Before you run an small business advertising campaign, take some time to plan what your purpose is, who your target audience is, and what your advertising message should say. Advertising can be a very effective marketing strategy if you take a few minutes to plan. Here’s how to decide which small business advertising strategies to use.
What Is The Purpose of Your Advertising Campaign?
Why are you running an advertising campaign? What do you hope to achieve. Everyone expects advertising will help them attract new clients, but this goal is too vague to be meaningful. Consider setting SMART goals for your campaign. Some reasons why businesses run advertising include:
- To increase awareness – If the purpose of your advertising is branding, realize that branding takes time and repeat exposure.
- To generate leads or sales – An advertising campaign focused around generating leads or sales is much different than one focused around building awareness. For many small businesses on a limited budget, using direct response marketing is a quick way to generate leads.
- To develop client loyalty – Sometimes, the purpose of your advertising campaign is to get current and past clients to do more business with you. These types of campaigns target your current customer database.
It’s very difficult for one particular advertising campaign to achieve all of these goals. Prioritize which is most important to you.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Once you determine your small business advertising’s purpose, choose your target market. Advertising that tries to reach “everyone” usually speaks to no one. People are conditioned to filter out marketing messages that aren’t relevant to them, so be specific about who you are trying to reach. Picture your ideal client.
- What are their demographics? e.g. gender, age, income, job title, marital status
- What are their psychographics? How do they perceive your business? Your competitors? The products and services they currently use? What motivates or triggers them to buy? Is it seasonal? Is it because of a life event or major change?
- What is their key problem, frustration or concern that your product or service solves? Where is the pain in their life? People generally are resistant to change, so what is currently worrying or annoying them so much they will consider taking action to solve the problem?
- What do they want? What clients “want” and what they “need” may be two separate things. What benefits are they looking for? How will they decide on a solution?
Focus your advertising around what your prospects “want.” Ideally, what they want is a quick-fix solution to their problem that doesn’t require them to do much work or invest much time or money in solving the problem. That’s not always realistic or what they “need,” but if your advertising speaks to the heart of the problem, it will be much more effective than simply promoting your company, products or services.
What Is Your Marketing Message?
Your advertising message should be clear and follow the principles of AIDA: attract attention, hold interest, arouse desire, and motivate action. Effective advertising gives prospects a compelling reason why they should take action now rather than tomorrow or next week.
- What is your offer?
- How do they take advantage of it?
- What specific action steps must they take to receive it?
Where Should You Advertise?
The key to your small business advertising strategy is to put your message where prospects will see it.
- Where are they?
- What publications do they read?
- What websites and blogs do they visit regularly?
- What events do they attend?
Advertise where your target audience will have the highest likelihood of seeing or hearing it. There’s no single advertising medium that is “good” or “bad.” In fact, a good medium for one product or service may be a “bad” medium for another. It all depends on who you are targeting and what message you are using.
The general rule of thumb is to find mediums that fit your advertising goals, reach your target audience efficiently, and is within your advertising budget. (See: 7 Low Cost Local Small Business Advertising Methods.)