As a small business owner, you are likely visited weekly, if not daily, by advertising representatives from TV, radio, and newspaper. These people are sales professionals paid based on commission. Their job is to convince you that you will grow your business and increase your profits by investing in their services. It’s sometimes confusing to decide if the cost is worth the potential impact on your business. Before you commit to spending money on advertising, you need to consider some very important types.
Your Customer Base
Are you a restaurant looking to increase awareness of your business and attract new customers? Or are you a manufacturer who normally deals directly with wholesalers and contractors? Consider what you want to accomplish, and then you can think about how best to invest your marketing dollars to reach that goal.
Target marketing is not as complicated as it may sound. You know your business, and you know who your current and potential clients are. If you have a limited marketing budget, don’t let a sales professional try to sell you on creating an entirely new customer base. Concentrate on what you know works. It’s your money, and you are the best judge of how to spend it.
If you deal mainly with contractors and wholesalers, traditional radio and TV advertising may not be the best choice. Your clients are busy professionals who aren’t likely watching TV in the middle of the day to try to find you. You may be better off creating a professional direct mail piece that you can mail to your current and prospective clients.
However, if your business is such that you appeal to the general public (such as a restaurant or retail store), you may have a better return on investment by placing targeted ads on radio and TV, or in the local newspaper. Think of a businessperson driving home from work, wondering to what to make for dinner? A radio ad strategically placed at 5:00-5:30 may just inspire them to come to your restaurant. If you’re running a big sale that is for a limited time only, you can run ads on TV, radio or in the newspaper to let the public know what is going on.
Frequency in Advertising
What most professionals will tell you, and it is a proven fact, is that effective marketing not only needs to reach your target audience, but also generally needs to reach them repeatedly. Think about yourself…the first time you see or hear an ad, you are not likely to remember it, or even notice it. The second time, you might be more interested and listen to the message. But studies show that most potential new customers do not actually retain your message until they are exposed at least three times in a relatively short period of time.
What does this mean? Basically, unless you are running coupons for an extremely unbelievable sales event, you need to commit to an ongoing advertising/marketing schedule, or else it is simply a waste of money. If you put one penny in your piggy bank, it doesn’t do much for you. But if you commit to putting your pennies in on a regular basis, you will soon have a dollar or two. Marketing is similar in concept. Don’t expect miracles with one 30 second advertisement.
Good business people know that if their goal is to increase their profits, they need more new clients coming through their front doors. Great business people create a plan as to how to reach potential new clients so that they know how to find your front door.