The first thing most new entrepreneurs think they have to do to get customers is advertise. Advertising works (that’s why you see so much of it) but it’s not necessarily the best thing for your business.
One of the appeals of advertising is that it is easy. Call up your local newspaper, tell them you want to run an ad, send them a check, and you’ve got your ad. You can feel like you’re really in business now, and you’ve done what you need to do to bring customers to your door. Of course, advertising is also expensive, and it doesn’t always work exactly as you expect it to. So it may not be the best use of your limited marketing funds.
Consider advertising when:
You can reach a targeted audience. The daily newspaper is not only expensive, it isn’t targeted. For most small businesses, it’s not a good investment. A newsletter directed at your target market will probably charge less and be more effective. Or, consider a small weekly paper in your neighborhood. You’ve got to reach your customers, not just “people.”
You know what you want customers to do. Tell them how to contact you (your store address, phone number, web site, etc.) and give them a reason why. Are you having a sale? Can they order a product? Get a free sample? Sign up for your seminar? Just announcing you’re open for business isn’t helpful, unless they know why they should care.
The price is right. What results can you realistically expect? Will the results support the cost of the ad? But don’t advertise just because an ad is “cheap”—that may be because it doesn’t reach many people.
You can afford to run the ad again and again. People don’t always respond immediately. To be effective, your ad should run many times.
Your customers will respond to advertising, or will look in advertising when they need your services. For some businesses, advertising in community newspapers will be money well-spent, because their customers will come from the local area and will find their ad. On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t be profitable for a management consultant. That’s not how they get hired.
Your competitors advertise. If they are advertising, it could mean that this is how they get customers. You might consider it.
You’ve chosen your medium well. Don’t forget about TV and radio, as well as print. And there are many opportunities to advertise online. Go where your customers are.
And finally, don’t advertise because you think “that’s what businesses do” or that “customers will come to me if I advertise.” There are other, less expensive ways of getting the word out that can be much more effective.
And the last advise: just contact low priced banner printing company and let your customers know about you!