Big corporations spend billions of dollars on advertising plans each year. But as a small business owner, you simply don’t have those resources to work with. More importantly, you can’t afford to invest in an idea that won’t yield positive results.
The good news? You don’t have to worry about that issue any longer!
In this article, we’ll tell you how to create advertising plans for small businesses that are almost guaranteed to be successful. We’ll tell you what mistakes to look out for, as well as how you can sustain your success long-term.
Start by Setting Some Goals
If you’re new to advertising, figuring out how to get started can be quite difficult. The entire process can be overwhelming for newcomers, which can often lead to you not starting your marketing efforts at all, which of course isn’t a good thing.
So, where is a good place to begin with advertising strategy? Well, we recommend that you start by writing down some short-term and long-term goals that you hope to achieve.
This will not only help you clearly define what it is you want from advertising but will also help you pick a direction to go in. It’ll also give you something you can show a professional, should you decide to invest in any help with your marketing needs.
What are some good short-term and long-term goals? Well, for short-term goals, pick something simple, like posting on a social media site every day for a month. A long-term goal could be doubling the size of your customer base in a year or two, it just depends on you and what you think defines success.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Once you’ve got your goals in place, it’s time to start figuring out how much money you can afford to spend on advertising. We’ll be honest, you don’t need to break the bank to get the results that you’re looking for. You do, however, need to be prepared to spend some money, as well as a great deal of your own time, on advertising.
If you decide that the help of a marketing expert is needed, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve budgeted for that. Think you do the job yourself using affordable-yet-effective marketing strategies? That’s fine, as long as you can make sure that you have the time in your schedule needed to do so the right way.
As you go along, you need to find creative hacks that you can use to maximize your budget. Things like picking efficient advertising strategies (more on that later), or liming yourself to a few basic ideas, are the best ways to do this.
Know Your Target Audience
Want to create a stronger connection with your customers and clients? Trying to find ways to humanize your brand and create a unique voice that people love? To do both of these things, you first need to know your target audience and what they expect out of you marketing-wise.
Having a firm grasp on your target audience, and what they like, will help you make all marketing-related decisions going forward.
The first step to knowing your target audience is knowing where they spend the majority of their time. For example, if you do research, and you determine that your target audience is active on the social media website Twitter, investing resources into Twitter is more than a good idea.
You also need to have a strong idea of what type of content they like, as no two target audiences are the same. Again, this will help you make the tough decisions later on, like what kind of content to create. That’s why you need to find the answers to these questions early on in the process.
Scout the Competition for Ideas
Not sure where your target audience is located at? Don’t know what kind of content they’ll find the most enjoyable? Don’t worry, you can get the answers to all of these questions, plus more useful information, by scouting your competition for good ideas.
A pro tip? Write down the name of your 3 biggest competitors and do some Googling. Under each name, jot down how many social media followers they have on each platform, if they have a blog, as well as if they run TV or radio advertisements.
Odds are you’ll notice a trend involving all three competitors. They’ll most likely have the most followers on the same social media platforms. And if they advertise in any other way, they probably all use the same concepts and ideas to do so.
You can take these core principles, tweak them, and make them your own. That way you can figure out what and where you need to invest your resources, allowing you to find success faster.
It goes without saying, but when you’re scouting your competition for ideas, be sure to avoid stealing ideas outright. Not only will your competitors notice this, but so will your target audience, which isn’t what you want.
Focus on Two or Three Ideas
After you’ve set your goals, and scouted your competition for ideas, you should have all the information you need to start creating a solid advertising plan. While your biggest questions should be answered by now, it’s important to note that there are still a few major mistakes that you need to be sure to avoid.
For example, it’s easy to get too excited and try to invest in a ton of fun ideas. This usually leads to you spreading your resources (and yourself) too thin, which means positive results are unlikely.
Our advice? Stick to two or three marketing strategies and let the rest of your ideas go. This will allow you to put all that you have into each of those ideas, maximizing your chance for success.
Because you’re only picking two or three ideas to pursue, make sure that they’re strong. If you’ve done your research properly, you should have a ton of confidence in your choices. So, if you still have doubts, go back to the drawing board and start over.
Invest in Efficient Marketing Strategies
Working with a small advertising budget? Worried about wasting valuable resources on ideas that won’t help you reach your goals? Start out by invest in affordable-but-efficient strategies that offer a low risk but a high reward.
We’ve touched on this already, but social media marketing is something that can be done in-house and on a small budget. So, if your target audience is active on a site like Facebook, you can use their ads system, and behavioral targeting, to advertise to those users directly.
Email marketing and blogging are two more digital advertising strategies that are worth considering. Both require a great deal of effort on your part, but when done correctly, can yield big-budget results.
If you’re looking for affordable, traditional marketing strategies, look into getting some fliers made for your brand or business. Fliers, along with magnets and stickers, are affordable to make and can help you get your name out there in a hurry.
Track Your Analytics Closely
Almost every digital marketing strategy comes equipped with an analytics feature that you can use to track your results. You need to pay close attention to those numbers, as they’ll tell you what kind of content works best and what doesn’t.
This information is crucial when crafting future content plans. It will also help you keep up with progress, helping you determine if you’re close to reaching your goals or not.
For traditional marketing strategies, like fliers and radio advertisements, you may have to work harder to track these numbers. The best way to do this? Ask your new customers how they found your company. Keep track of their answers, and you can check back over time and see what strategies gave you the best results.
Make Necessary Changes Overtime
Once you start advertising your brand or business, it won’t take long for your numbers to start talking to you. Remember, those numbers are your customers and clients, and their feedback, which is why you need to pay attention to them closely.
Odds are your numbers are going to tell you to make some changes. Make those changes, and be receptive to change, that way you can maximize your advertising efforts.
Still Need Help Creating Advertising Plans?
When it comes to creating advertising plans, the process isn’t as complicated as it may seem on paper. As long as you do your research, and you know what to look out for, you should be able to create a strategy yourself that works for you and your brand or business.
Looking for more advertising tips and tricks? Check back with our blog often, as we’re always posting new and useful information for marketers.