Small business marketing lessons from advertising experts

shutterstock_126023267If you run a small business – or are thinking of starting a company from scratch – you might be wondering how to stand out in a sea of noise. The world is certainly cluttered with marketing messages, but with a few clever moves you can make your company unique and reach the audience you’re trying to target, so check out these marketing lessons from advertising experts:

Don’t rule out print
With computers, tablets, smartphones and other gadgets dominating the business world, you’d be forgiven for thinking print marketing is an outdated advertising medium. This, in fact, couldn’t be further from the truth as while many people use the internet to get their marketing messages across, brochures, leaflets, business cards, banners and such like from sites such as Helloprint can go a long way to promoting your organisation – so don’t rule them out.

According to Judy Davis, proposition development manager at The Chartered Institute of Marketing, companies should explore many different marketing avenues to help their business develop and grow. She explained that print is just as worthwhile as social media advertising, stating: “It’s not a question of either/or. Every media touchpoint plays a role.” So, this is something small businesses should certainly bear in mind.

Similarly, digital expert Chris Blake said: “Print still matters, especially at a local level,” adding that newspapers/magazines and other marketing literature are all vital sources of information for regional audiences.

Find opportunities locally

These days, many companies strive for an online presence believing the road to success is creating a mind-blowing internet campaign. While there’s certainly a place for online marketing, it’s not the only option available to small businesses as James Chartrand (founder of renowned web design and copywriting company, Men With Pens) explains:

“I’ve always found that the noisiest place is the online world – competition is high, everyone’s publishing tons of content and linking away on social media… it’s a busy place, and it can definitely feel tough to be heard.”

“Interestingly, the opposite is true of the ‘offline’ world. Businesses abound everywhere around the world, but very few are making any noise at all to get noticed. It’s almost as if brick-and-mortar locations don’t realize how quiet it is when you take away the internet, and making even a little bit of noise can have a big impact.”

“So instead of trying to compete against the noise online, why not turn to the quieter opportunities found locally in your town or city? Visit some businesses personally; tell them what you do and what you can offer them. Create brochures to hand out. Ask people questions. Get face-to-face attention and show people that you’re there for them, in every way.”

Think about your brand

Do you have a strong brand identity? If not, expert advertisers recommend going back to the drawing board and coming up with something original and unique – something that reflects the true essence of your company and that will be instantly recognisable.

Konrad Sanders, an SEO and sales-savvy copywriter, says: “My advice to small business owners is to sit down and think long and hard about your brand.

Too many small business owners only focus on their offering – e.g. how to make their product or service better/cheaper/more inclusive than the competition.

But they fail to create a powerful, distinct brand. Most of them don’t even properly consider branding – and this is why they get washed up in a sea of look-a-like competitors.

Branding is about how you make people feel, emotionally, whenever they engage with your company – whether it’s on social media, your website, a brochure, a meeting or anywhere else. You must first define your brand values and USP – what does your company stand for? How do you want people to feel when they encounter it? What really makes you different?

If you can’t answer these questions – then you’re probably in the wrong business. Sorry mate.”

There’s much to be learnt from people in the advertising/marketing industry, so do your research and understand what it takes to make your company bigger, better and different.

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