Small businesses have many advertising opportunities to promote their products and services. It can be difficult to know where to advertise and what to say. Here are 3 common small business advertising mistakes – and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1 – Trying to Sell Your Services From Your Ad
Too often, small businesses try to sell their services from small ads. You will often see ads that describe a laundry list of services and the opportunity to “call now for your free consultation.”
With small business advertising, you only have limited space and can’t make a complete case for why prospects should hire you to solve their problems. Rather than offering a free consultation – which prospects view as “sales pitch” and avoid – offer free information like reports, white papers, or audio/video content that prospects can download via your website in exchange for their contact information. Sell the information in your ad and sell your services in the follow up.
Mistake #2 – Not Writing for Your Target Market
What problems, concerns or frustrations do your prospects have that would compel them to seek out your solutions? Too often, small businesses focus on themselves and the services they provide rather than what prospects are looking for.
- Focus on benefits – What is the key benefit prospects will receive when they respond to your ad?
- Create a compelling headline – Your headline is an ad for your ad, so it must grab prospect’s interest and make them want to keep reading.
- Use the principles of AIDA – Your advertising copy should follow the principles of AIDA: attract attention, generate interest, spark desire, and offer a call to action. People take action because of two things: the desire to gain and the desire to avoid loss. The latter is usually more effective at getting people to take action.
- Use offers and calls to action – Why should people respond to your ad now and how can they take advantage of your offer?
Mistake #3 – Advertising in the Wrong Place
Take some time to research publications. Even if you have the most compelling ad, if the right people won’t see it, you are wasting marketing dollars. Knowing where and when to place your ads is just as important as what you say. To generate more responses:
- Research your target market – what print publications, websites, and newsletters do they read?
- Consider bigger ads – Larger ads work better than smaller ads because they give you more space to make the best case possible for your products and services.
- Consider ad placement – Where within the publication will your ad run? Will it be near the front or back? Right or left side? Top or bottom of the page? Beside relevant content? The best ads run at the top of the page near relevant editorial content.
By avoiding these 3 small business advertising mistakes, you can create more effective and more profitable advertising campaigns. Advertising doesn’t have to be a cost for your small business. With the right advertising strategy, you can know that for every dollar you spend, you make more in return.