Your services are amazing, and you know that you could be the next big thing if only enough people knew about your products and services. But how do you get the word out about your business? You know you should advertise, but you’re not sure how to go about it. There are so many ways to get the word out, but which one is right for you?

Maybe you’ve tried advertising in the past. If you’re already in business, then you probably have at least one or two methods of advertising that have generated good results for your business. If you’ve got a new venture, then maybe you’re uncertain how to market your business altogether and need some guidance. Whatever the case may be, advertising is more than just “clever persuasion”.

You have to figure out what medium will get you the most bang for your buck within your budgetary and time constraints. Should you use TV advertising, online advertising, radio advertising, outdoor advertising (for example billboard advertising), brand ambassador teams, or print advertising? The possibilities are endless, because the advertising industry is so vast and diverse. You may be wondering whether or not to use an advertising agency to help you navigate the myriad possibilities available to you.

The answers to your questions about advertising will vary greatly depending on the size, market, and industry in which your business operates. It also depends on whether or not you have the capital necessary to finance the type of advertising you intend to use. Some types of advertising are significantly more expensive than others, and each is appropriate for a different type of purpose, and for businesses at specific stages of development.

Are you borrowing money to advertise, or are you reinvesting your net profits into growing your business? Whatever the case may be, you always have to keep an eye on your return on investment (ROI). For every dollar that you spend on advertising or marketing, you have to show some sort of a profit. When you borrow money for advertising, the pressure may be greater to have a successful campaign. The same goes for time-sensitive advertising campaigns (such as marketing campaigns to promote a show or an event). In these cases, you have to get it right the first time, and you may be afraid to try new ideas.

That can be a problem in the long term, because marketing is all about testing. You try something, and evaluate the results. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else. If you’re too afraid to try something new, then you’ll never expand your horizons past the few advertising methods you’ve discovered so far. For some businesses that’s fine, and they’re perfectly profitable for years on end without breaking any new ground. However, it’s important to be careful of becoming too complacent with your advertising campaigns, because nothing in business stands still: your market changes, your competitors change, your customers change… You have to always innovate and avoid getting behind the eight ball.

Sometimes, when you try something new, you open the doors to new possibilities that help you hit that homerun you never expected. In order to knock it out of the park you need to take a few risks. They don’t have to be big risks… but just like a company must always innovate by investing in R&D to develop new and better products, a company must also continually innovate with their advertising approaches to find new and better ways to spread the word about their products and services. It takes some risk, and it takes some investment of time and resources, but it’s well worth the effort to give your business the opportunity it deserves to grow to the next level.

If you have a new business, you might wonder which way to go with your advertising. Generally, for new ventures it’s important to go with low-budget, high return advertising media. Online advertising (or search engine marketing) may be one of those ways. You may want to speak with your local online marketing company to explore ways in which you can get your business on the Web as quickly and profitably as possible. You might start with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to get a quick return, and learn which keywords would yield a good return. Once you have that information, you may then also launch a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign to target.

As a new business, you may also invest in print advertising, such as postcards, newspaper ads, or magazine ads within your target market. Whatever you do, you need to be careful with your funds, because your business has yet to produce a return, so you need to make sure that you have a good idea what kind of advertising will have the highest probability of success before you jump in. As you begin to succeed, keep doing more of what works, and start taking some risks on new advertising methods.

If your business is more developed, then you probably know what kind of advertising works for you already, but you’re also keenly aware that a business needs to keep growing, and you want to find new and better ways to market your business. Depending on how large your marketing budget, you may want to hire an advertising agency to lead you in the right direction.

Advertising agencies generally have long-term relationships with various media providers, and are able to put together powerful multi-faceted campaigns to target your chosen demographics within whatever geographic area you’d like to market. As a media buyer, you need to make sure to hire an advertising agency that will manage your funds effectively, and invest in the right type of media to get the results you need.

Unless you’re a large company, always try to make sure to use direct marketing instead of image marketing, because you have to track what’s working and what’s not. When a company like McDonalds puts up a billboard, they don’t need to specify a phone number to call… everybody knows who McDonalds is, and they know how to find a nearby McDonalds restaurant.

As a smaller business, you need to ensure that customers know how to reach you (phone number, web site, etc), and you need to track what media is generating the most results. One way to do that, is to add a promotional code to every ad you run, be it on TV, on the radio, on a billboard, in the newspaper… that way, when a customer buys from you using their code, you’ll know which promotion has generated the lead.

Remember… repeat what works, avoid what doesn’t work, take chances, try new things, and track everything!

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