Running a small business can be difficult; one of the main things that businesses tend to struggle with is advertising and marketing locally. This is because of issues like funding, time, and general lack of knowledge about promoting, where to promote and how to do it. Let’s look at some solutions that may help.
The first thing we must remember about advertising is that it is indeed the most important way to draw customers’ in. An advertising strategy or marketing plan needs to be effective so that the very best comes of it. Things that need to be considered when drafting up a marketing strategy are: knowing the target customers/audience, having a set budget, what advertising would be best to use, and who the work will be allocated to. Below we will look into these points a bit more.
Knowing the target market/customers
This point is probably one of the most important. If you know who your target audience is and who you are selling your products/services to, you have done half the job already. An example of this could be running a pet grooming business. You will be aiming at local individuals who own pets; and they can be of all ages. The best thing to do would be to do some market research too, so you can find out who would like your pet grooming services and what kind of services they would like. You could do this by handing a survey out to your friends/family and placing them in other vet and stores.
Setting a budget and making use of low cost/free advertising strategies
Having a set budget put towards your marketing and promotion is a practical way of making sure you never spend too much on promoting, but you have allocated a special amount that you will use for advertising each month/week (use whatever time scale is best for you and your business). You can do this by looking into your business outgoing and incoming finances. Remember, you don’t have to out a great deal of money into advertising as there are many free and low cost ways you can promote, such as printing plain but effective leaflets, putting up posters, advertising on free classified websites, directories and making use of social media; get a Facebook page, a Twitter account and promote your news, pictures, and promotions on there. You can also write articles and blogs for free. Another obvious free way of advertising is of course word of mouth.
Finding the best type of advertising for your business
There are lots of ways to promote your business, online and offline, but all of them may not be right for you. If you have a local business or service, a great way to advertise would be to use a local classified site and post your ads
to your local community. Promoting on the television would not be a cost effective and would be advertising to a whole region rather than just your town/city. Also, using local yellow pages and telephone books are great, however most people are turning to online to find the products, business or service they require. It is important to note and do some research into search engine optimisation (SEO).
Who can do the advertising?
If you have a small team and have limited funds or cannot hire a professional to carry out your marketing needs, then do not worry. Even if you have a small team, or a little budget, you can use freelancing websites that will carry out advertising jobs for a small cost. You can also do the majority of advertising yourself, with a little patience and research.
This article has highlighted a few challenges that you may come across as far as advertising and marketing is concerned. It has briefly discussed things that need to be considered when coming up with a marketing plan that will really work for your business. To summarise, as long as you have done enough research, used these points given in this article and others you may find, marketing does not have to be difficult for a small business.