|ADVERTISING YOUR BUSINESS
ADVERTISING IS THE MEANS for getting information about your product or service to
the buying public. While developing your marketing plan as described in the previous chapter, you
identified your potential customers in your area of service. Now you must determine the best methods
for reaching them. While this is an inclusive chapter, we suggest consulting with an advertising agency.
Calculating Your Advertising Budget
Media advertising and publicity can be obtained through interviews, articles and paid ads in
newspapers, magazines and on radio and television.
Newspaper advertising reaches large audiences, has a short life span, is relatively inexpensive and is
quickly and easily changed.
Magazine advertising is often thought to be too expensive for a small business, but you don’t have
to run your ads in the entire edition. You can reach specific geographic and demographic markets by
placing your ad in a regional edition.
Radio advertising is usually local, reaches a pre-selected audience, can be changed frequently, is limited
to brief copy, is relatively expensive and can be repeated frequently. It is priced according to the length
of the message, time of broadcast and frequency.
Television advertising reaches large marketing areas, is relatively expensive and is limited to brief copy.
This form of advertising is usually highly professional and is priced according to length of message, time
of broadcast, frequency, time of year and whether the station is a network or independent.
An Internet marketing strategy is something that absolutely every modern-day small business start-up
needs. While a good starting point is a Web site, Internet marketing requires more than a couple of static
Web pages. Instead, successful Internet marketing mandates a dynamic and well-rounded Web presence
that builds relationships in addition to sales. A comprehensive Internet marketing strategy replaces
newspaper ads with banner ads, yellow pages with search engines, snail mail with e-mail, town squares
with social networks and sales letters with custom content. A Web site allows you and your business to
have an ongoing “conversation” with customers.
Along with a dynamic web page, reaching your audience wherever they are requires a presence on
the social networking pages today. Business EZine says marketing via social media can be defined as
a method of marketing, communication with the public, customer service and sales using just one or
a multiple of social networking websites, internet communities, wikis, blogs or another form of online
media. Some social media that are famous and good for marketing include LinkedIn, Flickr, Facebook,
Wikipedia, YouTube, Orkut and Twitter.
Here are five tips from Susan Gunelius, CEO of KeySplash Creative Inc., a marketing communications
company, that anyone can apply to their social media marketing efforts today and start seeing positive
results almost immediately.
|| Make it easy and non-threatening for your audience to participate. Not only does
your content matter on the social web but your personality matters, too. You need to be
accessible and approachable in all of your social media marketing communications. Talk with
peoples that makes it clear that you want them to join the conversation. This applies to your
employees as well. Your employees are your best brand advocates. Make it easy for them to
talk about your business on the social web by providing simple guidelines for them to follow.
Go to Ask.com and type in social media and blogging policies to develop your own business’
||Write share-worthy content. The more amazing content that you publish online through
your social media profiles, the more people will want to share it with their audiences. That
leads to far more online exposure for you, your business and your brand than you can get
on your own. Of course, not every piece of content that you publish on social sites has to be
share-worthy, but you should try to publish as much as possible.
||Acknowledge and recognize your audience. The power of social media marketing
comes from the relationships you develop with your online audience (who will become brand
advocates and will talk about your business, champion it, and defend it against naysayers).
With that in mind, you must acknowledge people when they reach out to you. Would you
ignore a person who walked up to you at a networking event and spoke to you? Hopefully,
your answer to that question is, “no.” No one likes to be ignored, and social media conversations
shouldn’t be treated differently from in-person conversations. Many of the most successful
marketers make a point of responding to every e-mail, blog comment, tweet and so on that
is directed at them. So recognize your audience, and make them feel important.
||Integrate all of your marketing efforts. All of your marketing efforts should work
together to present consistent brand messages and lead to your ultimate marketing goals.
For example, feed your blog content to your Twitter and Facebook profiles using a tool like www.Twitterfeed.com. Promote your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles by including
“Follow Me” buttons in your blog’s sidebar that link to your profiles. Include your Twitter ID
in your printed ads and link to your blog and social media profiles in your e-mail signature.
The key is to surround your audience with branded experiences and let them select how they
want to interact with your business and brand. Give them options and make it easy for them
to join the conversation in the way that they choose.
||Don’t try to keep up with the Jones. Just because your competitor is doing something
on the social web doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. By blindly following your
competitor’s path, you’re marketing scared and without purpose. Plus, it’s probable that
your competitor’s initiatives won’t help you meet your goals at all. While it’s essential that
you monitor your competitor’s social media marketing activities, you should analyze them
against your own goals before implementing any of them yourself.
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In addition to paid advertising, don’t overlook publicity. It creates news about your business. Research
your local media and call them to see if they would do a feature on your business or whether they could
use you as a resource in your field of expertise.
It is not enough to just tell them about your business. You must be prepared to present a unique
angle. The information you submit and the ideas with which you approach the media must be timely,
important and interesting to a large segment of their audience.
You may wish to submit a news release to let people know who you are and what you have to offer.
News releases should be short and contain important facts. News releases follow the inverted pyramid
style, most important information in the first paragraphs diminishing down to least important in the
There are three keys to a successful press release:
- A quality news angle (never send a press release if you don’t have real news).
- A well-written release (following proper formatting, writing styles, etc.).
- A tailored press release distribution plan (there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to distribution).
Press Release Components
Release time – The top of a press release should either have “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” or an embargo
date listed (EMBARGOED UNTIL DATE) if the news isn’t to be published immediately.
