When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, it is easy to fall back on colloquial phrases as justification for not being willing to try different techniques or channels.
Probably for some more established businesses or business owners, phrases like “That’s the way we’ve always done it” or “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” are tossed about to keep from having to explore other marketing or advertising channels.
I grew up the son of a furniture and floor covering store manager in a time where there were three primary means of advertising in a small town. Our small town (less than 10,000) had two small newspapers and one AM radio station. So, we had print and radio advertising available. The third means was posters.
Big Posters. These had a simple message and filled most of the large plate-glass windows on the storefront. The messages were things like “Clearance Sale,” “Recliner Sale,” or “Mother’s Day Sale,” and were always in two to three-foot tall letters on white paper.
Colloquially speaking (and accurately so) “The times are a-changin’.” Actually, they changed a long time ago and I hope you changed with them, at least in terms of marketing and advertising by embracing opportunities other than the ways listed above. Radio, TV, and print advertising are all still good means of advertising.
However, they are not the only means.
The internet and social media have brought about a new channel of advertising that should not be overlooked. Having an online presence can be like having the airwave, print, and poster advertising all-in-one. Its value is so great that airwave and print media have embraced it as one of their products. When you purchase a TV or radio ad, you can also purchase a spot on their website.
When you buy a print ad, again, you can buy a spot on their website.
Social media has several ways to advertise and promote your business. Having your own website is another great way to promote your business.
There are a number of websites out there that can help you create a professional-looking website economically, or you can hire a professional website designer.
With so many choices, how do you decide which channel or combination of channels to use? The key to answering that question is identifying and understanding your target market. This will involve some market research. It has to go beyond the “well my friends and family listen to this radio station, or that TV station” or “at my house, we usually only read the paper”. You want to know what your client’s habits are.
When you truly understand your target market, your customers, then you can make the best use of your marketing and advertising dollars.
“Business Tips” was written by James Leavelle, Senior Certified Business Advisor of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the ASU · SBDC, contact him at James.Leavelle@angelo.edu.