SMEs for the most part are strapped for funds. In fact, because of this, fundraising becomes an almost ongoing activity for entrepreneurs. Given that money is tight, every rupee counts. When accounting for costs, as a small or medium business owner you need to take stock quite carefully and expenditure must be decided based on the ROI. In such a case, advertising costs might seem like an overhead that you can do without.
This, however is not the correct approach. All businesses, whether big or small need to advertise. There is no getting away from it. Advertising is an important tool to build brand loyalty, credibility and a strong customer base. In the case of SMEs, the only thing you need to be mindful about is the tools and methods that you choose. By choosing effective methods of advertising that will work both in terms of cost as well as returns, you can maximize the results and gain a lot out of the exercise.
Here are a few things that can help you get the most out of your advertising efforts:
–Hire Professionals: While investing in the services of a full scale advertising agency might seem like a burden, you need to treat this more like an investment. Even if you can’t go to a top-notch agency, make sure that you go to a smaller one that is efficient. Advertising does not magically work on its own. It requires strategy, backed by creative thinking and the ability to position the brand and company in a way that will drive sales. You will need the help of a professional to be able to achieve this.
–Research: No advertising campaign should ever be attempted without proper research. You need to know exactly who your target audience is, what is it that they are interested in and how you can best present yourself to them. Research helps to identify consumer persona and it makes a lot of sense to get an idea of what your consumers want or like before you serve anything to them. In fact, more importantly, proper research will help you identify who your customers are. It’s more important to know who to sell your product to, before you get to the how.
–Track your advertising: You have to find ways to determine whether the advertising you are doing is working or not. If you are going for traditional methods of advertising such as print and mass media, there are ways to find out whether there has been any spike in sales. Depending on when the ad is put out, you can track the period and link it to any jump in sales that you may experience. If it is online advertising that you are utilizing (as you most probably are, given the times), then you need to understand the tracking metrics of various platforms such as Google AdWords and Facebook to see how your advertising efforts are faring.
When it comes to advertising for SMEs, a lot of efforts are being concentrated on online advertising or digital marketing as it is called. Digital Marketing includes advertising via Search on Google as well as putting in money to boost your Facebook posts and create sponsored ads.
What is important to understand when it comes to online advertising is that conversions actually take time and you need to be patient. Also, targeting the right customers and the right demographics is absolutely crucial. You can get a sense of who your frequent visitors are on your page and this will help you understand the kind of customer group you should be targeting.
Online advertising, if done right, can reap a lot of rewards. In most cases, the returns are not by one-time orders but rather but repeat customers as building up brand loyalty.
Advertising is not optional, whether it is a big, small or medium size business. Make it work for you by being smart about it and reap the rewards.