How to Waste Your Small Business Advertising Budget

Are you a small business owner, who owns a business that has a physical address, instead of an online one? One of the many benefits to being a small business owner who runs a locally owned and operated business is that you are often well liked by the community, as your business helps their local economy. Unfortunately, being well liked by some locals isn’t enough to keep your business afloat and profitable. That is why you need to rely on the secret to building a funnel of leads. That secret is a solid, automated marketing system.

A system is one that works for you whether you are on the phone, in your store, or at the beach with your family. Your small business needs to be promoted systematically, in an ongoing fashion to provide for a steady revenue stream year-round. Costner’s axiom is not true in small business – If you built it, they will come. You need something to catch the eye, spark interest and even drag them into your store. Advertising puts eyeballs on your product or service, but what is effective advertising? Let’s discuss some of the top responses when we discuss small business advertising.

Perhaps one of the best ways to go about marketing your locally owned and operated small business is through television advertising. There is great reach advertising via television. If you have a few local channels, you may want your advertisements aired on those stations. You can target those prospects closest to you and get your message to a lot of people quickly. The major downside is, television advertising can be very expensive. Look at the costs involved versus the revenue it may bring you and weigh your options.

Another standard is the phone book. If you run a locally owned and operated small business, you should have your business listed in the phone book. First, you will want to make sure that your business is listed in the yellow pages or the business directory section, as well as the white pages. This is free to you and you should have a listing. In the past, depending on the nature of your business, you almost had to have a larger paid advertisement in the yellow pages or you would be out of business in days. This is not the case anymore. More and more people are going online to find the local businesses they need. Yellow Pages advertising is dying. It is hard to track results, and the costs are still out of line with other more effective lead generation methods. Don’t waste your money here.

Whether you are a strict bricks and mortar business, or even if you already have an online component to your business, you need to have a web presence of some sort. As with your physical location, simply publishing a website is not enough to drive people to your business. You need a system to drive traffic to your site and to your store – a constant lead funnel to feed your growing business. Your options are almost endless here: article marketing, webinar presentations (did you know you can automate these?), pay-per-click marketing, traditional SEO (search engine optimization), joint venture promotions with online or offline partners, banner advertising, email marketing, and the list goes on and on. Every one of these methods can be tested, tracked and rolled out in a big way after you know you have a winner.

Gone are the days when we throw our money at the phone book or a bus bench and pray for the phone to ring. Look to the emerging technology to test, track and profit from your marketing campaigns. Using some of the online methods described above to advertise your local business, and you can be certain that your advertising works before you pay for an extended campaign. You will see your response rates increase and your conversions climb because you are talking with qualified prospects.

Looking for small business advice? Before you hire an expensive advertising firm, let Reid McCarthy teach you how you can create a flood of new business using simple internet marketing techniques for small business owners.