, that they must advertise to get people in their doors spending money, which can create a kind of chicken-or-the-egg scenario.

Aside from attracting clientele and driving sales, a solid ad campaign can help establish and maintain your business identity, build trust and enhance your reputation, notes the Small Business Association.

“As a startup, you may have the best product or service available in the market,” advises James Caan in The Guardian. “But until people are aware of your business, you don’t have a business.”

Small businesses typically budget 1 to 10 percent of gross revenues on ad campaigns, the SBA notes, while a recent Entrepreneur article offers a more specific formula. Whatever your route, determining your budget ahead of time is essential to your strategy and will help you avoid knee-jerk reactions.

When making your own ad choices instead of hiring a firm, consider these steps for getting started:

– Define the long-range goals of your company, assigning specific measurements whenever possible. For example, is your goal boosting sales 10 percent next year? Drawing 30 percent more millennials? Building your online customer base by 20 percent?

– Fully understand the top benefits of your products and services and how they actually help customers.

– Create profiles of your top customers, perhaps devising buyer personas that define their demographics, preferences and media habits. Market research is helpful, but much can be extrapolated by simply observing and talking to customers.

– Identify strengths and weaknesses of your competitors relative to your offerings, fine-tuning your niche and determining elements you should highlight.

– Identify a theme for your campaign. Should you emphasize utility and performance? Glamour? Thriftiness? Prestige?

– Choose effective ad vehicles that fit your budget. Email and social media campaigns can both provide excellent ROI when optimized to reach specific audiences.

– No matter the venue, emphasize your business’ contact information in every ad, maximizing memorability with a vanity phone number that makes you easier to reach.

– Consider at least a small investment in Google AdWords in conjunction with pay-per-call or pay-per-click campaigns. Focus on niche ad groups and use long-tailed, industry-specific keywords.

– Some manufacturers offer cost-effective co-op ad programs featuring both your brands. You could also share ads with complementary businesses.

– Giveaways imprinted with your company name, such as pens, calendars and t-shirts, can increase brand recognition.

– Among scads of other affordable promotional options are vehicle signage; event sponsorship; fliers; contests or sweepstakes; StumbleUpon Adsand/or local listings on Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local.

Ready to get started? An effective advertising plan for small businesses needn’t be astronomically expensive with the right preparation.

As the SBA puts it: “You are ready for action when armed with knowledge of your industry, market and audience, have a media plan and schedule, know your product or service’s most important benefits, and have measurable goals in terms of sales volume, revenue generated and other criteria.”

Contact Custom Toll Free to secure an easy-to-remember phone number that will remove obstacles for valued customers.

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