A Road Map for Success
You think of your business as special, right? The numbers say it's not.
Make smart media choices.
Unless you have money to burn, you can’t possibly take advantage of all the advertising
options that are available today. So, select only those that will reach your target market in the most effective way, then narrow your choices by evaluating these options from your customer’s point of view rather than your own. You may not listen to talk radio or follow anyone on Facebook, but your target market might. So buy time and space accordingly — not because you like a particular medium, but because it puts your message where your customers are most likely to see or hear it.
• Newspapers Options include large and small circulation daily newspapers, weeklies and shoppers; select only those that will best reach your target market.
• Magazines More targeted than newspapers in subject matter and audience, but also more costly. Study circulation numbers and reader demographics to ensure that any choices you make will reach your target market.
• Television Provides the opportunity to promote products/services both visually and audibly, but cost-per-thousand-potential-customers-reached can be steep.
• Radio Less expensive than TV, but with many similar benefits: captive audience, targeted audience (format/programming varies by station) and local market appeal. Drawbacks: short life span and sometimes low audience comprehension (people tune in, but don’t pay strict attention).
• Direct Mail Includes brochures, fliers, newsletters, postcards and coupons sent by “snail mail” directly to existing and/or potential customers; mailing lists are key — compile your own or rent one from a company specializing in direct mail.
• Outdoor Advertising Includes billboards, transit advertising and signs on site; exposure time is short, so these vehicles must be attractive, readable and to the point.
• Speciality Advertising Giveaways such as pens, pads, mugs, caps and T-shirts bearing your company name/logo enjoy a dual function: they are both free “gifts” for customers and advertisements for your business. For best effect, make them useful, reflective of your business and inexpensive but not cheesy.
• Company Website Represents the face of your business and where potential customers often go first to learn about the products/services you offer. Use an experienced website designer to be sure your site is appealing as well as computer and mobile friendly.
• Email Marketing Allows for efficient distribution of promotions, newsletters and coupons. Just remember to abide by the CAN-SPAM Act as failure to do so can result in hefty fines. Be sure that every person on your distribution list has given permission to be on the list and has the ability to easily unsubscribe if desired. Email marketing services can provide templates, maintain your list and connect to your social media sites.
• Social Media Successful utilization of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube may help build a fan base for your company; on the downside, they also may create in you the desire to respond to every comment or query. To avoid wasting precious time that could be better spent on more lucrative business-related activities, set a limit on your social media involvement and stick to it.
• Review Sites A website that gathers customer reviews about businesses, products or services and location information can be your best friend if you offer quality merchandise and exceptional service — or your worst enemy if you don’t. Review sites to consider for your business include: Google My Business, Amazon, Facebook, Yelp, Trip Advisor and Angie’s List.