Small Businesses Should Advertise
Small businesses should advertise. That's a pretty bold statement not knowing what kind of business we are talking about, and that is because everyone has different ideas of what advertising is. Advertising is telling people about your product or service. What you have to offer and why they should choose you over someone else. When you say the word advertising, most people think about TV, radio or billboard advertising, but advertising is any mechanism to get your message to consumers. You may already be doing some advertising and just didn't think of it that way. Your trucks, your business cards, your Facebook page ... all forms of advertising. The key is to make sure they all work together and are consistent. This will strengthen your message and help in not confusing the consumer. With some planning and patience, advertising can help your business grow. How do you do this? Start with the basics. Know what your goals are. Are you trying to increase new leads or are you trying to get existing customers to spend more? Quantify your goals so that you will know when you've achieved them. Take an inventory of everything you do now that puts your company name in front of consumers. Make sure they are all conveying the same message. Does your truck scream "Quality" and your website say "Fast"? Does your brochure say "Professional and Reliable" and your voicemail say "We'll beat any competitor's pricing"? These are all fine messages, but a consumer will not be able to pick you out of a line up. Find what makes you unique and focus on that. Be sure that your message aligns with your goals. Determine a budget that you are comfortable with. You will never feel like it is enough, but many large companies feel the same way. If you do nothing, you will get nothing in return. Find your potential customers. They are out there waiting to hear from you. Create a profile of who they are being as specific as possible. Reach out to them. The media landscape today is so diverse it is teeming with possible ways to communicate with your consumers. Find the ones that match your target audience and fit your budget. And finally ... Start. Take that first step and try something. Give it a shot and measure the results. If it doesn't work, try something else. This is why I say small businesses should advertise. If you do nothing people will not know about you. If you do nothing your business will not grow.
If you are looking for help in getting started, there are many advertising professionals out there that can assist. From strategy, to messaging to execution, they can audit your business and work with you to put a plan together. The US Small Business Administration is also a great resource.