Smart Advertising: Four Tips For Small Businesses

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Not long ago, media buying involved purchasing expensive TV, radio or print advertising contracts with traditional media outlets. For small businesses with limited budgets, the price of becoming a big player in the advertising game was often just out of reach. Now, the evolution of online, social and mobile marketing platforms has leveled the playing field quite a bit. Small businesses can buy cost-effective media more efficiently and intelligently than ever before – and truly compete with bigger brands.

Getting started with advertising can be overwhelming to a small business owner, and a good strategic campaign doesn’t happen by accident. Here are four tips for smart media buying:

1. Know Your Target Audience. (Hint: your audience is not necessarily a mirror of you.) Understanding exactly who is the decision maker when it comes to buying your product or service is crucial. Gender, age, household income and education all come into play. Do your homework before you advertise. Not sure where to start? The Small Business Administration ( offers good information on how to conduct market research.

2. Aim For Key Market Segments. The truth is, because there are now multitudes of ways to reach people, audiences have become more fragmented and harder to reach with any one medium. However, reaching key market segments is actually easier. By intelligently using qualitative data, small businesses can drill down and discover listenership of a particular radio station, determine which brand of credit card the target audience is more likely to use, or even gauge their likelihood of attending the State Fair. Search online for great data on consumer statistics – it’s out there.

3. Geo-Target Your Audience. Direct mail is a tried and true method of targeting a specific geographic area, typically by zip code. Cable television allows geo-targeted reach in specific areas with a visual component. And it’s also possible to take advantage of online and mobile marketing to reach your audience. “Geographic fencepost marketing” focuses campaigns around a specific business or trade area. For instance, social media platforms like Facebook enable advertisers to target only consumers who live within a specific distance from their business. This helps small businesses launch more cost-effective pay-per-click campaigns and avoid the higher cost of traditional advertising that reaches audiences both inside and outside the target market.

4. Consider Consulting A Professional. There are a lot of options out there for today’s advertiser, and small business owners may find they have limited bandwidth to wade through everything on their own. Creative experts can design eye-popping visuals and memorable taglines that align with a company’s brand. A media buying service can help explain various media platforms, including print, TV, radio, mobile, social and online – and then advise on the best combination of these to implement based on a company’s specific needs. This type of service can also leverage its existing relationships with media outlets to secure the best possible pricing, and explain the different marketing vehicles (email, text messaging, video, print, audio) available.

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