How do we get people to know about our business? It’s just about the most fundamental question that any start up can ask. I want people to know about my business so that they will buy. I need that knowledge of what I can do to be out there in the community. Any method that increases my brand recognition is valuable. Of course I’m talking about the need to advertise. I’m not dogmatic about using social media and ignoring those old school methods, and neither should you be. So let’s start by going old school and look at traditional small business advertising.
What’s The Traditional Way To Advertise?
Let’s look at five traditional methods and the pros and cons associated with each.
Local newspapers can offer a wide variety of options when it comes to advertising. You can choose the ad size and the amount of colour used in order to manage your budget. They also give you a very definite local area that can be targeted. However, newspaper readership is in longterm decline and you have to make an impact with a single block of image and text. This means the cost per lead generated can be quite expensive. BUT if you are targeting an older audience they are disproportionately likely to still read a local paper and so this may be just the kind of tool you need.
Like a newspaper advert you have just a single block to work with but unlike papers they are visible to whomever walks or drives past. A local business can make a big splash in an area with just the right billboard, but that means having it carefully designed. You also have to consider the printing costs and cost of the board location itself. It can be a very effective way to advertise but requires thought and investment.
Every town has its local radio station. Some have several. The growth in digital radio stations (both on and off-line) means there is a huge variety of stations to choose from. Production is often very cost effective and many stations run packages that allow you to have tight control over cost of airtime. You may also be able to target specific listener groups by using timed broadcasts on specific stations. Radio may be old school but it can be targeted and cost effective. What more can you ask from an advertising medium?
When was the last time you read a leaflet that came through your door? Have you ever? Did they go straight into the recycling or did you enjoy the sound of putting them through the shredder first? I’m being facetious. Targeted and personalised mail can be effective but the systems to create personalised mail shots to a large number of people are expensive. Sainsbury’s send a personal letter to hundreds of thousands of customers every quarter but they have access to data on everything you bought form them in the last three months. No wonder we get letters that tell us just exactly what we were wanting to hear. For us mere mortals Mail shots can be an expensive way to build awareness.
Most small businesses never consider television advertising. Often they fear it is far too expensive. They may also believe that it is only for a national audience. When we think of TV adverts we think of the huge national campaigns. The rise of local television stations is changing that. We can now afford to reach our local areas through their televisions. The question we need to ask is how many of our potential customers are watching? Fortunately many local station managers and owners know we are cautious. That means that advertising prices are low. They can be lower than your local radio station. We also get the added benefit of reaching our audience with a truly visual message.
The overall objective of advertising is that you reach a relevant potential customer base. It doesn’t matter how you persuade them to buy your products or use your services, it only matters that it is cost effective. Soon I’ll be writing about digital advertising methods, however next I will be writing about something even more fundamental. Now we know some ways of getting our business known we have to ask what we want our business known for? So my next article will take a look at how you can build a good reputation for your business.