Promoting a New Business
by Lee Lawrence
Money to market your business is hard to find when you're first starting up, but the amount of advertising and marketing you do is directly related to how quickly your business will show a profit. Here are some ways you can promote your business without breaking the bank.
It is essential to set a budget and carefully plan to work within it. Promoting a new business requires analyzing all available options. Often changes made to a scheduled program will result in penalties from the publisher of the paper or magazine you were advertising in and you will be spending above your budget and receiving less promotion than originally planned.
Ads should be carefully planned and you may need the expertise of a professional designer or ad agency. Ads placed in a publication are commissionable to the agency. However, there is usually a charge for preparation of the ad. You can agree on the preparation cost prior to making a final commitment.
Listed below are some ideas to build your business. Within your allotted budget it is to your advantage to use several methods simultaneously if possible. You will have a better chance of reaching your target audience with multiple impressions. A smaller ad run with frequency is more advisable than one large ad unless the large ad is intended as a limited or one time immediate message. Consider that running six times in a publication that publishes monthly places your ad in fifty percent of the issues for that year. In a daily publication six ads equals about one week of fifty two weeks.
Direct mail- Using this method you specify the exact number of people to reach. Depending on your product you should obtain a list from an association or publication that best determines your target group. Unless your objective is to just make an announcement the mailing piece should contain a specific offer to create a response.
Publication advertising- Check the rates and circulation of magazines and newspapers serving your community. Greater frequency earns lower rates. Consider the audience of each publication. Does it reach your target audience? What visibility you will have within your budget allotment. Remember the objective is to reach your target audience.
General promotion- Special offers, discounting, discount coupons, added value offers etc. These offers can be a separate mailing or included in your direct mail. With a separate mailing you can reach a smaller audience so that the mailing is a test to determine a more extensive mailing.
Reputation- A constant effort to promote the advantages of your establishment. Promote your policies, acceptance of return merchandise etc.. Consider participating in your local chamber of commerce and business groups.
Follow up procedures- Plan follow up procedures to ad responses. Use written material, phone call follow up to close the sale. Plan to key your ads if you are running in more than one publication at a time. This will help to track reader response to your ad.
This article prepared by Lee Lawrence a member of the Small Business Advisory Committee of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce. Business advice is available free. Call 631-423-6100.