ADVERTISING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
No matter what industry you’re in, everybody needs customers. Whether you’re selling products or offering services, attracting and keeping customers is the key to a business’ success and an integral part of any good business plan. Of these two things, attracting customers may possibly be the hardest to accomplish and this is especially true if your business is just starting out or if you are operating within an oversaturated market. Whilst strong soft skills and selling techniques will secure your sales, you need the leads in the first place! There are several steps you can take, however, to make your business more visible and attract the right kind of customers to your door.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Your first step should be to identify your target market. By finding out who your customers are – their needs, wants and behaviours – you will be able to better target your advertising to meet them head on. Demographic research can be undertaken in various ways, by studying and analysing both your target market and your competitors. Many businesses choose to utilise social media to find out what their customers are looking for, as well as harnessing the power of web analytics to correlate leading search terms within a particular industry.
ALLOCATE YOUR BUDGET
Allocating a portion of your finances to advertising can be a wise investment and doesn’t need to cost the earth. There are plenty of ways to advertise your business which are either free or very low cost.
Online advertising – Investing in Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and other forms of online publishing are low cost methods of advertising your business to hundreds of thousands of people, with one click of a button.
Reciprocal Advertising – This can be conducted both on and offline. Find other businesses who will allow you to place advertisements on their premises or websites in exchange for your advertising their business in return. Some companies may also advertise your products or services in exchange for a discount.
Get Involved – Promoting your business within the local area could be as simple as getting involved with local activities, charity drives or events. The more active your business is within your community, the more likely it will be that you gain free advertising in the form of word or mouth or local media coverage.
Some of these methods might require a small initial outlay – for example, printing leaflets to put through doors or to place on other premises – however if you get your marketing copy just right you can be guaranteed of a return on investment.
HONE YOUR MARKETING COPY
The most important part of advertising is getting your copy right – these are the words you will use to sell your business and attract customers. There are plenty of ways to write good copy and you may quickly find that what works for a particular product or service won’t work for another. So remember to keep your copy simple and always include a call to action to encourage your potential customers to give you their business.