For those who in small or medium sized companies, there always a question about how best to use tight marketing dollars and limited internal resources.
There are so many ways to market to customers. The challenge is to use strategies and tactics that don’t just generate looks at the Website but actually convert to sales. No matter what the approach is, nothing is forever. If something is not working then move on and try something else. Even SEO strategies should be varied.
Many small businesses will use outside consultants or freelancers to help. There is plenty of talent out there with specific expertise. Whatever the intent and budget, we suggest to always start with a set of objectives and a marketing plan. Revise it regularly and measure results.
Recently, we are often asked if there are advertising agencies for small companies. Yes, there are some. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for general agencies to make it with small business customers.
The best approach might is to use the resources that are readily available and can be done in a modest but scalable way. Here are some approaches we like and suggest to our clients.
1. Pay-per-click (PPC) search advertising is a great way to get start. You can do that self-serve through Google.
2. For print and digital media, reach out to some trade publications that might give the right targets, and see what the rates would be. Some might also want to try local newspapers if they're tied to a specific geography. These publications may have package print and digital deals.
3. Whatever the approach is, plan to advertise consistently for several months. Do not just do a one-off and think that will do the trick. Media will be a larger cost than the ads themselves, so start there to get a sense of how much it would cost to really advertise effectively.
4. On the ad creative, work with a designer to get some brand ads developed. No need for an agency per se, but if there is an affordable one, that might be a good place to start. You might actually do well with posting a Craig's list ad for free-lance design work. You would be amazed at the quality of the freelance talent out there.