Do you have a small advertising budget? Do you need some ideas on how to stretch that budget that give you the most for your money? Many small businesses have the problem of not having a large budget for advertising but still have the need to market their products and services. Where are you investing your advertising dollars?

Marketing lays the foundation for future success and it encompasses many aspects, one of which is advertising. There are several different advertising scenarios. What do you want to accomplish with your advertising efforts? Typically you are going to advertise for awareness (later sales), action (immediate sales), or visibility (making your company easy to find online).

When you advertise for awareness, you have to put your
company’s name in places where your potential customers can see it.
The goal is to make your name recognizable and synonymous with your type of business.

When you advertise for awareness, you have to put your company’s name in places where your potential customers can see it. The goal is to make your name recognizable and synonymous with your type of business. This type of marketing puts potential customers in your funnel to begin the process of becoming customers. It generally brings “later” customers, customers that will call you when they have a need for your products or services.

Advertising for immediate action is a little more difficult because it requires proper timing. If you want to sell air conditioning systems you can try to sell them in the winter, but you will have much more success if you advertise them when people start thinking about upgrading their old systems, usually in the spring. When you advertise for immediate action, you develop advertising materials that catch a buyer’s attention and you need to develop a strong call to action that tells people what to do.

The first two methods typically use a mass-market approach, meaning, you may try drive time radio, local broadcast TV, cable TV, or newspapers. The problem is these methods take a lot of money to be effective. Yes, you can pay for a small ad campaign using any of those methods, but the key is frequency and reach. You can get the reach easy enough (the number of eyes or ears that see or hear your ad), but normally with budget plans frequency (the number of times the ad runs in a given period) usually isn’t enough to get the job done.

Advertising for visibility is one of the most effective types of advertising you can do, mainly because it you can do it yourself. The purpose here is to make your company’s website visible to the search engines so that when somebody looks for your type of business you pop up in the online searches. Take advantage of free directory listing services such as manta.com and search engine, listing services such as attracta.com.

Recently a reader contacted me and explained that he had a small marketing budget and asked if he should continue to invest it in the Yellow Pages both print and online or invest his marketing dollars elsewhere. The thing to understand about Yellow Pages is readership had been dropping dramatically for the last ten or more years. Younger people usually recycle the books as soon as they get them. Do you think it’s wise to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars a month in a publication that very few people ready anymore?

As I always say, you have to know your customer in order to know how to reach them. If you are trying to reach an older demographic, more traditional methods may be effective such as yellow pages; however, nobody goes shopping in the Yellow Pages, if they use them, it’s only to find a phone number. If you are trying to reach a younger demographic, you might want to concentrate your efforts on digital marketing or mobile marketing.

Yellow Pages offer a free online listing service and then charges to enhance the listing or to make it available to a wider audience. In most cases, spending your money to enhance the listing isn’t worth doing. Use the free listing and invest the money in some other type of marketing or advertising method.

Next time we will talk about some cost effective direct mail marketing ideas.

My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is the author of Navigating the Marketing Maze, he is a speaker, a marketing coach, and president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers more effectively market their businesses without breaking their budgets. Contact him at 260-338-4554, andy@fracicaenterprises.com or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.