Ask the Experts
Operating Day to Day
Advertising and Promotion
With an estimated half million new businesses opening every month across the U.S., the competition to attract consumers is fierce. To avoid getting lost in the herd, you must come out of the gate running — establish your brand quickly and promote it like crazy.
As a brand-new business owner, I don’t have a lot of money to put toward advertising. My products appeal to a lot of different age groups and I don’t want to miss any potential buyers, but with limited funds, how do I reach them all?
Start with a logo
a name for your business, start thinking about a logo to represent it … and don’t be tempted to cut corners in the process. Your logo will appear on everything — business cards, letterhead, website, signage, boxes, bags, receipts, advertising — so make sure it’s clean and well-executed. This is one place where quality should be considered before cost.
Consider all media options, but settle on only a few
The promotional vehicles available for your business fall into two very large categories:
Traditional Media: Newspapers; magazines; TV; radio; direct mail (flyers and coupons); outdoor advertising (billboards and signage); specialty advertising (t-shirts, pens, mugs, etc.)
Digital Media: Company website; email marketing; social media; online review sites
Before signing on any dotted line, do this: Set a realistic budget for advertising, research your options, talk to other business owners and seek advice from consultants at your local Florida SBDC office.
In the end, you may have only enough resources for one promotional tool and, if so, make it your company website. A website serves as the face of your business; it’s the place customers will likely go first to learn about the products/services you offer. And unless you are highly computer savvy, hire a professional to create a site that is both computer and mobile friendly. It will be money well spent.
Make deliberate media choices
Generally speaking, it is never wise to put all of your promotional eggs in one basket. Use a combination of vehicles instead: a dedicated company website plus paid advertising in the local newspaper or on TV plus a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Just beware of spreading yourself too thin.
With regard to social media, limit the time you personally spend responding to comments and queries; designate a staff member to be your “social media specialist” instead. And when considering the purchase of ad space in traditional media, keep in mind that frequency and continuity are more important than the size/length of an ad or the amount you pay for it.