Small businesses often have limited marketing budgets so that managers must find the best return on their marketing dollars as possible. Although some free advertising can be very beneficial, the fact is that businesses must often spend money to make money, especially on their marketing program. It is important to invest intelligently, however, in order to get the most out of every marketing dollar available.
Professional Logos and Images
One of the best ways to spend marketing money is to use a portion to hire a graphic designer to create your logos and images. Graphic designers understand how to create a wide range of digital files that can be used for print, online or other marketing materials. Logos and images should look as professional in color as they look in black and white. They should also be easily reproduced. A complicated, multi-color logo might not transfer well and could be very expensive to create. A good designer may also be able to help you with website design, flyers, brochures and other marketing material.
Make Use of Free Advertising Spaces
Many communities have public bulletin boards or locations where businesses can place posters or business cards. Create eye-catching posters that you can put up in various areas around your community, such as delis or non-competitive stores. Some places offer business-card bulletin board placement, so be sure that your business card is professional and easily recognizable among others. Be sure to talk to your local Chamber of Commerce as many offer places for businesses to leave stacks of cards, flyers or brochures for visitors to pick up when they are looking for things to do in town.
Keep Dates off Some Marketing Material
Be sure to print some marketing material that is evergreen. In other words, you want to have brochures and stand cards that don’t only advertise a special event or seasonal offerings. Instead, provide printed materials that will apply to your company year-round. There is nothing wrong, however, with printing specific cards for seasonal specials, special events or promotions that will expire. Just be sure to remove them once the date has passed.
Diversify Your Online Advertising
There is no question that online advertising has grown increasingly important over the past few years. However, it is important that you spread your online dollars out among various sources, such as viral marketing, social media, live blogging and videos. If you choose to use videos, hire a professional company to create them and be sure to create long as well as short versions that you can connect through your website. A video could be a demonstration of a product, a tour of your facility or a special event you are holding at your location.
Track Your Return on Investment
One of the biggest mistakes managers make is not tracking the return on investment in their marketing programs. Keep track of what brings you the most customers and whether the advertising is bringing new or repeat customers. If you find a particular method of advertising is not growing your bottom line, adjust your marketing program to add more dollars toward what is bringing in customers and reduce what you spend on what is not improving your customer base. Online advertising is easy to track using analytics available from many companies. Print media may be harder to track, but there are ways to determine if people are finding your company through print, television or radio. Most people will answer honestly if you simply ask the how they heard about your company.
In a small business, every dollar counts, which is why you want to be sure that your advertising dollars are growing your customer base and improving the bottom line. The proper mix of online and printed media will help you grow your business and not only help you find new customers, but encourage customers to return.