External advertising is the type of advertising businesses use to reach target audiences. It includes most of the ads you see on a daily basis and is designed to make an audience aware of a company's mission, services or products. External advertising appears through a variety of different channels, but four of the most common are the Internet, print, TV and radio, and signs and displays.

Internet Advertising

Many small businesses seek an advantage with Internet ads, and there are many ways to go about it. Web ads can be as simple as placing a small banner ad on a local, strategically selected website that hits your target market. With a larger budget, you can pay more for elaborate websites or attention-grabbing multimedia videos, and opt for more expensive placement on high-traffic websites. You also have the option of taking advantage of direct e-mail campaigns and paid search terms. Often, when it comes to web ads, if you're not well-versed in techniques, the best investment comes in the form of a consultant who can help you find the best mix of techniques for your business.

Several avenues can be taken with print advertising, but some commonly-used mediums are magazines, newsletters and newspapers. Magazine ads, depending on the circulation, can be quite expensive. However, if you focus on an appropriate trade magazine publication, with a specific niche market, you might have a better shot at hitting your target audience. You could also consider buying ad space in a newsletter, or producing your own if you have the staff to put a newsletter together. Ads in local newspapers might also be an effective option, and they tend to be cheaper than magazine ads.

TV and Radio

Although TV ads can be very costly, advances in technology are making some production costs much more affordable. Placement costs will vary widely, depending on station choice, station reach, time of day and time slots. Many of the same considerations are true for radio, although the production costs will almost always certainly be lower than TV.

Signs and Displays

Signs and displays can be very helpful in achieving your advertsing goals, but just like other forms of advertising, placement is key. You'll be wasting your time and money if they're not where your target audience has a good chance of seeing them and retaining your message. Hiring a good graphic artist to help you with this medium is well worth the cost to ensure the design and verbiage are effective.