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The right way to advertise your business

Updated on March 3, 2016
Jeff Watters profile image

Jeff Watters is a business consultant & freelance author who lives in Havre de Grace, MD, former manager of Mattress stores & AWAI member.

Do it right or not at all.

What you need to know about business advertising

Allocating business resources can be tricky even for the most experienced entrepreneur but knowing where to put money is an important part of the equation. In my day to day activities as a business consultant, I tell my clients to divide their advertising dollar into three groups, traditional, digital, and branding. Each is important but seldom nourished as a method to gain customers and referrals.

Traditional media is the time-honored advertisement your business has always paid for but now may also extend to the Internet. This media outlet includes the placement of ads on websites and other forms of digital marketing that brand with your radio, television, print, and other resources. About 1/3rd of your marketing dollar should be concentrated on traditional paid media and 1/3rd on Internet advertising, leaving you the rest to reinforce your company brand.

Branding includes all owned media, which includes your logo, email list, building signs, menus, and other resources such as advertising on your automobiles, windows, uniforms, and should be the most cherished and very closely linked to your brand identity. Brand identity is what keeps people coming back and your company in their minds. Think Golden Arches and I bet I don’t need to tell you the company name. That is because they sunk money into building their brand. The same goes if you think of Mickey Mouse.

Save a little for later

From these figures reserve or deduct 10% of your projected budget for swing expenses, such as a particular media doing excessively well. Hold that 10% in reserve for opportunity marketing as it arises. Put it in an account so it yields interest.

When you begin to market your business, never commit to less than one-year's advertising. Most people will forget a commercial if they hear it only once. It takes repetition ~ 80 to 100 or more times to be remembered, so don’t change an ad once you place it except for minor copy. Keep the theme the same media for the entire year. Let people know what they see is reliable and they will reward you with business. Think of making a jingle or other auditory aid to compliment radio advertising and always include your logo in anything that is visual.
Under Capitalized Businesses.

The land of opportunity extends across the globe and entrepreneurs are everywhere. But not all of them have the money to realize their dreams. You can still do something about it. When I work with an undercapitalized firm, I suggest they immediately begin collecting data on their customers. Names, email addresses, actual addresses, and age groups. Most businesses offer several products, so it is important to classify each product to each group. Once the data is collected, you will know who to market to and how to attract more of that group to your business.

Start by learning through books and advertising sites. Most have some very good ideas, and you should read them or buy a book at Amazon that goes into detail of strategies. There is nothing wrong with researching every mean possible. In fact, it could save you some money.
A friend of mine once told me he invested $15,000 in a layout in a prestigious magazine that didn’t yield one customer. He only did it once, and that was the problem. You must use repetition to reap the rewards. So take away from this article this lesson. When you advertise to make it the same message for at least 100 repetitions or don’t advertise at all.

Repetition is your friend, so think along the lines of sponsoring a team, buying a billboard (space) for a year, or placement in a church newsletter. These are the small businessperson’s best friend to get the word out and they work.


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