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Marketing / Business marketing

Get more value from your advertising dollar

This easy-to-follow plan will help improve the results you get from your small business advertising – in eight simple steps. Get ready for the phone to ring!

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Many small business owners take a shotgun approach to advertising hoping that they’ll hit their target. This approach can waste time and money, and the reduced returns can harm your business. These eight tips will help you get the most bang for your advertising buck.

1. Reach your target market

To ensure your small business advertising campaign is effective you need to speak with the right people. Start by reviewing the demographics of your current client base. If you’re already successful in one geographic region, age group or industry then look at maximising the exposure to other potential customers in that same group. Find out which publications or websites target these people and consider advertising there.

2. You need to advertise more than once

An advertising strategy is a plan that you commit to for the long term. Results are not always instantaneous. It’s best to advertise in the same medium repetitively, rather than placing ad hoc advertisements here, there and everywhere. 

It generally takes being exposed to the same advertisement three times before a potential client responds. Advertising on a regular basis shows that you’re committed to finding new clients, and the next time you advertise, they may be in a position to respond.

"It generally takes being exposed to the same advertisement three times before a potential client responds. "

3. Have a call to action

To gain instant results from your small business advertising campaign include a discount or special offer. An expiry date helps motivate customers to act straight away. No expiry date means people soon forget about the offer and may not purchase.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business marketing section.

4. Negotiate for editorial coverage

If you commit to regular advertisements with a publication, ask for editorial coverage. A third-person editorial provides your product or service with credibility. Your editorial should be written to look like a regular article. It must be newsworthy and/or include some professional tips, news or trends that re-enforce the message of your advertisement. The aim is to build your reputation as an expert in your industry. When a customer needs your product or service or has a problem you want to be the first person they think of.

5. Make it professional

Seek professional advice when designing your advertisements. Many publications have a graphic design department that will be able to assist you. Ensure that any logos or photos you are using are of the right resolution, and that your ad includes all relevant contact details such as your web address and phone number.

6. Check and double check

It’s your responsibility to ensure the details in your advertisement are right. Ensure that phone numbers, web addresses, dates, prices and details are correct. Have someone else in your business proofread the ad.

7. Be prepared!

Hopefully your small business advertising campaign is a success and you’re about to be rushed off your feet with new enquiries. Before the advertisement goes to print ensure that any products or services advertised are in stock and available.

8. Measure the outcomes

Question every new client about where they heard about you. This will enable you to work out which advertising campaigns have worked and which haven’t. This is valuable information that helps you set an effective advertising strategy for the following year. This information also helps you accurately allocate future advertising budgets for maximum return. 

Can you share any extra tips for optimising your small business advertising spend? Please add them below.

Dean Parker

combines 15 years of marketing experience with a Masters of Marketing degree to help small/medium business owners maximise their profit.

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