Making your advertising dollar go further
I enjoy reading local papers, how our small rural community is getting ahead, what people have been up to. I also like looking at the advertising. What are other businesses doing, how they are marketing their business. In a lot of cases if they include a url I will have a look at their website. I am just curious about how that side of their business looks. Is their website up to date, does their advertising tie into the website.
For a lot of small businesses there is not a coherent marketing strategy. They have someone at the local paper that looks after their ads for them. The paper's graphic designer sends out a proof for approval and then the business just runs with it. When they started the business they had a signwriter do a sign above the door, so that is used as a logo. At some stage they might have a website done, with the same branding. The website becomes a snapshot of the business at that time and because of time constraints or complexity is never updated.
In larger businesses each of these things would be managed by a marketing department and be part of a strategy. I run a small business myself and understand there are lots of things we "could" do if we had the time. What I am going to suggest will not take a lot of time or money.
More and more people are using the Internet to research products and services. Having a website built for your business can be a comparable expense to a couple of weeks in the local newspaper or a brochure run. Yet the website is online 24/7 representing your business. A decent web designer can make the website easy for you to update and keep current. Now I dont want to suggest abandoning traditional marketing and advertising. If you were to combine the benefits of the low cost, always accessible, website with traditional advertising you could reduce your advertising costs and make it more effective.
My simple marketing strategy suggestion for your business would be to have everything funnel to your website.
Make an informative website that represents your business well.
Have a simple call to action on the website, a phone number or a contact form.
Optimise the website for the search terms your clients and potential clients would be searching for.
If you have a print ad, refer to the website. Maybe even set up a special page to welcome people from this ad.
If you have a yellow pages ad, reduce the size of the ad and thus the exorbitant prices they charge. By having a simplier ad you can refer people to your website which has everything about you.
If you do a radio ad, make the single, memborable phrase that you have a website. People can then search for business name instead of having to remember a phone number.
Put your website url on your business vehicles.
Put your website on your letterheads, invoices, business cards, email signatures.
Once you have traditional media funneling to your website you might even consider social media, like Facebook, Twitter etc. These are free, effective ways to draw people to your business.
Make your website the centrepiece of your marketing strategy and reduce advertising costs while gaining more client loyalty as people opt in to your online message.