Advertising Strategies for Small Businesses

by Emily Retherford

2 min read

Developing a smart small business advertising strategy is vital to growing your company. Because most small businesses lack the seemingly unlimited resources enjoyed by large corporations, they must be strategic in spending their advertising dollars. Pouring too much money into a campaign can cause cash flow issues, while spending too little may result in an ineffectual campaign.

As a small business owner, you have to budget for advertising and make every dollar count. The most effective advertising campaigns identify their target market, concentrate on unique branding, and market their products and services at the right times.

Target Your Audience

Even the most clever advertising campaign is a waste if it doesn’t reach the right audience. For example, you’ve seen the endless TV commercials about saving money on car insurance. Done right, such advertisements can entice people to switch, but not if they only reach people who don’t drive and thus have no need for insurance.

Determine the customer profile that you’re after, and then seek advertising mediums that cater to your target market. Social media platforms make it easy to target a tight demographic; you can filter who sees your advertisements by age, gender, geographic location, and even hobbies and interests.

Build a Brand Identity

Ever heard one of those hokey personal injury law firm commercials on the radio? They start by asking if you’ve been injured in a car accident or on the job, and they always end with a repetitive jingle featuring the phone number. They’re boundlessly annoying, but they nevertheless get stuck in your head.

While you might think these commercials do nothing but irritate listeners, they’re actually accomplishing something important: building a brand identity. When someone gets rear-ended on the highway, the hokey jingle they heard a few minutes earlier pops into their head.

This is not to say that you should aim to be a pest with your marketing. Create a consistent message that stands out and makes customers associate your brand with your products and services. You want them to identify your company immediately when they look at your print ads, hear your radio spots, or even see the colours used on your logo.

Consider Your Timing

Ever notice how companies ramp up their marketing during certain times of the year? For example, August brings an influx of school supply marketing, while grocery stores advertise Thanksgiving specials in October.

Maybe your company’s products and services aren’t as seasonal as, say, flowers in February. By tracking sales data, however, you might be surprised at the peaks and valleys you discover.

Study this information carefully, and maximize your marketing during the times customers are most likely on the hunt for what you’re selling. Don’t neglect the slow times – for example, plenty of savvy shoppers look for snowboards and ski boots in July, knowing they can get a better price during the summer when demand is lower. A targeted marketing push could bring these customers your way.

References & Resources

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