Finding the Most Useful Form of Advertising
There’s no shortage of media for micro-businesses to choose from when considering where and how to advertise. The difficulty is usually in deciding which is most appropriate, but this article should help you work it out.
First of all, you need to identify what you are trying to achieve from it. There can be a number of reasons, some of which are outlined in Types of Advertising and you should also base it around the customer’s requirements, as explained in Customer Purchasing Processes. This will help you narrow the initial choice down and also start to formulate some ideas on what the advertising might look like.
Next, set a budget. A few hundred pounds obviously limits the choice as television or large-scale press advertising is clearly not possible. However, it’s very easy to waste a lot of money by spending on inappropriate media.
Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve from the advertising for your micro-business and a broad indication of budget, you can start to make some decisions. You could use the following list as a starting point to help you work out the options.
- Local newspaper advertising
- Local magazine advertising
- Business magazines
- Public Relations (PR)
- Direct mail
- Personal Selling
- Outbound calling
- Leaflet drops
- Search engine optimisation
- Social media
- Directories – both online and offline
- Networking Meetings
- Existing customer communications
- Product Packaging
If a micro-business did not feel that brand building were important, for example, it might focus more on direct marketing and search engine optimisation rather than local newspaper advertising or sponsorship. On the other hand, a business built on personal relationships would want to attend exhibitions and networking meetings as well as focusing on personal selling.
Encouraging the Sale
Some of these tools are more beneficial than others in generating immediate sales. Sales promotions such as ‘this month only – 25% off’, or ‘buy one, get one free’ are great for encouraging prospective purchasers to buy now rather than later so local newspaper advertising could be used to promote it, as could sending out a direct mailing.
Evaluating the Choice
Time will obviously need to be spent considering the options before deciding which is the most appropriate. However, there is no substitute for actually trying it and seeing which works most effectively. This means that a small business shouldn’t put all its marketing budget into just one media. Try small scale activities first to see which work most effectively. The most successful can then be expanded and used more often. This approach is known as testing and is explored further in Testing.
Measuring the Results
The final stage in the process is to measure the results of the activities. In order to do this effectively, you need to have established the purpose of the advertising. If it’s to generate immediate sales then the task is relatively easy.
However, that’s not all you’ll need to measure. There might be lots of enquiries which don’t convert to sales, for example, but is that the fault of the advertising? The advert might be doing a superb job of getting people to your store or website but something else stops them making the purchase. So make sure you are measuring the right thing.
This also highlights the importance of making sure you identify the real purpose of the advertising. Is it to generate sales, or is it actually enquiries?
For more on the subject of measurement, read Measuring Marketing.