Headline – The headline is like the title of your press release. It should grab the reader’s attention,
make them want to click or read more, and still manage to introduce the news angle itself.
Summary – Press release summaries are popular in online press release distribution. This should be a
two to four sentence summary of the news, expanding on the headline but not as detailed as the press
release body. When using offline press release distribution methods, this can be substituted with a oneline
Dateline – The dateline of a press release comes directly before (but on the same line as) the opening
body paragraph. It will include the hometown of the company issuing the news release as well as the
Press Release Body – The first body paragraph of a press release should briefly answer the questions
of who, what, when, where, and why. Following paragraphs will include supporting details and often a
quote from a representative of the company.
Boilerplate – A press release boilerplate is a short backgrounder on the issuing company, person, or
organization, generally no longer than one paragraph.
Call to Action – The call to action invites the reader to get in touch with you for any additional details
they may need in writing a story.
Contact Information – At a bare minimum include a media contact name, phone number, and e-mail
address. It never hurts to include a mailing address, cell, or fax number as well.
Closing – All news releases should contain a closing mark (often ### or -30-), which signifies to the
reader that there’s nothing more to come. If a release goes to a second page, the first page should
be marked with something like -more- to make it clear that another page will follow. You can list any
addenda (such as photos) just before the closing.
To get a free press release format, visit FreePressReleaseWriting.com for some templates you can
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There are other means of getting the message about your business to your customers. Here are some
- Community involvement or sponsorship: Membership in local clubs and organizations can give your business exposure.
- Direct mail: Goes into your target market’s home or business and into their hands.
- Telemarketing: Using the telephone to contact new customers or to maintain contact with current customers can be an effective way to reach your market.
- Networking: Exchanging information about your business whenever possible at meetings, receptions and other social gatherings.
- Promotional gimmicks.
- Trade shows: Displaying information about your business at shows that tap into your market is well worth the investment in time and money.
- Yellow Pages listing.
Pay attention to advertising and promotions for your business. How you spend your advertising budget
is more important than how much you spend. Spend it wisely.
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| CALCULATING YOUR
According to Work.com, taking the time and effort to calculate your ad budget will help you:
- Ensure that you’re not wasting money by either overspending or under-spending.
- Better manage your total budget.
- Determine whether you need additional capital to build your brand (and how much you’ll need).
- Learn how to measure return on your advertising investments.
- View advertising not as an expense, but as an investment that ensures your company’s success. There are several different ways to calculate your ad budget.
Many small businesses simply use a percentage of revenue as their guide for how much to spend on
advertising. If you’re going to use this method, you need to figure out two things: what percentage, and
what revenue? Rather than generalizing (5 percent revenue) it’s better to use your industry’s average
percentage as a guide. For the most accurate number, base the percentage on an average of the last few
years’ revenues, or on the average of last year’s revenues and your projection of next year’s revenues.
To find your industry’s average percentage of revenue spent on advertising, search the Dun & Bradstreet
The unit-of-sales method relies on your experience, plus averages for your industry, of how much it costs
to sell a certain specific product. Determine the number of such products you want to sell, multiply
that number (1000 widgets X five cents per widget) and you’ll get your total budget ($50). The unit of
sales method works well for companies with only a few different products to sell, and for product lines
with limited or circumscribed availability (an artist can make X number of carvings per year with one
apprentice, for example).
Your need in the unit-of-sales method is to get good key numbers — try your industry trade association.
Search for it on the U.S. government’s Consumer Action Web site, www.consumeraction.gov/trade.shtml.
Tie advertising investments to rent expenses. Entrepreneur magazine suggests an unusual way to
calculate ad budgets, which should work well for retailers and others whose facilities play a role (any
role, limited or significant) in their brand identity. The calculation, which is slightly too complex to repeat
here, will provide you with a very specific budget range. Use the tutorial, “A New Way to Calculate Your
Ad Budget,” at Entrepreneur.com Web site. Search for the tutorial title.
Another way is to calculate your budget by task and objective. Although this method is the hardest
one to use, most experts agree that it’s the most accurate way to come up with the right ad budget. It’s
hard because you must first create a marketing plan. What are your objectives? Rank them in order of
importance, because you may find that you can’t afford to achieve all of them. Determine: 1) who you
want to reach, 2) how frequently you want to reach them, 3) where (through which combination of
media) you’ll get the best exposure, and 4) how much it will cost. Add it all up. Too much money? Reduce
To use the task and objective method, you need a good marketing plan. If you need a marketing plan
outline and want professional help, contact your local SBDC coach.
Online tools make it easier. There are a variety of calculators online, geared to different industries. Just
plug in your numbers and go!
Want to figure out how much your advertising impressions will cost? Marketing Today’s Advertising CPM (cost-per-thousand) calculator, is useful. Search
engine marketers can figure out keyword ROI on the Marketing Today Web site.
We should also mention pay-per-click. Nothing has made the analysts who work in the advertising
industry happier than the rise of pay-per-click ads and other search engine marketing techniques,
because it’s easy to measure their return on investment.
For a great tutorial on measuring your pay-per-click ROI, or “return on ad spend” (ROAS) see Google Adwords Learning Center.
Tips and Tactics
- Test your ads; measure the ROI; tweak them, and measure again. It’s the only way you’ll really know what works.
- Trying to build market share? You’ll have to spend more than the industry average percentage of sales on advertising.
- Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Maintain a reserve ad fund for those times when you must respond to unusual or highly competitive conditions.
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