How Much Value Should A Small Business Place In Advertising?

Advertising takes the form of many formats and you can spend tens of pounds to millions of pounds on advertising projects. Here though I am assuming that you are working with limited budgets and need to maximise your spends. When talking about putting together an advertising campaign many people forget the most basic form that is also the cheapest – Word of Mouth. A satisfied customer is a walking, talking advert for your organisation. If they tell ten people who tell ten people then pretty soon the numbers begin to loom large and all because you did a good job, did what you were paid to do and then maybe went that extra yard. It cannot be underestimated the value in terms of advertising and P.R. that just delivering what you promised your customers reaps its own rewards.
Having said that we cannot rely alone on the continued goodwill of satisfied customers so we need to have other cards to play up our sleeve. These days standing a head above the rest is having a website. I have spoken at length about website design and hosting so here I’ll just recap that not only do you need to have a decent website but it also needs to be search engine optimised. Once you have a website then your domain name needs to be featured on everything from your letterheads and Business Owner Salary Percentage cards to all your promotional material. Talking of which…..
Promotional items can be a good idea, preferably something that has longevity. Perennially popular are wall calendars, desk calendars and diaries and items such as pens, fridge magnets and other stationary are also viable. As are key rings, T-shirts, baseball caps and other items of clothing that can carry advertising. I was once given a rather neat leather wallet with my name engraved in it. There are a number of companies who specialise in promotional items, a quick search on Google will give you a number of websites to look through.
Media advertising is where the costs start to stack up. For the small businessman television advertising is beyond consideration but often radio slots can be more affordable. The trouble here is that you are relying on the right listeners to be tuned in when your advert is on air which is a major consideration. Billboard advertising reaches good audiences but again this is an expensive medium.
Advertising on other sites is a good way to go and there is nothing cheaper than registering your business with Google Places – this is free. As is also what is referred to banner exchanges and ‘linking’ with non compete organisations but ones that have similar customer demographics as your business.
Advertising in newspapers and magazines has costs that range across the spectrum of affordability, generally related to readership numbers, size of ad and the number of repeats. The benefit of this form of media advertising is that all the details are there written down already and most periodicals have a reasonable shelf life (apart from weekday dailies) – ever been in a doctor’s or dentist’s waiting room?
A Word From The Wise – Never forget to negotiate When Should I Go Full Time With My Business when buying advertising space!

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