Three Rules for Small Business Advertising
Our last marketing tip talked about how Successful Advertising Starts With Business Optimization. Today, we are going to take a look at three rules to help make your small business advertising as effective as possible. This marketing tip will provide a broad overview of the rules, but don’t worry: our next three tips will dive deeper into each rule as a single topic.
- Know your audience
- Perfect your message
- Use a “call to action”
Know Your Audience
Effective small business advertising starts by understanding who your audience is. Obviously, your “audience” is the people who would be interested in what you are selling. But with a small budget, we really need to define this better. Oftentimes we think that going after a broad audience is the best way to utilize our advertising budget. We fear leaving people out that might have been interested in our business. The problem is that, as a small business, we don’t have the thousands (perhaps even millions) of dollars that it takes to go after a broad audience. If we try, we end up making too little of an impact to be noticed.
Instead, we need to spend our resources going after those most likely to make a purchase from us. So what does it mean to know your audience? How do we properly define them? I am glad you asked because that is going to be our Marketing Tip for next week! For now, the point is that by knowing who our audience is, we can maximize our advertising by showing up where they are with a message that resonates with them. Instead of trying to be everywhere and everything for everyone, we need to really hone in on our customer base.
Perfect Your Message
Our message should reflect what matters most to our audience. While it is important to show our personality and point to our value, the star of our message is the audience, not us. Advertisements that perform the best always speak from the customer’s point of view. They don’t care about us: they care about finding the best option to serve their needs. We also want the message to be consistent.
It is easy to fall into a trap of thinking that each advertisement should be unique. We may even think that we are getting too repetitive because we are living and breathing the message. But a consistent message is easier to remember. Plus, people need to hear or see the same thing multiple times before it really takes effect. Creating consistent messages helps to build brand recognition and greatly increases the effectiveness of our advertisements. Even if we think it is old news, chances are it is new to our audience. There is a lot more that needs to be said about creating the perfect message, which we will delve into soon.
Use a Call-to-Action
Back in Marketing Tip #7, we discussed the difference between “top of mind awareness advertising” and” call-to-action advertising.” There is a good argument to be made for using both. However, when dealing with small budgets, I suggest that you start with Call-to-Action advertising. This is where you put an offer in your ad to encourage action. Normally, this is used in online and email advertising, but it can also work in the more traditional print, radio, etc. type of advertisements.
The offer can be a coupon, a limited time sale, a free trial, or any other sort of valuable “gift” that would be meaningful to your audience. The key is that the audience has to find it valuable. No, you don’t have to give away the farm, but the bigger the perceived value of the offer, the more response you will get. This is a big and important topic, so we will also cover more about Call-to-Action campaigns.
Small Business Advertising: Final Thoughts
I look forward to exploring these three rules for effective small business advertising with you over the coming weeks. My hope is that you found this overview helpful as we set the stage for more detail and a much larger discussion on each of the three rules.