How and Where Should You Spend Your Advertising Budget – In answering this question. Consider your ideal target market. You want to select the advertising media that will gain you the most exposure with potential customers. Contact the marketing departments for TV and radio stations, Internet companies, and other outlets, and ask for a media kit. This will allow you to compare the audience demographics and cost of each option. Consider creating a simple spreadsheet to keep track of the information from each company.
The major traditional media options are:
Television: TV can provide massive exposure, but it can be very expensive and may be less effective in targeting a specific customer niche. Consider the
audience you will reach, and the geographic area the channel covers. If you have a substantial advertising budget and a product with mass-market appeal, TV advertising might be worth considering. For most small businesses, however, the cost is prohibitive.
Radio: While radio advertising can be relatively costly, it is much more affordable than television. It also provides wide audience exposure. One of the benefits of radio is that you can target specific niche markets by format. For example, if you want to reach men between the ages of 25 and 40, you may choose a sports station in your target geographic region.
Newspapers: The effectiveness of newspaper advertising depends upon the publication and the marketplace. It’s very easy for an ad to get lost in a large local paper. Consider what you look at when you read the Sunday paper. How many advertisements actually catch your eye? One of the major drawbacks of
newspaper ads is their brief lifespan. The paper is typically thrown in the recycling bin as soon as it has been read.
Magazines: A weekly or monthly magazine has a longer shelf life than a newspaper, and advertising rates are correspondingly higher. One of the major benefits of advertising in magazines is that it allows you to target a specific market based on content.
The Internet: Many customers expect any company worth its salt to have a Web site — and may discount a company without one. Your Web site can inform potential customers about your products and services, give information about your prices, and instill confidence in your customer that you are an established vendor.
Using Public Relations
You can successfully incorporate public relations techniques into building a strong, profitable customer base. These techniques will take some time to develop, but they have tremendous payback potential.
Here are some free or inexpensive ways to draw attention to your business:
*Become an expert in your field. Learn all you can about issues related to your industry. Call local radio stations and offer your time as an expert. Talk shows are always looking for topics to fill airtime, and they can give you valuable radio exposure without the cost of advertising time. Remember, you will not be selling your services directly, just providing useful information. Of course, your business will be mentioned in your introduction, which will help to raise your public profile and build credibility.
*Hire a public relations expert to prepare a press release and submit it to the appropriate media. Although you can write a press release yourself, many media outlets have stringent style requirements that make it a very time-consuming task. Not only do public relations agents specialize in the writing and distribution of press releases, they often have pre-existing media contacts, which can increase the likelihood of your press release gaining notice.
*Network in your community. Join the Chamber of Commerce, a local Rotary group, or business organizations. Sponsor a sports team, school activity, or
community event. Donate your product or service to a charity event or fundraising raffle. Getting involved in your community will increase your referral base and help establish your company locally.
*Participate in formal networking groups (often known as “leads groups”). These are organizations specifically designed to exchange information on perspective clients. Most leads groups will invite one member from any given profession to join.
These suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg, of course. Get creative and brainstorm about ways you can expose your business to your potential audience. Make this a fun, ongoing project and your business will profit every step of the way.