If you’re a new business owner, the chances are that advertising is the first marketing tactic that comes to your mind.
That’s partly because we’ve been exposed to TV and print advertising all our lives and we’re already really familiar with it. But it can feel strangely comfortable too, because it’s hands-off. It takes confidence to stand up and talk about your product, but if it’s in print then you don’t have to speak to anyone!
The trouble is that advertising can be expensive if you’re a tiny business. Very expensive. And I’m not just talking about the cost of placing a single advert, either. The chances are that one advert probably won’t do the trick because it needs to be part of a campaign which builds familiarity and visibility.
Don’t be disheartened, though, because you have one huge advantage over a company with a big budget, and that’s YOU! You don’t have to create a brand as a faceless corporation does, you’re a human being with a personality. For that reason, marketing methods involving building relationships may well be more cost effective than ‘hands off’ methods like advertising. Social media (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many more), networking, public speaking and do-it-yourself public relations are a few examples of marketing methods that are cheap or free and allow you to build a relationship with your potential customers.
I’m not saying that advertising won’t work for a small business, just that you may find other marketing methods are more effective and cheaper. It could really pay to get creative, put your nerves to one side and go out and talk to people.
If you do want to give advertising a try, here are some tips to help you:
- Get to know your audience really well, then look around for publications that they read. Local community or family magazines are often delivered to every home or school in a particular area, so can be great for reaching a very specific geographical area or families with school-age children, for example.
- Once you’ve identified a publication you might like to advertise in, ask them how many copies they distribute, where and how often. Ask for samples so you can make sure the quality is good and that it is right for your target audience.
- Aim to get a discount of up to 50%. Try calling just before the publication deadline so they are keen to sell all their remaining advertising space.
- You don’t need to limit yourself to print advertising. Sponsoring a blog needn’t cost much and blogs tend to be very tightly focused on a subject or community. There are lots of new sponsorship opportunities opening up with social media, from blogs to podcasts and even sponsored tweets! I’ve been sponsored to attend the Cybermummy conference later this year and in return for my conference fee I’m blogging, Tweeting and wearing a badge for SmartTalkers Pre-School Groups. (You can read my pitch here).
Taken from my new e-course Earn What You Deserve as a Mumpreneur.