If you are looking to grow your business more quickly, you will need to consider spending money on marketing. Where you spend your money can be scary when you are on a tight budget. We want to help you determine what is the best option that brings the greatest return on investment for your business.
When I used to own and operate an alarm company with my father, we had a unique way of marketing. My dad was never much for traditional advertising, though we tried a few isolated times. No, we built our company on people instead.
From the early days of the company, we started a telemarketing department. We would run a monthly draw for an alarm system (equipment & installation) and one year of alarm monitoring. To enter the draw, we placed draw boxes at over 50 restaurants throughout Saskatoon.
Our draw facilitator would go around once a month and collect all the ballot entries. Then we would have an accounting firm draw a winner from the ballots.
Once the draw was complete, our telemarketing team would call all the non-winning entries with a special offer. With this marketing method, we grew to one of the biggest private alarm firms in Western Canada in less than five years. Our telemarketers were experts in the follow-up. Their repeat calls helped them build a relationship, continually being the alarm company the customer came to remember.
Telemarketing worked well for us and was the least risky marketing avenue. We knew our input costs and our return on investment. Our marketing team was paid minimum wage plus bonuses for every lead that turned into a sale. They could make a good wage if they were good at what they did.
My dad was very cautious when it came to advertising. I get it, with a limited budget it’s hard to give your money away in hopes of increasing sales, especially when it’s not a method you’ve tested before. We would dabble in other methods, but dabbling doesn’t really work in advertising. To become a brand that people recognize, it takes more than one ad in a newspaper or magazine.
Single Hit Marketing
When you are a small business with a limited budget, investing in marketing that has no repeat, is a poor decision. I remember speaking with a small business owner who was excited that they were being featured in a high-end local magazine. I was excited for them until we spoke a little more about it.
They were sold an advertorial in a magazine. The magazine would write an in-depth, multipage spread on their business and send out a photographer for a professional photoshoot. This amazing marketing piece could be theirs for a one time fee of $4000.
This would have been a great showpiece, but even with it’s distribution it would still only hit the audience one time.
Multipage magazine spreads are much the same as full-page newspaper ads, outdoor billboards and large event sponsorships. These are frequently used for branding by large companies with six and seven figure advertising budgets, rather than small businesses.
The best marketing for small business, is one where there is repetition, repetition, repetition.
Repetition in Marketing
Big brands have been utilizing repeat marketing for decades. Which of the following slogans do you recognize? If you are unsure, hover your cursor over the slogan to find out the brand behind it.
- Just do it. (since 1988)
- The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching head, fever so you can get rest medicine. (since 1979)
- Good to the last drop. (since 1915)
- Finger lickin’ good. (since 1956)
- Snap! Crackle! Pop! (since 1930’s)
- Taste the rainbow. (since 1994)
“Ok, so repetition works, but how can I afford it?”
Not all repetitive advertising is expensive. It’s all about finding a cost-effective option and sticking with it for the long-term.
Online advertising is typically the best choice because it can be highly targeted. No more throwing money at ads that are being served to people who will never purchase you products or services.
When you advertise through social media or Google Adwords, you can adjust your ad spend to fit your budget. As you find what works, increase your budget to reach a larger audience and increase sales even more.
Facebook tracks ad frequency (repetition), impressions (total times people see it) and reach (number of unique people who have seen your ad). With these three statistics, you are able to determine how effective your ads are. This helps the advertiser tweak ads for increased clicks and improved ROI. Sometimes it takes seeing an ad up to 11 times before a people will recognize the business.
Video ads on YouTube, targeted at your ideal customer, is another great option for repetitive advertising that fits the small business budget.
Whatever marketing platform you decide on, make sure that you increase marketing frequency. It takes patience and consistency to see returns in advertising, regardless of the marketing form.