Starting a successful business means more than just opening up shop. You need to drum up interest, customers and sales to establish yourself, make a profit and meet your business goals. While word of mouth and referrals from people you know are always a great start, advertising your business is key to attracting new customers and clients.
Why You Need to Advertise Your Business
Advertising and marketing are business expenses that you must invest time and money into. Advertising your business helps with branding so that people know what your company is, what it does and what your company goals and values are. It helps differentiate it from other businesses that do something similar so that people know why they should use your business instead.
Advertising is also important for attracting customers, both locally and more widespread. With targeted advertising, you can reach your ideal clientele in cities all over the world. By attracting people who are specifically interested in using your business, you can gain more clients, earn more profits and grow your business.
Advertising Options for your Business
The most effective advertising includes a mix of traditional and online ad campaigns. These can range in price from low-cost or free to very expensive, so you want to pick a mix that fits into your budget and makes sense for your company. Some ways you can advertise your business include:
- Social media: Social media is a free way to gain a lot of exposure. By setting up free accounts through such platforms as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, you can promote your business and reach countless people around the globe. Many of these platforms also allow for targeted advertising that can cost as little as pennies per person.
- Google ads: Google ads allow you to do targeted advertising at a price point that works for you. With Google AdWords, you set the budget you want to attract more customers through keywords that are relevant to your business and products. When people type in your targeted keywords, an ad for your business pops up directing people to visit your website or give you a call. When your weekly or monthly budget runs out, your ad stops showing in Google search results. Since you set the budget, you can spend as much or as little as makes sense.
- Television and radio ads: Running advertising on television or radio is a bigger investment. It often requires you to hire an advertising company to create the ad to be run on either platform. Creating an ad is a big investment, as is paying for the ad to run on a television or radio station. Local TV and radio ads can cost less than national ads, with cost depending on how many people are reached, the time of the day the ad runs and other factors. If you are selling higher-priced items or services, this investment of $20,000 or more may be worthwhile.
- Billboards: Billboards are a more traditional advertising method that seems non-traditional. With a billboard, you can target your ideal customer in relevant parts of your city. For example, if you opened a new indoor kids playground, you can place billboards near schools, parks and other places where parents will see it. How much you’ll spend on a billboard ad depends on the amount of traffic that passes the billboard, the demographics of the people who pass it and the number of people who actually see the ad. A month of billboard advertising can range from a couple of thousand dollars to close to $20,000 or more, depending on the variables and the city you’re advertising in.
- Direct mail: Direct mail, such as postcards, is an effective way to reach people at their homes or places of business. Creating a piece of direct mail requires a graphic artist, printer and mail house. You’ll also need a list of addresses to send a mailer to.
- Email newsletters: Email newsletters are a low-cost way to reach clients directly. To send an email newsletter, you first need a list of emails to send to. These should be obtained from current customers, or by people submitting their emails to you online or in person. Once you have a list, you can send regular newsletters announcing new things going on at your company, sales promotions or other information such as articles that people may find useful.
These are just a few methods of advertising that you can use for your business. You’ll need to determine what will ultimately work best for your budget and your business, and bring you the greatest return on your investment.
Working with Professional Advertising Companies
Advertising your business can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t consider yourself a creative person. If you are overwhelmed by your options and the thought of implementing a marketing plan, you may want to work with a professional advertising company.
A professional advertising company has the resources needed to help you craft and implement a successful advertising campaign. It has in-house resources such as graphic designers, social media strategists and media buyers, and skills that you are unlikely to have at a small or medium-sized business.
An advertising company has knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, often for your particular type of business. It also has preexisting research and contacts to better help target ad campaigns so that you don’t have to start from scratch.
Sure, it’s an added expense, but it’s an investment that is likely to pay off in the long-run. Hiring a professional advertising company takes the pressure off you so you can focus on other parts of running your business.
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Why Traditional Advertising Still Matters
- U.S. Small Business Administration: 10 Cheap Ways to Market Your Business Online
- U.S. Small Business Administration: 7 Types of Advertising That Don’t Cost an Arm and a Leg
- Go Daddy: Using Google AdWords: 8 Things Every Small Business Should Know
- Fit Small Business: How Much Does Billboard Advertising Cost?
- InTouch Marketing: Why Should I Hire a Marketing Agency for My Small Business?
Leslie Bloom has worked in upper-level management positions in both publishing and the mental health field. In addition to years of business and management experience, she has more than 20 years of experience writing for a variety of online and print publications, including Metro Magazine. She holds degrees in both journalism and law.