For smaller, growing, businesses, visibility in the market is extremely important. Which explains the need for marketing and advertising. However both these areas are considered to be high cost affairs and better suited for large organizations.
But a smart entreprenreur, running a small or medium sized business, must explore cost effect means for advertising. One fact is certain, that advertising is like car insurance - even if you can’t afford it, you cannot afford to ignore it. As someone wisely said, “when business is good it pays to advertise, when business is bad you’ve got to advertise.”
Having said this, an entrepreneur from the SME space needs a clear understanding of how to go about advertising his business or product. For cost effective advertising and marketing, take to, ‘Paid Publicity’:
Some people call publicity "free," but it is something you must earn by doing something creative, innovative or newsworthy. Often, publicity is better than paid advertising because it is noticed by more people and is not considered "a hype."
Smaller businesses have to consider the importance of media planning for their business. They have to stay connected with them. One of the best ways to stay connected with media is sending out press releases. But when do you involve the media?
Whenever a new product or service is launched.
Whenever a senior executive joins the top management of the company.
On the business anniversary, especially of significant years like "completion of 10 years" or the company’s "silver jubilee," etc.
When you win a big customer.
Your business has a VIP visitor; be it a public figure or someone big in your line of work.
When you decide to sponsor / or are involved in an important event
Hosting an event with target customers
SMEs should talk to news reporters and get articles published in the local paper.
Write about how on could advertise a product or service related to your business.
If you have expertise in a non-core area that is of interest to the public you may even write about it. You may be an auto mechanic who is a fantastic cook. You could write about your culinary skills.
SMEs should participate publicly in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Participate actively in the public forums that are focused on the industry vertical that you operate in.
Highlight your customer’s case studies on your Website.
Word-of-mouth is still one of the best methods of advertising for your business.
Don’t forget business cards for your employees. There are many good printers who can print great business cards, at good rates, and within a few hours.
Take to the Online route for marketing and promotions. Active participation on social media platforms is a must these days.
Send electronic direct mailers (EDMs) through emails targeting your customers and the community.
But the one key mantra to be remembered is that the best form of advertising is an honest, reliable, dependable business that makes a customer feel important and that keeps customers happy.