The advertising industry has a secret they don’t want small businesses to know about, because of their cozy relationship with Big Business, whom they call “Brands”.
Innovation in the ad industry that delivers higher ROI on ad spend is designed for Big Business, not small business.
SBA.gov has a ton of great resources for small businesses, including this Getting Started Guide for Small Business Advertising. One of the key parts of this report is a good healthy dose of reality: “It takes time and persistence,” says the SBA. “The effectiveness of your advertising improves gradually over time because it’s impossible for every customer to see every ad. You must repeatedly remind prospects and customers about the benefits of doing business with you.”
Diving deeper, the Small Business Administration prompts small businesses to fill in the details to get your audience and messaging right. Part of that is arming yourself with information – “what do you know about your industry, market and audience?” At Shakr, we suggest you go far beyond the SBA’s initial suggestions for free and inexpensive market research – U.S. government materials from the Census Bureau and Department of Commerce might be too macro for local businesses. A big part of getting this analysis right is being in sync with your customer’s frame of mind, so you can then frame the data you look at. Both the mindset and data is largely accessible to small business owners through real discussions with real people, in person and through social media.
Finally, once you’ve got your audience and messaging established, the SBA suggests that “your next step is to select the advertising vehicles you will use to carry your message,” which is often limited by budget. Often, this means looking at advertising vehicles that have low upfront costs, like search ads, newspaper ads, flyer handouts and social media ads. Here’s the dirty secret of the ad industry: