When it comes to the best advertising for small businesses, you might not know where to start — especially with the abundance of affordable mediums you can now choose from. Whether it’s been awhile or you’re ready for something new, there are certain mediums that work more effectively for small businesses that might not have the big budgets as larger businesses and corporations. In this article, we’re going to break down some of the best advertising for small businesses strategies that take budget, effectiveness and reach into consideration.
Social Media Marketing for Small Business — Organic
As of 2018, there are more than three billion people in the world on social media. If your company doesn’t currently have a presence on some of the larger networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, it’s time to create some profiles. From Gen Z and millennials to baby boomers, all generations are increasingly using social media to keep in touch with friends, get news and zone into interesting articles, pictures and videos. Setting up business profiles on the major social networks is free and taking some time to build your company’s presence on the social platforms is priceless if it means having a greater online reach. Small business advertisers know that this advertising platform maximizes brand recognition while spending little of your marketing dollars. Not sure which platforms are right for your small business? An experienced digital or social marketing agency can help you find the perfect fits.
When it comes to posting content on these platforms, putting in more effort reaps a greater reward, but our social media experts recommend posting weekly at a minimum. Having a strategic content and social marketing strategy can help you plan out what, when and how to post on a regular basis. This strategy can include content calendars, which content specialists can create ahead of time so you have an outline of the content you’ll be posting for the month. Additionally, scheduling software, such as Hootsuite or Buffer, allow you to stay ahead of the curve and plan out your posts beforehand so you don’t have to manually post. It’s also important to analyze the performance of your posts to determine what types of content are getting engagement with your followers, and also analyze how many more followers you get each week to find out what’s attracting people.
Social Media Advertising for Small Business — Paid
Wondering how to advertise a small business on social media? Once you have an established presence on a platform, you may want to start thinking about doing paid advertising on social. One of the many reasons social ads are so effective is because you have the ability to set a specified budget that works for you. If you want to spend $10 a day, the platform will only run until you’ve hit the $10 limit (which is based on the number of clicks you receive). For the most part, the more money you put behind the ad, the greater the reach and chances of conversion. You can always set up an ad and do a trial run to see how it works for your business. Some of the best types of content for paid ads on social media are highly visual graphics, compelling content, videos or an offer (such as a sale or discount).
Email Marketing for Small Business
When it comes to cost-effectiveness, email marketing is one of the best ways to advertise a small business because it’s a great way to reach the masses for a small spend. This form of digital marketing is easily trackable, so you can see if people are receiving and opening your email, and clicking to your website. You can start with an e-newsletter that compiles offers, company occurrences, highlights and news. E-newsletters are one touchpoint for you to stay top of mind and in your users’ inboxes, and you can easily see the content users are interested in when it comes to your company.
You can also try a drip campaign, which is when you nurture your leads through a series of emails sent over a period of time. For example, let’s say someone fills out a form on your website, and you put their email address in to receive your drip campaign. You can send them one email right away with an offer like an ebook or something that entices them to make a purchase or sale. If they take no actions, you can send another email three days letter with another offer, such as a 15 percent off coupon or a free consultation. If they still take no actions, you can send another email five days after them with an even more intriguing offer. This form of marketing is meant to acquire customers through lead nurturing, and is a great way to have auto-generated follow-ups that you don’t have to manually send out every time. In addition, this type of campaign is a great way to solve the issue of abandoned shopping carts. You can also auto-personalize each email in the drip campaign with the users’ name or purchase history, which makes it individualized to them, a proven tactic in marketing.
Remember — users are inundated with hundreds of emails every day, so the key to email marketing is to stand out and be unique in your subject line and content.
Direct Mail Marketing for Small Business
For companies with defined and specific target audiences, direct mail (when done the right way) is the perfect medium for reaching your audience effectively. If your target audience is married women over 35 years old with children, you can purchase a mailing list that will effectively reach this smaller market segment (in addition to others you may want to target). By including a special offer (with a unique code) in your direct mail piece, you can track who received and took action from your efforts and who didn’t. Again, the key here is being unique and interesting in your message, format and design. People get junk mail all the time, and you want to create a piece that is so intriguing, people won’t want to throw it away.
Think you might want to try direct mail advertising? To test it out, we recommend targeting part of your audience segment with a small number of direct mail ads to get a gauge on the response rate you receive. If it works, you can increase as you go.
Google Ads for Small Business
Google Ads is a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website because again, you can set your own budget. You only pay when your ad is clicked, therefore, you only pay when people are interested in finding out more about the ad they saw. This medium has great targeting options; you can target your audience based on their demographics, location or words that they’re searching into search engines, known as keywords. For a small business, you might want to try targeting local customers in search of your product or service.
