Nobody wants to waste their advertising budget. Every business wants to advertise in ways that are effective and fruitful for their bottom line. But with so many different options out there, from print ads to radio promotion to custom banners and trade show displays, it can be difficult to know which method is going to deliver the most bang for your buck.

However, there are some simple ways to narrow down the options and make a more educated decision on which types of advertising will work for your business. By taking the time to carefully consider  industry, your company’s values, and your business goals, you’ll be better positioned to choose an effective advertising platform or set of platforms. Ultimately, this will make your marketing plan more effective, and will make the best use of your advertising dollars.

Investigate the different advertising options.

Before you spend any money or even set a budget for advertising, do some research on the subject. What are the types of advertising that are relevant and available to your business?

Does this seem like an intimidating prospect, or something better suited to someone who has a master’s degree in marketing? Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Your research can start as simply as looking at other businesses like yours, and looking at what advertising methods they employ to promote their business.

For instance, say you have a gift and stationery store. How are other similar stores in nearby cities advertising? Do they have a cool mascot in an inflatable costume dancing outside of their store? Or are they part of every outdoor fair? Or do they drive around in a vehicle with wrap printing which shouts their name out everywhere they go? Or are they taking social media by storm, with thousands of followers? Take note of these different options as potential ways that you could market your business. 2

Consider your goals.

Now that you’ve got some ideas about the different advertising options that are available, take some time to consider what you’d like to accomplish with your advertising. Is it bringing in new customers to an existing business? Or announcing a new product or service? Or perhaps it’s to help customers find you in a new location. Cross referencing what your goals are with the different advertising options can help you determine which type of advertising is the best fit.

For instance, if you want to alert customers that you have moved, a large banner or sign displayed by your old location might be very helpful; if you’re promoting a sale, a human directional or flag might be a flashy way to draw attention. For more information, check out our post on what type of signage is right for your business.Picture3

Consider what is appropriate for your business.

While there isn’t necessarily a “wrong” solution for advertising, it’s true that certain types of advertisements will prove more or less appropriate for your business. To offer an example, say you’re vending lemonade at a crowded street fair. This might not be the time to display a huge advertising mural or a spinning indoor display. However, an outdoor game or an a-frame sign will provide easy, portable, and affordable options for a temporary display. Consider the logistics of your advertisement.

Make a plan.

By now, you’ve done your homework, you’ve considered your goals, and you’ve pondered what will work, logistically, for advertising your business. But what if you still have a few different options? It’s time to make a plan so that you can start testing the waters.

Create an advertising plan wherein you allot a budget to advertising based on the options that you’ve researched and decided upon. You don’t have to be held down to just one type of advertisement, so it’s absolutely fine to allot your advertising budget to various methods. For instance, your marketing budget might include a print ad, the services of a social media consultant, and custom signage.

Invest in social media.

OK, so we’ve alluded to the fact that you should try some different things and explore different options. But do make a concerted effort to invest yourself in social media. Now, “invest” doesn’t necessarily mean “throw all your money at it”. Sure, you can hire a social media expert to set you up on various channels and maximize the effectiveness of your social media. But for real results, you’ll have to invest yourself in social media.

There’s no rule against a business owner doing their own social media: the key is that you have to be consistent, engaging, and keep things interesting for your customers, otherwise you won’t gain much traction. But since social media is such a large part of how we find and engage with businesses these days, it’s important to at least have a presence.

Don’t just invest in social media.

This piggy-backs directly on the last point. While it’s important to invest time in social media, don’t make it the only mode of advertising you employ, and don’t spend all your money on it. It is, after all, a virtual platform, and when you have a business in which you are directly dealing with customers, you need to offer a personal and tactile touch. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Do pursue social media, but also make sure that your advertising efforts are well-rounded, with printed advertising materials which can attract customers in the physical (not virtual) world.Picture4

Evaluate every few months.

Just because a method of advertising is working right now doesn’t mean it will forever and ever. Be sure to evaluate your advertising efforts every few months to see if they are still working effectively. For example, if you’ve been displaying the same custom game for three years, it might be time to mix it up and either alternate with another game, or add a different type of signage to your repertoire. Be sure to keep things fresh for your customers to remain memorable in their minds.

Repeat these steps as needed. As time goes on, revisit these steps as often and as thoroughly as you’d like. Stay nimble and adaptable so that you can grow along with your customers, and attract new ones. Stay updated on the new offerings from Above All Advertising--you never know when a new type of signage or promotional item will become available that is perfectly suited for your business!

Conclusion: Advertising doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. Your industry, location, personal style, values, and goals will dictate what works best for promoting your unique business. By taking the time to consider the various types and methods of advertising and how they can align with your goals and logistics, you’ll make the most effective choices for your company, which will make your advertising dollars well spent.

What methods of advertising work best for your business?