When it comes to advertising most small business owners don’t really fully understand all the possible methods of marketing their business. This is to be expected, when starting a business; the owner is most likely an expert at whatever they intend to sell, and not an expert on marketing or advertising.
Even an existing business owner may be stuck with certain types of advertising because he knows that it is working, and may never venture to try anything new either because of time concerns, the unknown of return on investment, or just not being creative enough.
When the economy is down, such as now, a small business owner cannot just sit back watch the sales figures decline. Something must be done about it!
With that in mind, here is a list of possible advertising methods that perhaps you may want to try out. Maybe you have never taken the time to fully explore all the possibilities.
- Website – the most obvious one. Perhaps you have a website but it is not generating sales. Now it’s a good idea to revamp it, or at least take another look at where it sits in a search engine search. Take a look at the section of Online Marketing of this site for some fresh ideas.
- Classified Ads – Small ads in the local newspaper have of an effect than you think. If the ads are consistent, the reader will start to become accustomed to seeing your company name and is more apt to remember it when they need your service.
- Demonstrations – Hold a demo of a product or service outside your store or at a local fair.
- Place a sign on top of or on the sides of your car.
- Contests – Hold a giveaway contest to generate publicity
- Offer your product in a school or non-profit fund raiser.
- Find other business professionals to network with.
- Charity – Donate a portion of your proceeds of certain products to a charity. Make sure you let everyone know by using some of the other marketing methods.
- Hold a community marketing forum and invite small business owners to join you in discussing business ideas.
- Offer your product as the prize for a local contest
- Hold an event outside your store or invite a non-profit group to hold an even outside your store.
- Advertising Specialties – Pens, balloons, t-shirts, beer mats, with your company name printed on them.
- Yellow Pages – Do you have an ad in the yellow pages? Now is a good time to review it, see if you can make it more visible compared to a competitor.
- Craigslist – Many businesses advertise now on Craigslist and other web boards.
- Direct Mail – Reaching customers at home is great way to advertise. Make sure you do some research first to make sure your mailings don’t go into the recycle bin without being looked at.
- Send your customers holiday or birthday cards.
- Personal Letters – It is easier to get a return customer than a new customer. Try writing previous customers to see if you get any results. Let them know of a new product or service you are offering etc.
- Help further your customers knowledge by sending them a tips or advice bulletin.
- Send informational brochures when a new product or service that they may be interested in comes out.
- Throw a party or special event for your best customers.
- Ask your customers how you can better server them, listen to them and make the changes necessary.
- Printed Newspaper Inserts – Much more visible than a newspaper ad, but more costly.
- Advertise in coupon books.
- Submit articles to industry publications.
- Write an article for a local magazine or paper.
- Sponsoring – Sponsoring a local sports team or event is a great way to get some good PR for your business.
- Get shirts, hats and other fashionable accessories printed with your logo or business slogan on it. Wear them around town and give them to others.
- Advertise on a billboard
- Radio – Have you even checked with a local station to see how much a radio spot will cost you? Like the classified ad you must be consistent in its application.
- Volunteer to be interviewed on a local radio station.
- TV – More for larger companies because of cost of production, but the cost of airtime has drastically lowered due to the number of cable channels. The same rules apply as to radio advertising, in that you must have enough resources to sustain an advertising campaign for a long enough time period to be effective.
- Online Advertising – Besides having a website, there are many other methods to market on the internet from viral marketing to list building and newsletters.
As you can see there are many methods in which you can market your business. When business is slow, that is the time to review your advertising strategies. A good marketing campaign uses many different methods of advertising to achieve the most effective results.
This list is by no means exhaustive but it should help you to incorporate other methods of advertising to help you achieve your sales goals.