Related: The 4 Digital Advertising Trends That Are Reshaping Advertising
That’s why you absolutely must budget for advertising, not just play with the money you have left over. By assigning the right amount of money to the right channels, you can get the results you want, or at the least, improve the results you have, based on the data you gather along the way. Since your monthly spend will be consistent, you’ll be better able to measure overall efficacy, too.
Given your need to optimize your advertising efforts, then, here are the best advertising strategies for small businesses.
Sorry, but that particular product or service you’re touting does not match the needs of anyone who currently walks the Earth. Many small businesses don’t run adequately targeted campaigns, despite the fact that targeting is one of online advertising’s primary advantages.
Indeed, you should be able to create an accurate target customer profile based on the data you’ve collected. With this information in hand, and what you know about your current clientele, you can begin to target similar demographics and psychographics with your campaigns to attract more customers.
Whether you’re advertising online or off, make sure your copy and imagery reflects the kind of customers you want to work with. This is key to targeting well.
Many small businesses simply have no idea whether their advertising is actually working. This simply won’t do.
Online advertising platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook provide you with extensive stats related to your ads, and will help you determine what is working and what isn’t. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to test and experiment, as it can take time for you to create an ad that resonates with your target customers, but it does mean that you can make faster decisions about what to try next.
If you’re advertising offline, and you have to set up a specific email address or phone number to gain a clearer understanding of how your leads are finding you and what’s working, then that effort is worth the hassle. Stop making guesses.
Related: 5 Digital-Marketing Tactics to Ditch in 2016
At first glance, advertising year-round and spreading out your budget equally month-to-month may appear to be a wise and commonsense approach.
But if you think back to your business launch, odds are you did a lot of things that can’t be scaled. There’s no way for you to sustain a similar marketing and advertising initiative throughout the entire year.
If you sell seasonal products, you should be advertising in your highest-performing seasons. You may even want to start a little bit early and hold some of your advertising until a little after.
Black Friday and Christmas tend to be high-performing seasons, depending on the type of business you’re running. It may be advantageous to set aside some extra ad money for these days and/or other holidays.
Finally, it can also be worthwhile to keep an eye on when your competitors launch their own big promotions. If you have an advertising budget set aside, you may be able to keep pace or even outmaneuver them.
Can your customers immediately identify your ads based on your copy, color choice, imagery, logo or typeface? If that question seems absurd, just look at what the major brands and companies are doing. Oftentimes, you can recognize their ads just from the colors they’re using.
Over time, your customers will come to identify with and respond to your ad layouts. The temptation may be to change your branding every time you create a new ad, but that could be confusing and ineffective over the long haul. Your goal should be to show up in expected places, with familiar-looking ads that consistently resonate with your target customers.
Bottom line: Brand well, and stick to your image. Build loyalty through resonance.
You know the importance of ranking well in search, but you may simply not have the resources and time to consistently create new, informative content for your website.
In an instance like that, your best bet is to take advantage of services like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, so you appear higher in SERP results without having to optimize posts for your chosen keywords. If you have the budget to advertise, but not the time to create content, this is a good use of resources.
If you only have a small budget to allocate to advertising, it may not make sense to take out an expensive magazine ad. A Facebook ad campaign would be much more practical, since you can control your daily spend.
Make an honest assessment of the resources available to you, and leverage them in a way that helps you grow your business.
It’s dangerous to make too many assumptions about your target customer. For example, if there’s a certain radio show that you like, and you assume that your customers like it too, you may be misinformed about the wisdom of spending money on a radio ad there that could prove expensive and ineffective.
If your advertising dollars are going to the wrong place, you’re wasting your money. Instead, you need to get to know your customers. So, survey them. Get a sense of where they like to hang out online, what books and magazines they read, what podcast and radio shows they listen to and so on.
When your advertising is matched with the right understanding of your customers, you’ll begin to attract more worthwhile leads to your business.
There are plenty of opportunities to monetize through advertising. The key is in knowing who your target customers are, where they like to hang out — and thus where to find more people like them — and allocating your resources to those specific channels.]]>
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Though it is more credible than an advertisement or a brochure, getting your message across through the media is much more challenging. How does it work? Here are a few examples of different media relations goals attained for Acme Communications, Inc.
Public relations, better known as PR, is the art and science of making people, governments and organizations look good. PR professionals work behind the scenes — sending press releases, courting journalists, researching public opinion — to position their clients as positive role models, ethical businessmen, concerned public officials, or at the very least, not criminals.]]>
Yet for many B2B marketers, the pricing strategy in their marketing planis challenging to write; many aren’t even involved in creating their pricing strategy.
There are many factors to consider when developing your pricing strategy, both short- and long-term. For example, your pricing needs to:
When you offer a truly unique product or service with little direct competition, it can be challenging to establish your price. Define a strong strategy and competitive analysis so you can view:
When your price, value proposition and positioning are aligned, you’re in the best situation to maximize revenue and profits.
Many small businesses shy away from promotions thinking they can’t compete with the advertising, public relations and promotions budgets of their large competitors. But good promotions do not have to be expensive. And if you stay focused and create a clear plan, they don’t have to be time-consuming either.
First develop a plan. This should be included in your business plan. Here are the steps to developing a strong promotional plan:
Consider what kind of customer you want to do business with and to whom your product or service is most likely to appeal. Take into account demographic (i.e. age, gender, location, marital status), lifestyle (i.e. athletes, club goers, outdoor enthusiasts) and psychographics (i.e. personality traits and emotions that affect buying decisions) information.
Distinguish your product or service from all the rest. This has to be meaningful and accurate, otherwise you will lose credibility with your consumers. First you will need to know what features, benefits and brand attributes your target buyers consider when making a purchase. For example, if you are a local nursery, your target buyers might take into account return policies on plants that don’t survive, quality of plants in store and availability of informed people who can assist them with plant choices and directions for caring for the plants.
Write down who your target buyers are, what your competitive environment is and what your meaningful differences are. This is called your positioning strategy statement. You must develop a consistent message and look and feel in all of your promotional campaigns.
Think about the personality of your business in relationship to your target buyers. Is it a young, hip, friendly, casual environment? Or is it a more reserved, traditional and slightly more conservative environment? These characteristics will inform the look, feel and tone of your business, as well as promotions.
This can be a challenge but doesn’t have to be. Think about your business value proposition (BVP). If you have clearly identified the unique features and benefits of your product/service that truly matter to your target buyers, you will be well on your way. Take this information and brainstorm potential slogans, keywords in all marketing messages and visual images that correspond to your BVP.
When promoting your products, services and business there may never seem to be enough money. However, not all promotion costs money. Creating a mix between word-of-mouth, customer referral programs, public relations and advertising will save you a lot of money. Imagination and relationship building are the keys.]]>