Advertising is a great way to get the word out about your business, drive traffic, and ultimately grow profits. Luckily, there are lots of ways to effectively advertise your business on a modest budget. With the rise of new advertising platforms and technologies, there are now many opportunities to reach a bigger audience that do not involve breaking the bank. If you’re willing to do a little legwork, you can save money and find the best way to advertise your company. In this series, we’ll discuss the top small business advertising trends to increase traffic and drive growth.
1. Take Advantage of Popular Websites
Powerful tools can work for you by linking your business to some of the most commonly used websites. These websites can lead more customers to you by providing great reviews, essential business information, and current promotions.
Google My Business allows you to post information about your business that can then be accessed by potential customers when they do a Google search. Your hours of operation, photos, promotions, and pricing information are just a few of the tidbits you should communicate. When a potential customer researches your business, you can be sure they have all of the information they need to visit or make a purchase.
Yellowpages.com and the Yellow Pages app are also great ways to tell your customers where you are and what you’re all about. The website allows you to customize your listing page, include reviews and directions, and even advertise your current promotions or sales on your area’s local page.
If you’ve been in business for a while, also take time to set up a business profile on Yelp, a very popular review site where your satisfied customers can do the advertising for you. To learn more about how Yelp can help your small business, check out our post, How to Maximize Yelp Reviews to Grow Your Small Business.
2. Advertise on Podcasts
According to Podcast Insights, 40% of Americans have listened to at least one podcast, and the trend seems to be getting more popular. Podcast ads are easy for you to create on your own, and podcast ad time is a very reasonable buy. With many different types of podcasts geared toward specific groups of listeners, you can likely find a popular podcast related to the types of products or services your company sells. You can sponsor that podcast and gain customers through a loyal listenership.
We’ve started to see some very successful ad campaigns from companies like Mail Chimp’s famous commercial on the Serial podcast. But you don’t have to be a big business to have advertising success on a podcast. In fact, small businesses have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the marketing value that Podcasts can offer. Hyper-targeted audiences and low ad costs make podcast advertising a tactic you should consider.
3. Promote Your Business on Your Website
Even if you don't sell products online, it’s important to have an online presence and website that is informative and up-to-date. According to Blue Corona’s small business survey, between 70% and 80% of potential customers will complete online research of a small business before visiting a location or making a purchase. Make sure you capture those customers by at least providing essential information such as products or services offered, location, contact information, and hours.
While it’s important to be online, it’s just as important to build a website that’s beneficial to your customers. Make sure your site leaves a positive impression of your brand. You want to make a lasting impression that encourages customers to choose your business.
4. Cross-Promote Your Business with Partners
Partnering with other businesses is a great way to reach new customers while cutting your advertising costs. While many larger businesses often cross-promote with business partners, small businesses can take advantage of this tactic as well. Combining your customer bases and advertising budgets with other businesses helps you save advertising money while increasing your exposure to customers.
5. Send your Customers an eNewsletter
Traditional email marketing is still a highly effective tool for reaching customers and ultimately growing your business. According to Econsultancy, compared to other types of marketing, email marketing has ranked highest in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). Nearly 78% of consumers rank email as their most preferred communication platform. Not only is the ROI high for email, but the initial investment remains low. Email remains a cost-effective way to reach a large audience and allows you to personalize your message to your customers.
Make sure to separate your direct marketing emails from those used for newsletters. A newsletter/email helps you keep in touch with your current customers and tap into a market of potential customers. It should not be used to send ads to your customers. Instead, use your newsletter to provide your customers with valuable information that makes you the company they remember when they're ready to buy.
6. Advertise on the Radio
Times have changed, and listeners are not as prevalent as they were 40 years ago, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore radio as a means of communication. There are still millions of public radio listeners. Radio advertising represents several advantages, including a low cost, a local customer base, and the ability to personalize your message. You can have the radio station create the ad for you or you can hire an agency to do it for you. Then again, there's always the option to do it yourself. If you have a family-owned business with a friendly feel, your own voice can be a great selling tool.
7. Send Your Customers Mail
Traditional mail also remains a great marketing tool for small businesses. Not only are people almost 4x more likely to open direct mail versus email, the direct mail response rate has actually increased since 2010 (DMA).This means that when done strategically, direct mail is a great way to increase revenue for your small business. Check out this useful guide to learn Direct Mail best practices for small businesses
As you can see, there are a variety of exciting and affordable ways that you can advertise your small business. Though many businesses choose to advertise in the same ways, there is no one‑size-fits-all approach. As with any business strategy, consider which advertising tactic makes the most sense for your business category and your target customer.