Everyone wants to know the fast and easy shortcut to advertising. Which of these efforts will provide me the greatest return on investment? Do I have to spend a certain amount to make a certain amount? This is, naturally, a question many people will ask over the length of their business career. The answer is: It depends. That’s not really what you wanted to hear though, right? There are a few paths you can go down that depend on your business, your budget, and your market.
If you’re a big business, and you’re well established in terms of revenue, returning customers, and existing franchises, odds are you don’t have to advertise much. However, if you’re attempting to push a new product, or re-brand your company, you’re going to need to plan on a very large budget. This is because your brand is going to be expected to have big venue advertisements, like high-end magazines, websites, and television spots. Once the big push is over, depending on your rate of return, you can go back to previous levels of “maintenance” advertising.
If you’re a brand-spankin’ new company, getting your name out there can be difficult and downright expensive. For one, you most likely have very little revenue coming in, making it hard to spend what you don’t have. Also, you have to worry about putting too much into a project that isn’t going to give you a return on your investment. For this reason, it may be better to diversify your advertising set to a wide range of markets: SEO (keywords), social media promotions, review sites (Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.), print (newspaper, business cards, flyers, etc.), radio, and television. Keep your use of these tools small, but widely spread across all of the different platforms, can definitely work in your favor. Then, after a few months, evaluate what works for you and what’s worth pulling. Sometimes, radio and TV ads work better than sending out mail. It just depends on your area, and your niche audience.
These businesses are the ones that have already started up, have begun to generate revenue, but are stuck on a plateau, or just can’t get the recognition needed to make their business boom. For these people, an all-out ad battle might not be the best approach because of the cost it requires. However, since you’ve been in business a little longer than the startups, you can evaluate where most of your business comes from and put most of your eggs in that proverbial basket. You should also diversify, and try new and unique venues for advertising. You’d be surprised at how much traffic novelty advertising can get you. Have fun with it, and don’t be discouraged if one path doesn’t work like you expected. If you have a great business that has already received many customers, you’ve already got an audience. You just have to make it bigger.
Choosing an advertising path is hard, especially when it comes to knowing your budget. The first step is understanding your budget, and the second step is understanding where you want your advertising campaign to take you. After that, it’s just putting a plan in motion.