With the influx of businesses competing in the same market and large companies broadcasting inspiring and memorable advertisements every other week, creating a marketing strategy that allows your business to stand out can be difficult. Whether you have a new business and are looking to create your marketing strategy for the first time or you have an existing business and you want to try a new strategy to increase profits, it’s worthwhile to explore the best ways to get noticed by your target market.
In this post, we lay out some of the ways businesses can market their products or services to customers and cover a few important factors you should consider when choosing how to advertise a business.
Preparing to Advertise Your Business
From the expert accountant who relies solely on word-of-mouth to the e-commerce company that uses a wide range of digital marketing tactics to reach its customers, nearly all businesses use some form of advertising and promotion to attract new customers and earn a profit.
Choosing the proper advertising method for your business can come down to a number of factors, including:
- Your business needs. Determining what your business needs are will help you choose the right advertising strategy. For instance, an experienced attorney with a long list of potential clients to call back may not need a detailed marketing strategy, but a new startup likely will.
- Your budget. You may be interested in setting up several methods for promoting your business, but if you don’t have the budget to afford them, you may be out of luck. From radio ads and TV commercials to paid Google ads or billboards, it typically costs money to promote your business, which is why it’s important to review your advertising budget and consider it when forming your marketing strategy.
- Your target market. This could also be described as your target audience, and it includes knowing details about your customers, such as their age, level of education, relationship status, and more, and how these details impact their shopping practices. It can also include the methods your target audience uses to find information (such as online, by newspaper, word-of-mouth, etc.) or how your product or service may be perceived by your potential customers (like whether it would be considered a necessity or novelty, expensive or cheap, and more). Building your advertising strategy (as well as your branding strategy) around a specific target audience is a common and useful marketing strategy.
For many, it may be ideal to evaluate your marketing strategy by starting with a Business Plan. A Business Plan is a planning document that new or established business owners use to outline their company goals, objectives, internal structure, marketing plan, and more. It helps owners map out their business’ needs and profit strategy in a clear, easy-to-read format, so they can make changes or decisions, secure investor funding, or create a well-rounded marketing strategy.
How Do I Advertise My Business?
There are several methods a business can use to advertise, for example:
- Word-of-mouth. When someone tells their mom to try a new detergent or their friend to buy a certain facial moisturizer, this is word-of-mouth marketing (sometimes called WOMM). WOMM is sometimes disregarded or forgotten because of how informal it can seem, but it is still an effective way of publicizing your products to potential consumers. In fact, studies show that nearly 85% of individuals trust recommendations for products from friends and, even more surprising, over 90% of individuals trust endorsements from strangers.
- Print ads. This can include ads found in a newspaper, brochures or handouts provided at an event, direct mail flyers, and more. The costs for these ads can vary depending on the type of ad you want (visual, text-based, or both) and how you plan on disseminating it to customers (in person, by mail, etc.).
- Outside ads. This includes billboards, bus shelters, and other advertisements found offline and out in the real world. Although consumers aren’t viewing billboards and bus ads the same as they did before the internet, there are ways (such as using short, impactful phrases and evocative, unobtrusive imagery) to have your outdoor advertisement stand out and be successful.
- Radio and television commercials. Radio and television advertisements are an effective way of communicating to potential customers at certain times of the day, like on their ride to or from work or while potential consumers are watching an evening news program. However, online (and sometimes ad-free) digital music services and TV and movie streaming sites may mean this form of advertising doesn’t have the reach it once did, and it may be best if business owners supplement radio and television ads with other marketing methods.
- Social media marketing. Social media marketing involves advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. It can take the shape of a general post or tweet about a product, an overview of your company, or a specific promotion, like a contest, free giveaway, or an event. Keep in mind, engagement on social media posts has dropped over recent years, so using social media marketing as the sole way to promote your business is not recommended.
- Paid ads on a search engine platform. CPC (sometimes called PPC) stands for cost-per-click and this refers to a type of advertising provided by search engines like Google and Bing. It involves websites paying for keywords so that their ads will show to users when they search for those words in a search engine. Although CPC is good method for finding new leads, businesses using CPC can end up paying hefty amounts to secure quality, related keywords for their advertisements, and it may not be a good method for those with a smaller budget.
- Search engine optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) is similar to CPC in that it uses keywords to appear on search engines like Google and Bing and to attract customers. The difference is that SEO is free to those who take the time to learn how to do it. This is a great strategy for many businesses who need to advertise at a lower cost. However, it can be challenging to implement without some understanding of digital marketing best practices.
Choosing a Marketing Strategy for Your Business
Depending on the type of business you own, current market trends, your target audience, and more, some advertising methods may be more suitable at promoting your business than others. Choosing the right marketing and advertising strategy for your business is a delicate balance between considering your business’ needs, goals, target market, and budget to find the best combination of methods that work for your business.