Ideas on advertising for small biz

To advertise or not? Advertising work. No doubt. Watch TV. Listen to the radio. Check your Facebook columns. Ads are everywhere and available in every medium. With an unlimited budget like Coca Cola or the National Football League and you influence consumers.

Most small businesses don’t have that kind of budget. One good question to ask, as always, is what audience are you trying to reach and where is your audience in the buying cycle. New product? No one knows you, so you need to be everywhere. Been in business 8  years, great reputation and at the point of adding new products for your client base, different level.

Second tip –hire a media buy expert. They know the media, built the relationships, know where the deals are and what’s expensive or worth the cost. Things to factor in include getting the design and production worked out-that can be done by a pro.

One of the things to help you decide when to budget for advertising is when you can afford 10% of your gross to be put towards an advertising plan.

After budget your next consideration is frequency and reach. How many subscribers/viewers/listners (reach) and how often they can see/hear the ad.Repetition is important. A client needs to see something at least 15 times just for awareness. That doesn’t move them to be interested let alone trying it out to buy. That’s just to know it’s going on. If you aren’t saturating a market, then you are wasting time and money. You are better off focusing intense coverage in a month rather than trying to spread out the amount across six months. Factor in timing if you are offering a deal or incentive.

A one shot ad in the paper is not likely to do you any good.But in a pullout section that has a series of events or functions like a magazine, it has “shelf time”, hangs around. Not likely to go into the recycle bin same day.

In newsprint the whole page ads and the small biz card size ads are hardly read. You’re better off being on a page that has articles. Most of us skip over the super small and the whole ad. Or you may find the only people reading ads are bargain hunters. If that’s not your market, don’t go there.

Use your messages. Think about what you want to get across in the ad. Your business? An incentive?

Be sure to measure–easier said than done. People are so inundated with information that they don’t recall where they heard something. A non profit client has had people say they say the ad on billboards, TV and buses-but only ran ads on the radio. Take advantage of all the links to online platforms and cross pollination from your website to the media. This will help with using online analytics to check if consumers are seeing your ads and then being motivated to come buy your product.

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