Does Advertising Work for a Small Business?

One question I’ve been asked many times is “Does advertising work for a small business?  What I have found over 25 years experience is that there are far more effective ways to get clients.  That is what I’m sharing with you in the article below.

What Happens?

Many small business owners that I speak with say they have tried advertising and it didn’t work.  Advertising for a small business is all too often a fast way of spending the marketing budget followed by disappointing results.  Often the return on investment is not realised.

What Went Wrong?

The problem is that advertising can result in no feedback whatsoever and therefore it is very difficult to know what went wrong.  If you have placed an advert which didn’t work as well as you hoped, the things which may be helpful to consider are:

1. Was it in the wrong publication to reach your target market?

2. How do you need to alter the messages on your advert to speak to your target market?

3. Was it that people were interested in your advert, but they just never got round to calling?

Unfortunately, even if you did get two of the above right, if you the third one wasn’t right, you may still have got a zero response rate

What Can I Do Instead?

There are often far more cost-effective and reliable ways of promoting your business and gaining new clients than advertising.  Other ways include:

1.  Clearly identify your target market and look at how you can reach them without advertising – possibilities include networking, giving presentations, posting on an internet forum

2.  Develop your marketing messages and test they work with potential clients before you use them in advertising

3.  Have a “call to action” on all your marketing materials – give them a reason to call you

Of course advertising can work for a small business, for some businesses and industries it is essential to advertise.  However, unless we know exactly the right things to say in an advert which will get people responding, the results can be unpredictable.

How to Get Clients without Advertising?

For many small businesses it is possible to get people calling you without the financial risk of advertising. Look at more of the Marketing Tips to give you other ideas.

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