There are a few simple reasons why large brands or conglomerates keep advertising on prime-time television, keep sponsoring major sports teams and spend a fortune to keep popping up everywhere you turn and look. A simple reality is that they can spend so much money because they have it. A small business cannot even dream of spending millions on nationwide advertisements. Large companies also spend the money to reduce their tax burden and to make better use of their revenues. But most importantly, the brands know that consistent exposure is the key to their success.
Our memory is not short lived. But we tend to remember or recollect better if we have recently been reminded of it. When we are consistently bombarded with certain offers, ads or just the products and services of a company, we are likely to check it out. When you walk into the big box chains or large wholesalers/retailers, you look for brands that you are aware of. You don’t know much about those brands or a fair bit about their products. What drives your interest is the exposure of those brands.
Local small businesses should also aim for such consistent exposure. A small business cannot pay for a commercial to be broadcast regionally or nationally. It may not have the funds to pay for a larger than life billboard next to the freeway or interstate highway. It may not be able to reserve multiple slots on radio, repeated ads in print or a massive online campaign. What one can do is use free mediums, reasonable avenues and smart ways to reach out to more people.
For optimum small business growth, you must use as much of the real estate as you can. You need to use social media and social networks. You must use relevant websites including classifieds. There are authority websites for every industry with massive following. You can use email marketing, text marketing, fliers or brochures and you can organize special events to stay in the local news. The more and longer your exposure is, the more people would get to know about your company and that would fuel the small business growth you want.
There is no alternative to exposure. If you keep wondering that your patrons would keep your business afloat or that something would miraculously change in the industry and your local market, then you are wrong. You must indulge in consistent messaging to drive home the point and to win more business.
With that being said, many small business owners are so focused on obtaining new customers, that they often overlook the customers they already have. Focus on maintaining and supporting the customer base you've already acquired as you look for new ones. You can achieve this through helping them to solve problems and becoming their go-to source for information. Establish a relationship with your customers and make every effort to engage with them. You can also offer discounts to your loyal customers to encourage them to continue buying from you. Hiring competent and skilled employees will also be a wise decision, as hiring the wrong personnel can cost you dearly. You should ensure that you always provide quality products or services to ensure that you satisfy your customers. Also, give free offers occasionally and send thank you notes that you have written by yourself. This will give your business a human face that is likely to resonate well with the public.
Here comes a curve-ball, so get ready for it. This may come as a shock to some of you, not to mention a millennial backlash, but here goes.... PUT DOWN THE PHONE AND GET OFF THE COMPUTER!!! Yes, I said it. Facebook and Twitter will survive without you, I promise. Walk down the street in your local community or business district and strike up random conversations with folks in your area. I don't mean set up a Facebook chat, or Instagram thread, I mean a good old fashioned conversation where two people actually talk with each other face to face; with words and maybe even a handshake. You never know you are going to meet and you never know who the other person knows. Be open minded and invite a local business owner or community leader to have a cup of coffee, take a client to a baseball game, attend a random networking event, join a meetup group, volunteer at a non-profit event, show up at a chamber breakfast, ask to be invited to your local BNI group meeting, have an open house or a sidewalk sale. I could ramble on for hours, the ideas and opportunities are endless. We live in a robotic world, where everything and everyone seems to be automated. All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust. Hence, it's imperative you create relationships and engage with everyone you meet. Break out of your comfort zone and stop hiding behind your computer. Use your imagination, get creative and come up with some fun, fresh ways of engaging with local residents and business owners. The worst that could happen is you make a new friend. Technology is a necessary evil, yet a double edge sword. So get out there and mingle!
Bottom line, there is no “best” way to advertise. Be open to new ideas, opportunities and get creative. As a small, local business owner, you are the business. You essentially are the brand. Create value, establish relationships, become a local influence and earn trust; that is essentially the “best” way to advertise.
Hope these tips provide value to you. As always, we are here to help!