What Advertising Technique Is Most Effective for a Small Business?
Kayla Matthews

As a small business owner, your marketing budget is relatively limited. If you don't spend your ad dollars wisely, it can impact your revenue, and you may miss the opportunity to gain exposure. For maximum results, you must figure out the best advertising techniques for your particular industry.

The Small Business Administration reports that there are around 30.7 million small businesses in the United States. The median income for small business owners was only $51,419 per year. Not only are you competing against numerous other companies for consumer attention, but marketing mistakes can also jolt your livelihood in significant ways.

Fortunately, some approaches work better for small firms. If you're looking for a good return on investment, try one of these methods.

  1. Print Flyers

  2. Flyers are inexpensive to create, print and hang anywhere you can think of. The advertising model has been around for decades. It's one of the first types of marketing you should turn to when you're trying to get the word out about your brand on a local level.
    Hang flyers in the local laundromat, post office, and library. Place a flyer in the newspaper boxes of those you think would be most interested in what you offer.

    Assuming you design the flyer yourself or at least inexpensively, the main cost lies in having the posters printed. Although costs vary, some of the more popular options run about $160 for 500 single-sided flyers. You could also print the flyers on your home printer, which will reduce expenses by about three-fourths.

  3. Embrace Voice Search

  4. Voice search is rising in popularity as more people install smart speakers in their homes. According to the Smart Audio Report, about 24% of the U.S. adult population owns a smart speaker. The study was conducted between December 31, 2019, and January 5, 2020, and gathered data from a couple of different sources. Smart speaker ownership is expected to grow in the next few years.

    You can utilize people's searches to offer them advertising. One example would be when a person asks what the best coffee maker on the market is, and you pay for an ad that gives them a discount on ordering your coffee maker. Companies such as Domino's tap into this medium by paying for advertising that suggests the person might want to order from Dominos.

    How does it work? Mary had a long day at work, and she doesn't feel like cooking. She enters her house and says, "Alexa, order me a pepperoni pizza." Alexa responds, asking if she'd like to order from Domino's. The company spent time developing their compatibility with voice commands, so the system can order the pizza and have it delivered without much additional input from Mary.

  5. Focus on Your Target Audience

  6. If you're like a lot of small businesses, you may serve a specific area near where you live. Geospatial data helps you reach the right customers in the correct location. Information on neighborhoods allows you to analyze people in the area and advertise only to those who are most likely to purchase from you.

    Companies use geo-mapping for locating customers most likely to require their services. For example, a small HVAC company might figure out neighborhoods where the houses are 10 to 20 years old and most likely in need of service or unit replacement. They can then use that information to send out advertising to those specific households. The ads may have a much higher response rate than if they sent out random postcards to everyone in town.

  7. Trade for Advertising

  8. If you're on a tight budget, but you'd like to advertise on television or radio, what can you do? One idea is to trade your commodity for advertising. Small media agencies may be willing to work with you and exchange some or all of the cost of the ads.

    TechDay offers a case study of a small theater production opening at the same time as other shows. They know the first few weeks mean unsold seats, but they want to get the word out and grow ticket sales during that time. One thing they can do is offer seats in exchange for media exposure. They gain additional word of mouth and potentially reviews by giving away seats that would have sat empty anyway.

  9. Online Advertising

  10. Even local businesses benefit from highly targeted possibilities with sites such as Facebook. Google reports that about 76% of those who search for a "near me" on their phone visit the business within 24 hours. About 28% of the searchers end up making a purchase. Not only should you ensure your site pulls up in search results, but you can also reach people for additional impressions by placing ads on social media sites.
    For example, if you run a local dentist's office, you might create an ad that targets people in your area who have recently searched for "dentists near me." You can further narrow the target group down by age, gender or even other behaviors and factors. The more specific your parameters, the better your ROI.

No One-Size Solution

When it comes to small business advertising, there isn't one solution that works for everyone. The best advertising method for small business is the one that works for the brand. Try different techniques, test your results and repeat the ones that work for you.