There are two main types of Google Ads — search ads and display ads. Search ads are simply text-based ads that show up in search results when people type in a specific keyword. More visually, display ads are graphic and visual ads that people see on websites related to your product or service. Both ads can utilize retargeting, which involves showing ads to people who have already visited your website or app. Retargeting follows them around the internet, keeping your brand top of mind until they become interested enough to click the ad and visit your website again.
With benefits to each type of Google Ads format, this medium, in general, provides instant visibility and brand awareness while users are interested in your product or service. They have actively taken measures and interest in something related to your company, and it’s best to meet them while they’re actively in this “searching” stage. Since you’re able to effectively connect with your target audience while they’re interested and be in complete control of your ad spend, these benefits make this medium one of the best for a small business.
TV Commercials for Small Business
As one of the most trusted advertising mediums among consumers, TV commercials give you the opportunity to tell a story about your company or product visually. Many small businesses might be wary of a medium as expansive as TV advertising, but the benefit for small businesses is that they can target locally through this medium to reach an audience within a certain geographical area. You can also choose the television channels you believe your audience is tuning into. You may reach a more broad audience, but sometimes this is the goal for small businesses that are selling products or services to multiple audience segments. You may also want to run a TV commercial during seasonal peaks, such as the holidays. For instance, if you’re a chocolate store or flower shop, you can run TV ads a month ahead of Valentine’s Day. In addition, creative TV commercials are memorable to consumers, more memorable than print and digital ads. People are still talking about Jake from StateFarm and the camel who loves hump day. But keep in mind, television advertising is more expensive than other mediums due to its popularity among consumers watching it and advertisers placing ads.
A type of TV/streaming ad, over-the-top (OTT) ads are movies and TV content delivered online through apps and services that don’t require traditional cable or paid TV service. Instead, viewers access the content through the internet, whether through computers or gaming consoles. This option is great for those who don’t have the spend to run TV commercials, but still want to be seen on certain networks.
TV commercials require full video production capabilities. To do it right, an experienced video production company can help make a story come to life in a commercial.
Radio Advertising for Small Business
Radio has much of the same benefits as TV commercials, such as targeting locally and broadly, in addition to placing ads seasonally. However, radio advertising allows you to be a bit more selective because you can schedule your spot to run during different programs or talk shows to target specific groups interested in their content. In addition, it’s a more cost-effective production process compared to TV commercials.
For radio advertising, it’s important to hire a skilled professional to write the script because it takes experience and expertise to tell a story through just words without visuals. Creating a compelling script and idea that stands out from other radio commercials is no easy feat. In addition, you should have a professional advertising agency manage the production to ensure you have the best quality voice over talent, music and special sound effects.
Print Advertising for Small Business
Print ads (such as newspapers and magazines) are great for longer-term ads because this medium has a longer shelf-life than most. More trusted than online ads, print ads showcase real products and companies without the suspicion that one might be clicking spam or an ad that may give them a virus. While it’s more expensive than other mediums, it’s highly targeted in terms of placing ads in magazines and newspapers your audience is buying and reading. For instance, if you want to target local business CEOs and executives, there may be a couple of great magazine options (such as The Business Journals) in your area for this audience. In addition, print ads allow the reader to have the piece tangibly, where they can refer back to it if they need to, rather than seeing or hearing a fleeting advertising on the TV or radio.
Out-of-Home (OOH) Mediums for Small Business
OOH mediums include billboards, bus wraps, airport and mall signage and pretty much anything else you might see out of your home. If you just opened a shop or are looking to increase brand awareness, it may be worth placing a couple of billboards locally around the area of your store and/or in major transit spots.
Out-of-home is becoming increasingly more digital. For billboards, you can buy traditional or digital boards, and each has its own benefits. If you’re looking to place a long-term billboard, traditional is great because they’re typically left up for long periods of time. If you’re just testing it out or promoting something for a limited time, digital would be your best bet because these are easily changed out.
Where to Start
This was a lot of information, and you may be a little lost on where to start. What is the best way to advertise a small business? When clients come to us with this exact question, there’s a lot of research and fact-finding we do to determine the best answer. From outlining your business goals to analyzing your target audience and what mediums they’re on most, an experienced advertising agency can do a lot of this legwork in determining the best advertising for your small business. We have the resources, information and production capabilities needed to recommend, develop, conceptualize, create and implement advertising campaign strategies across multiple mediums. Starting with an advertising agency will put you on the right track to advertising effectively for your small business.
To find the right advertising mediums, start with the right advertising agency. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service Orlando marketing agency that works with local, national and international clients to deliver impressive ad campaigns, branding, print, web, public relations, social media and video services — all in-house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your advertising goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.