New and Trending in Small Business Advertising

If you're like most small business owners, advertising is just a piece of your marketing strategy, and rightfully so — it takes a combination of tactics to promote your business and brand successfully.

Deciding how and where to advertise your business can be tricky, with so many types and budget options to consider. Keeping up with the latest trends in advertising and what other successful businesses are doing can be helpful as you plan your strategy. 

Here's a glance at what's new and a little refresher on a few advertising basics.


Traditional Advertising

This includes TV, radio, and print advertising, including local media and mailers. Yes, these options are still around and are viable for businesses of all sizes, particularly if your target audience is local.

After all, people continue to watch TV ads and read print advertising, according to marketing data. In a report by MarketingSherpa, more than half of the consumers surveyed said they often or always watch traditional TV ads and read printed ads they receive in the mail from companies they are satisfied with.

Marketing specialists say advertising locally can be a cost-effective way to promote a brand and build a loyal customer base. 

"Adding traditional, local media to a small business' marketing mix can be an effective way to reach target audiences within a specific geographical area," writes Erica Sweeney in a Business Insider article.


Paid Search Advertising

PPC or pay-per-click advertising allows businesses to use keywords for a chance to show their ads in search engine results, providing an opportunity to get your brand before more consumers "search" for your type of business, product, or service.

The biggest PPC platform is reportedly Google, which leads the worldwide digital ad revenue at 28 percent, according to Statistica. Facebook comes next with an 18 percent share, and Amazon in third with 7 percent.

PPC ads, which include search, display, and social media campaigns, can increase your brand's overall reach by exposing your business to a larger, more diverse audience.

"Functionally, what happens is that you pay for the ad only when users click on it, incentivizing search engines to show it to the most relevant audiences," explains Kati Terzinski in a post for Nashville-based digital marketing agency Pyxl.

When considering PPC ads, you'll likely also come across the term CPC, or cost per click. It's used in PPC ad campaigns to measure the overall cost of each advertisement click.

"Essentially, PPC and CPC are two sides of the same coin," writes Terzinski. "PPC marketing is a specific marketing channel or approach, while CPC marketing is a performance metric."


Social Media Ads

According to digital marketing and small business specialists, advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn can be a great fit for smaller budgets.

The biggest draw is the ability for businesses to target specific demographics to pinpoint audiences. Meta said it has automated some of the more daunting aspects of running ads on Facebook, including targeting new customers and retargeting past ones.

Nerdwallet writer Elizabeth Kellogg calls Facebook a powerhouse when it comes to targeted advertising. 

"If you have a specific audience in mind, you can hone your Facebook ads with extreme precision — based on a narrow set of unique interests or on recent behaviors like whether they're currently planning a vacation," says the NerdWallet article.

"Even when people don't make an immediate purchase, they may end up liking and sharing your business. This helps in building a database of potential customers."


Sponsored Content

With sponsored content, you're paying an influencer to post content that speaks positively about your business, products, or services.

This form of advertising is so common Instagram created a Branded Content Tool, which puts a line below the influencer's name and "Paid partnership with [insert your brand]."

Some small businesses can find micro-influencers in their industry to promote their brand.

"These people have smaller followings, but are still influential in certain areas," Kellogg writes in the Nerdwallet article.

"Micro-influencers might post about your company in exchange for free products or for a much lower price than celebrity influencers," writes Kellogg in the NerdWallet article.


Principles of Advertising

Whatever ad channel or type you choose, don't lose sight of some of the key principles of advertising, such as creating ads that are eye-catching and relevant.

Marketing experts remind businesses to consider key advertising principles when creating ads and campaigns. Four of these principles are referred to within the acronym AIDA: attention, interest, desire, and action.

While advanced technology has led to more avenues for advertising, the marketing basics still apply, explains Allen Adamson, adjunct professor at New York University's Stern School of Business in a Business News Daily post.

"The basic principles of how you market and build a brand haven't changed — despite what everyone says — in the past 10 or 15 years," he said in the article by Bennett Conlin. "What technology has done overall is magnified what was always true."


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