One common misunderstanding is that marketing and advertising are the same thing. Marketing is the strategy you employ to bring your product, service or cause to your market’s attention and then convert prospects into customers.
Advertising is one method you can employ as part of your marketing strategy. All an advert does is say: “Here’s a thing and here’s what to do next if you’re interested in it”.
Another misconception is advertising cannot be an in-person approach. Clearly a great deal of advertising is impersonal, eg hoardings, television, most online advertising despite its alleged targeting. But advertising can be a step towards a personal business arrangement: “I saw your advert in the window, can you tell me more, please?”
In this post I am not going to write about advertising copy. This is an enormous topic and I have covered it in various ways in several posts.
Also, I’m not going to write about how to purchase advertising. I have mentioned this in a few posts as an option in certain circumstances. The question is do you really need this and if so how can you find expert support?
Local Advertising Opportunities
It is worth asking what advertising opportunities you have in the local marketplace:
- If you have premises, a good external sign is essential. You need to display your business name, possibly a logo and/or by-line and essential contact information.
- Shop windows are opportunities to advertise what you sell, through a window display. I suspect many of the principles of website design apply equally; show them what you sell and tell them how to get it.
- Printed materials such as business cards, flyers and posters. These can be used in different ways and can be most effective if you can encourage others to distribute them. The others might be family members and supporters, customers, other businesses especially where they have a complementary offer. Businesses may expect you distribute their promotional materials in return.
Collaboration is Important
Let’s pause here and consider the value of helping each other out. This is really a species of referral marketing. If you display a poster from another business, you endorse that business. This is how local business communities can develop, each supporting the work of others.
More Advertising Opportunities
- Local newspapers and magazines can be effective. Many are free and paid for through adverts. If they go through every letter box in a neighbourhood, they may be effective sources of publicity. Usually they include articles of local interest and if you can offer to write for the magazine, you may find another opportunity to get your name known. Remember though, they are unlikely to accept articles that actively promote your business.
- Stalls at local events, fairs and markets.
- Gifts and other items that can carry your business details, eg paper bags.
- Vehicles can be effective means to advertise. Cars with well-designed external advertising can have greater impact than vans or lorries. Perhaps they attract attention because they are less common.
- Buses carry both external and internal advertising. Internal advertising may be effective on routes that pass your business premises or bring people into your area.
- A-boards, sandwich boards and the like can be a nuisance. However, if they are well-positioned they can make your business premises visible to people walking alongside them. I am very inclined to read chalk boards – I suppose they imply someone has made an effort and are likely to feature up-to-date offers.
What advertising do you find effective reaching local customers?
This is the final post for now in this sequence about in-person marketing. I shall add more as new possibilities come to my attention. My next post will announce what’s coming next!