Where and how to Advertise your Business?
Today there are millions of businesses across the world who strive to become successful. Even though they could be the best in their field of expertise they might be unheard of. A good advertising strategy can elevate the business’ success and bring in extra customers and profit. In this article you will find advice on how to create an advertising plan and describe some of the channels you may communicate with your potantial new customers.
But before we take a look at offline and online advertising channels, let’s start with the essentials of the advertising plan.
The Company Logo
The logo and headline must reflect the company’s scope and help the audience – in this case the potantial customers – to connect with the service or product offered by the business. So the logo and the headline needs to be well-thought-through as well as executed. I believe that appearance is important but clear messaging stands ahead of it all, hence a simple and effective creative design should be selected vs. following the latest trends.
The Company Website plays an Important Role in the Advertising Strategy
If you don’t have a website already that contains a description of the company, the key contact information, such as address, telephone numbers, email address, then create one right away! There are several website creating sites online that offer free packages – for example Google – just search „free website creating tool”. Additionally if your business is present on any of the social network sites, then you can also link them to your website.
Connecting with the Customers
Could you describe your (potential) customers in 2 sentences?
If not yet, then it’s time to define, before ordering the billboard ad spaces!
Making your business successful will require in-depth knowledge of your customers. Knowing exactly who the target audience is as well as understanding their thinking and habits will help you plan advertisements and achieve a high return on investment. So get a clear understanding of the customers and play to these focus points. I’ve collected a few questions here that will help this thinking process. You may find that your business has more than one target group – in this case you might need a detailed plan for each.
- What are their characteristics? (age, gender, schools, financial background, etc.)
- Why would they be interested in your services or products?
- What are the ’communication hooks’? In other words: what are the key attributes and strengths of your business they would be interested in so should be included in the ads?
- What are your customers’ habits? Which places do they visit regularly? Which websites do they look up on a daily basis?
Write down every detail and highlight the most important factors. In the final plan make sure you are addressing these points.
What is Your Goal?
At first thought you may say, I want to be successful and my business to be well-known by customers. But defining the goal and setting clear targets will help you to create a clear vision and write a detailed plan. So think about it and capture all your thoughts and ideas.
I’m listing some questions here to guide you in this process:
- Do (potential) customers know your business? If no, why not? If yes, what do they think about it? What is your business’ reputation like?
- How do you want them to feel about your company and services? Examples: confident in the quality of the service; listened to when it comes to their needs and expectations; special customer who purchases a unique product; feel they have made a saving by choosing the right product on the best price…
- What would you like them to do? Examples: visit your store; get to know your brand/service; contact you for further information; know about your current promotion; refer your business to their friends…
After this assessment you are ready to think about the offline and online channels that you are going to use to connect with your customers.
Whether your business is located in a small town or a metropolis, there are thousands of transportation vehicles going around the area every day. You may choose to use some of these surfaces to advertise your business. A few examples are: public buses, underground stations, taxis, couriers, air ad by the beach, ships.
Also cars can be used to advertise, starting with your own vehicle! Why not create some bumper stickers that you can also hand out to your family members and friends to support your success?
Joining forces with other local businesses
Drive around in the city and get a full picture of the local business that are open in your area. You may want to connect with them and have an agreement with a few (short or long term) to support each others’ ad campaign through promotions. If they support you, in return you may also promote their business by handing out their fliers or discount coupons to your customers. The new business contacts may also become your new customers!
Café/Take away coffee shop: If your target audience likes to buy coffee in the mornings at a local café, then this place could mean a golden opportunity for you. You could agree to place a branded sticker or a paper band on each take-away papercup creating a great visibility for your brand.
Burger place, donut store, hot dog stand: The same applies here as above, but instead of branded coffee cups, you could create branded napkins, straws, paper plates. The production of a few hundred of these items does not cost a lot of money, yet could be very effective ads.
Florist, drug store, grocery store: You may also find some clever advertising spaces in these stores, but a stack of fliers may also be effective.
Manicure salon, hairdresser, massage salon: If you customers frequently visit beauty salons , then aim to make an agreement with one or a few of these businesses to support your ad campaign. For example you could purchase a few flowers from the florist (on a discount price!), attach a tag with a clever slogan and your contact details and distribute them to the customers there. I’m certain it would be a pleasant surprise for everyone and you could easily gain a good reputation and new customers for your business with this self-promotion.
Places customers visit often
Shopping mall cafeteria – Branding the tables at the local mall’s cafeteria with a large foil is also an idea to consider if it suits your target audience’s habits.
On the way to work/school – find out who owns and manages ads for the sidewalk, steps, elevators, escalators as well as the billboards by the road and what would it cost to place an ad on any of these surfaces?
There are several printed newspapers, magazines, university newsletters, church community papers that you can also consider to place your ads in. But make sure that you choose the ones your customers would have easy access to and will see your ad in them.
In today’s world you can connect not only with those who visit your store, but potential clients may also find your business online. Using these channels could give you a great advantage to enhance your business performance.
If you have a Facebook page for the company but don’t have a lot of followers yet, then an online campaign would first need to target attracting new joiners. You could do this by organising a competiton, a prize game or sharing a coupon only available on this platform. Ask your friends on FB to share it with their friends too! Once you have followers, you will need to continue sharing news, articles, information and promotional activities here. This requires a lot of time and effort, so I recommend to only start one if you are comfortable by updating your newsfeed at least on a weekly basis.
Websites and blogs
Which websites have a high visitor rate and connect with your field of expertise? These might be the online channels to place ads on. Do a research and choose the right ones for your company’s needs.
Ask around your friends and business partners if they know any influential bloggers who you could build connections with. A great blogger could support your company by giving you space on the blog as well as writing about it(!).
Choosing the Right Channels to Promote Your Business
As we can see from the above overview there are several channels to advertise your business. Based on the in-depth analysis of the target audience’s habits, you will be able to choose the right one or several of them. The most important is to pick the ones that will guarantee a high return on investment, meaning that the money spent on the ad will bring in new customers and generate a large value for the business.
Whilst experimenting with the various channels, ask for feedback from customers. Find out more about where they learnt about the product or service you offer and how they liked the ad. Then build these learnings into the next ad campaign.
© 2013 Zsuzsi @ hubpages.com
© 2013 Zsuzsi