Small Business Advertising Strategies

Small business owners need to carefully plan advertising campaigns because they are typically working with a smaller budget than their corporate counter parts. Crafting an appropriate advertising strategy for a small business is difficult, but necessary.


Unfortunately, most small business owners are busy and often get caught up in the daily marketing responsibilities like website design, emailing, social media updates, when they should be focusing on decisions that can improve the performances of their campaigns.

Thoughtful businessman work on notebook while sitting at wooden
Your marketing strategy is supposed to assist in generating interest for your products or services, help with closing new leads and encourage customer engagement. The right marketing strategy guides your company’s culture and controls how the public views your services.

There are many things to consider when crafting a successful strategy, and that is why you must budget for advertising, not simply invest whatever money is left at the end of each month. When you invest your money in the right channels (which varies from company to company), you can get the results you want, or at the very least, improve the results you have based upon data you have gathered along the campaign.

Your first step is to spend consistently. This means the same amount of money each month. You’ll be able to measure overall efficacy of each campaign better too.

Below we have listed several great advertising strategies small businesses should utilize.

1. Focus on your audience.

Before you sell a product or service you need to identify if anyone will actually pay for what you’re selling. Too many small businesses fail to run targeted advertising campaigns, despite the fact that targeting is one of online advertising’s primary advantages.

You should be able to create an accurate customer profile with data you have gathered. Once you determine what your audience wants, you can begin to target similar demographics and age ranges to gather more leads.

For both online and offline (banners, decals, trade shows, etc) advertising make sure your content and imagery reflects the audience you wish to engage with.

This is key to cornering your market.

2. Measure the data.

Then there are small businesses who simply have no idea how effective their advertising is because they fail to measure the data. If this sounds familiar, then you must make changes.

Advertising platforms such as Google AdWords or Facebook provide you with comprehensive statistics related to your advertisements performance. With this information you can begin to determine what is working and what isn’t. Many industry professionals use these advertising platforms to gather a more complete understanding of exactly how their ads are performing within a variety of unique parameters.

3. Know when to advertise.

At first glance, advertising year-round and spreading out your budget equally month-to-month may appear to be a wise and commonsense approach.

But if you think back to your business launch, odds are you did a lot of things that can’t be scaled. There’s no way for you to sustain a similar marketing and advertising initiative throughout the entire year.

If you sell seasonal products, you should be advertising in your highest-performing seasons. You may even want to start a little bit early and hold some of your advertising until a little after.

Black Friday and Christmas tend to be high-performing seasons, depending on the type of business you’re running. It may be advantageous to set aside some extra ad money for these days and/or other holidays.

Finally, it can also be worthwhile to keep an eye on when your competitors launch their own big promotions. If you have an advertising budget set aside, you may be able to keep pace or even outmaneuver them.

4. Brand well.

Can your customers immediately identify your ads based on your copy, color choice, imagery, logo or typeface? If that question seems absurd, just look at what the major brands and companies are doing. Oftentimes, you can recognize their ads just from the colors they’re using.

Over time, your customers will come to identify with and respond to your ad layouts. The temptation may be to change your branding every time you create a new ad, but that could be confusing and ineffective over the long haul. Your goal should be to show up in expected places, with familiar-looking ads that consistently resonate with your target customers.

Bottom line: Brand well, and stick to your image. Build loyalty through resonance.

5. Use your resources well.

You know the importance of ranking well in search, but you may simply not have the resources and time to consistently create new, informative content for your website.

In an instance like that, your best bet is to take advantage of services like Google AdWords and Bing Ads, so you appear higher in SERP results without having to optimize posts for your chosen keywords. If you have the budget to advertise, but not the time to create content, this is a good use of resources.

If you only have a small budget to allocate to advertising, it may not make sense to take out an expensive magazine ad. A Facebook ad campaign would be much more practical, since you can control your daily spend.

Make an honest assessment of the resources available to you, and leverage them in a way that helps you grow your business.

6. Show up in the right places.

It’s dangerous to make too many assumptions about your target customer. For example, if there’s a certain radio show that you like, and you assume that your customers like it too, you may be misinformed about the wisdom of spending money on a radio ad there that could prove expensive and ineffective.

If your advertising dollars are going to the wrong place, you’re wasting your money. Instead, you need to get to know your customers. So, survey them. Get a sense of where they like to hang out online, what books and magazines they read, what podcast and radio shows they listen to and so on.

When your advertising is matched with the right understanding of your customers, you’ll begin to attract more worthwhile leads to your business.

Final thoughts

There are plenty of opportunities to monetize through advertising. The key is in knowing who your target customers are, where they like to hang out — and thus where to find more people like them — and allocating your resources to those specific channels.