Women In Business

Choosing the best advertising channels for your small business

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Making the right decision when it comes to marketing and advertising is often crucial for success of a company, especially SMEs, whose budgets are rather limited. Another potential obstacle is lack of experience among management when it comes to selecting the right channels for reaching new customers. So, how can such companies decide what’s best for them?

Know your target

In order to choose an appropriate marketing channel, you need to take into account the age, gender, location and economic status of the target audience in order to choose the right marketing channel. Not every group responds in the same way to the same approach, which is why you have to make sure you understand who you’re talking to.

Once you’ve done that, you need to consider the available options in relation to your budget. Another decision that has to be made concerns the number of channels you’re going to exploit. Namely, you would like to cover as much as possible, but that means you won’t be able to allocate significant funds to any promotional campaign. On the other hand, if you choose to focus on just one channel, you’ll definitely have more money at your disposal, but you’ll be running a risk of completely missing your target.

Let’s look at the available options and their advantages and disadvantages.

Print media

If you’re considering leaflets, business cards, office stationery, newspaper ads and similar ways of promoting your product or service, you need to be aware that you’ll be facing a potentially overwhelming choice of options. Another disadvantage could be that you’ll be reaching a lot of those who are not your target group unless you target specific individuals and groups.

On the other hand, this is one of the cheapest ways of advertising and it offers great flexibility in terms of the scope of promotion. Also, you can get high quality custom printing done and put your logo or company name on almost anything that people use or wear (pens, bags, notebooks, T-shirts, etc.).

Outdoor marketing

Many small businesses opt for billboards in their attempt to attract new customers or remind the existing ones that they are still working. This has proven to be one of the most efficient advertising channels if done properly. That means you have created a visually appealing image that conveys the right message and that you’ve chosen the right location.

Other, less expensive, options available are signage and banners, that can also attract enough customers if designed properly. They don’t usually have the same potential to wow people, but can be a useful and constant reminder about the existence of your company and its offer.

What you need to take into consideration, though, is that you won’t be able to track the exact return on investment if you choose this advertising channel. That might be one of the reasons some SMEs are reluctant to invest a lot in outdoor marketing.

Advertising in electronic media

Radio and TV ads, as well as telemarketing, can be quite successful, but that very often depends on your budget. You need to be careful to select the right station and the right time to place your ad. Otherwise, it’s money down the drain.

Another potential threat when using this type of advertising, particularly SMSs and telemarketing, is that a great number of people find them invasive and irritating, which automatically means they will attribute the same adjectives to your company and brand image.

Still, if successful, such a campaign can produce excellent return on investment, since it is cheaper than most other options, which is why many smaller companies decide to give it a try.

Advertising in digital media

The increasing popularity of digital media has persuaded many companies to explore the option of advertising using such media. Advertising budgets for digital media presence are constantly rising among profitable companies and there’s a good reason for this.

Depending on the available amount, companies invest in SEO, blogging and video marketing hoping for significant and prompt reaction. Since we live in the age where speed is given priority to almost everything, customers expect to be able to react immediately and your company’s investment in digital presence in of utmost importance.

Advertising in social media

We are witnessing a boom in social media advertising, with more and more people opting to use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to reach customers. Depending on the type of business you deal with, you need to carefully choose the right channel or the right combination of social media to achieve your business goals.

Word-of-mouth

This is still the most potential, most trusted and the cheapest way of reaching new customers. However, it can’t perform miracles, especially not overnight. In order to be able to utilise it properly, you need to carefully and patiently build a base of satisfied customers, whose recommendations would bring you new clients. And in order to get there, you need to reach people through other channels.

As you can see, there are a lot of options available. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages and, unfortunately, there are no easy, universal solutions. What might work for one company, might not be successful in some other case. Even the same type of company using the same advertising channel might experience different outcomes, just by operating in a different environment. That’s why you first need to know who you want to reach, how they can and liked to be reach and who can help you reach them. Otherwise, you’ll be fighting a losing battle and your company’s future will be grim.

About Emma Miller

Emma Miller is a Sydney based writer with a degree in marketing. Interested in digital marketing, social media, start-ups and latest trends. She's a contributor at Bizzmark blog

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