How to Advertise Your Business, Grab Peoples Attention and Win New Business – The Low Down

how to advertise your businessBrilliant advertising is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time. It is about the one brilliant idea that sweeps people off their feet and compels them to take action, get in touch with you and further their relationship with you and your brand. For a business owner this can be quite daunting, but the truth is if you don’t know how to advertise your business in a way that makes people remember your business and act upon that message, then your business will be destined to failure.

9 Methods to Successfully Advertise Your Business

Make the most of the money you spend on marketing with the following advertising plan.

1. Think outside the box.

One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when promoting their company is to produce their own adverts.Obviously, it’s tempting (money being tight) but these ads often don’t do justice to the business.

Consider getting some professional help – there are plenty of advertising agencies that are willing to work for small businesses. If your product or service has a national market, you could also consider using a media buyer – they should be able to secure cheaper advertising space than you could.

2. Who is your most valuable customer?

What do they look like? What do they do for a living? What is there annual income? What do they do in their free time? Do they like holidays? How many times a year do they travel? What books/magazines do they read? What internet browser do they use? What websites do they visit? Do they buy products online? Do they own their own home?

There are literally hundreds of questions that you could ask and maybe you will never know the answers to all of them, but knowing as much as you can helps you position your brand and services.

Build yourself a straw man or an avatar (a model of your ideal customer) and put it above your workstation to remind yourself on a daily basis who it is you are looking to provide services to.

3. Which adverts make you look twice?

When you are walking down a street and you see a billboard. Does it resonate with you? Does it make you look twice? Does it make you stop and think about the context of the message? Do you think it works? Could it work for your audience?

Do some research, browse around your competition’s website, have a look at the terminology they use, the adverts, the calls to action and take note of the things you like and you don’t like.

Use the press, newspapers and magazines for inspiration for copywriting messages. After all they are paid copywriters and journalists who eat, sleep and breathe this advertising stuff. Keep a swipe file of the adverts that provoke a reaction and think how you can tweak that message for your most valuable customer.

4. What’s your budget?

When starting up a business it is quite easy to think that you don’t need an advertising budget, that your value proposition, amazing services and your flashy store or website will do all the advertising for you. It won’t, period!

Advertising is an unavoidable expense. Not allocating time and money to promoting your business is like having a Ferrari without an engine. It looks good but is absolutely useless. That being said, the cost needn’t lead to financial ruin. Decide how much you can afford in the first year and pick methods and marketing channels that match your budget so you can carry them out regularly. Avoid blowing your entire budget on one high-profile advert – think about drip feeding your message to your target audience over a sustained period of time.

5. Why are you advertising?

Do you want to build your brand or are you more interested in generating sales? Remember, even if you are having your best sales period then you should still allocate a percentage of your sales to advertising because it can help you build a strong reputation that will sow the seeds for future growth.

6. What’s your message?

The message that you convey to your customers is constantly changing. This can be down to individual offers or promotions, seasonal changes or simply to remind your audience of the benefits you offer. Figure out what you want to say and keep the message in keeping with the brand reputation you are looking to build.

7. Which advertising channels?

There are many different channels that you could use to advertise your business. Use the template of your ideal customer and think hard about where that person may be. Pick a selection of marketing methods that match your budget and your customer behaviour. These could include:

  • A website. With more and more consumers turning to the internet for information and to purchase goods and services it is almost obligatory these days to have a website. Even a small business can benefit from setting up a website as it can provide people with information about your business such as your contact details, information about your products and services and help legitimise your operation. However you choose to set up a website, if you want to see results, you also need to think about and invest in advertising that website and making it visible to people who are searching for products and services that you offer through search engine optimisation (SEO) and other online marketing techniques.

There are many ways to get a website up and running at little to no cost. There are free contact management systems such as WordPress where you can get access to a range of templates that can be used to set up a basic web presence. There is the “Getting British business online” initiative backed by Google that also provides templates for you to design a website. If you lack the time and skills to create something that reflects the image of your brand, then you may consider working with a digital agency that can do this for you.

  • Social Media. The number of people who actively participate in social media sites has grown rapidly over the past five years and continues to increase at a rapid pace. The premise of social media is for people to like, share and connect with others and share the things that impact them, both positive and negative. Share yourself and your business with others but spend as much time, if not more, listening to what others are saying in order to generate conversations and interest. Social media can be a great way to spread the word about your business but by no means is it something that should be taken lightly. Social media can and will take an investment of time and or money in order to see results.
  • Business directories. There are many sites on the internet that allow you to register your business for free: Yell, Thompson Local and FreeIndex are just three examples. These sites will allow you to add a basic listing free of charge. While they may not provide a huge amount of leads for your business they may allow you to provide a link back to your website, which acts as a citation for your business and will increase the chances that search engines will pick up your website and may even increase your ranking the search engine results pages.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.  A highly effective form of advertising that can drive instant results for your business. PPC marketing is where your advert is triggered when someone types in a keyword phrase related to your business that takes them to your website, or more specifically a targeted sales page with a conversion goal. You’re charged only if someone clicks on your ad.  You can do this through Google Adwords or the newly named Bing Ads.
  • Local newspapers and magazines. There are still a lot of people that like to read the local newspapers that get posted through the door on a weekly basis. If you have a fixed location and require footfall to your store than local newspapers can be a great source of leads.
  • Daily Deal Sites. Groupon, Happli and Living Social all give businesses the opportunity to advertise their products or services to their members. This may seem like a great idea however you need to read the small print. Most of these companies expect you to offer a huge discount and also sacrifice up to 50% off the revenue of a deal. Before committing to such a deal do your due diligence and make sure the deal works for your business.
  • Niche magazines. Is there a specific magazine that people interested in your business read? If so price out how much it would cost to run an advert in the magazine, or perhaps see what it would take to get an editorial piece?
  • Local radio. Although this is relatively expensive it can attract immediate results and along with internet advertising is one of the only sources of advertising that is growing*. Meaning that it is providing results for other businesses or they wouldn’t be using it. *Source
  • Leafleting. In order to drive brand recognition for a local business, leafleting is a good if untargeted method of advertising.

8. Is it providing results?

Any advertising campaign is measured by the results that it brings. After all it is no good spending money on advertising if you are getting no reward. Ask new clients to your business how they find out about you, use specific tracking codes so you know where and how people on the internet have reached your site. If doing a leaflet drop or radio campaign think about setting up a specific web page solely for that purpose or use an individual telephone number to track the results. Once you have the results you can analyse them and re-invest in what is working and change or shut down advertising methods that are not.

9. Tomorrow is a new day

Be sure to constantly review your advertising plan and don’t be afraid to rethink your strategy if it isn’t working throwing good money after bad will get you nowhere fast. Also, as your business grows, you may find you have more budget for advertising and want to try new channels to reach out to a whole new audience. Your advertising plan should evolve along with your growing business.

There is no defacto, all encompassing, fail safe method for knowing how to advertise your business. The simple fact is that you continuously need to get your name and business out in front of the right person at the right time. Advertising is a fundamental part of your business growth strategy.