Advertising is the rope that pulls customers in to your small business and keeps them coming. Many small businesses spend as much as 6-8% on advertising either through franchise marketing fund or on their own. In spite of spending so much money on advertising many business owners are dissatisfied with the return they are getting on their advertising spend.
One of the reasons small business owners fail to get appropriate return on their advertising spend is they do not choose the right platform to advertise their products. The choices are numerous when it comes to advertising. They range from traditional media such as newspaper and television to newer forms such as Internet and social media. Each of these platforms serves specific purpose. The key to getting good return on your advertising is to understand your goals and choose the platform that fits those goals.
Below we have highlighted the purpose served by these platforms and the type of advertising they are suitable for.
- Television – Television is suitable to raise brand awareness of your business. It enables you to reach a large audience at once. Since advertising on television is visual with animation or live action the message sticks with the customer for a long time as long as it is filmed in a memorable fashion – think those of ads you have seen during Super Ball. However, television advertising can be expensive; which is why it may be more suitable for larger business or a franchise.
- Radio – Radio advertising provides similar benefits as television. While television advertising is visual, the radio is audible. The radio’s popularity has been going down for some time and now it is mostly being listened to by people while commuting. You should focus on more fact-based advertising for radio rather than being creative as in the case of television. It is more suitable for advertising huge sales event or outrageous coupon days as mentioned in the previous post. The radio advertising also tends to be cheaper than television.
- Newspaper – Newspaper advertising is still popular with local small businesses. The advertising can take the form of print ads or newspaper inserts. The print ads provide an opportunity to reach your customer using attractive graphics and pictures; while inserts are primarily used for sale events or coupons. While newspaper enables you to reach large number of customers quickly it tends be expensive.
- Direct Mail – Companies like Valassis provide the direct mail services to small businesses where they deliver your flyers or coupons directly to customers via mail. We found this to be quite expensive when we used to own our business.
- Internet – Internet has become so pervasive these days that if you don’t utilize this medium for advertising you are missing an opportunity to large group of customers. In our mind this is a must have advertising medium these days. Internet advertising can take the form of a web page, email marketing, search advertising and others. This form of advertising is cheaper than all others mentioned above. Also, it enables you to track your responses in a better way to calculate the return on your advertising investment. We will elaborate on Internet advertising in subsequent posts.
- Social Media – This is the latest form of Internet advertising currently being utilized. They take the form of Facebook presence, Twitter, Yelp etc. We have already mentioned the power of social media in an earlier post. Our view on this is similar to Internet advertising. If you are not using this you will miss out on a large number of customers.
The key success for any advertising campaign is doing it consistently for a long time. You should consider advertising as part of doing your business and determine appropriate budget to allocate to the right platform.
What has your experience been with advertising for your small business? Let us know in the comments below.