With so many different advertising methods at your disposal, it’s hard to decide where to start or where to concentrate your efforts. Below you’ll find the advantages and disadvantages of several different channels in which you could get your business’s name out there.
1. Invest in a Website
In this digital day and age, it’s imperative for your business to have some kind of a digital presence. Invest in a website for your business and beat out the other 55% of small business owners that haven't yet claimed a digital footprint. By using companies, such as SquareSpace or WordPress, you can register your domain name and start setting up your very own website, in no time.
Pros: With an online presence, you can capture a wider range of potential customers. Even the most basic website can give your business a leg-up against your competitors. Don’t forget, 97% of consumers research a business online before even stepping a foot outside. By having a website, your business appears more credible and trustworthy to consumers, increasing the chance they will give your business a chance.
Cons: Building a good website takes time, patience, and know-how. Along with perfecting the design of your site, you’ll also need to spend some time on the content of your website. You want to make sure that you’re providing accurate, concise, and valuable information to your audience.
2. Social Media
There are many different ways to leverage social media when it comes to advertising your business. You can start simply by creating social media business pages on the various platforms available, the most popular being Facebook.
Pros: Once you start posting using social media, most notably, Facebook, you open your business up to the 71% of adults online. When using platforms like Facebook and Twitter, there are options to use their advertising functions, which allow for you to sponsor specific posts and increase your visibility amongst users for each of those platforms. Leveraging Facebook and Twitter ads gives you the chance to engage with potential customers and eventually gain greater followership.
Cons: When setting up your Facebook ads, you must provide an advertising budget, one that measures and has you pay for each impression and click. While having visibility is important, you’ll want to make sure that you’re gaining more from your Facebook ads than you are paying.
3. Online Directories
These days, it’s rare to find someone pouring over the pages of a giant Yellow Pages directory. Today, it’s all about the online search directories. By adding your business’s listing on the several available online directories, you’re increasing your visibility and opening yourself up to a wider market. There are many free online directories at your disposal including: Google, Yelp, Bing, and Yahoo.
Pros: Many of these online directories allow for your customers to post reviews on your dedicated listing page. With a loyal following, you’ll be able to showcase how your products and services stack up against the competition.
Cons: Every once in a while, you’ll encounter an unhappy customer who will make his or her grievances be heard. Just remember to be vigilant of when this happens and to have a plan in place for managing your online reputation.
4. Daily Deals
Groupon and Living Social are just two examples of the many companies offering “Daily Deals” to an enormous database of potential customers. Through these group-buying sites, you can offer discounts and specials and start attracting new customers to your business.
Pros: With every “daily deal” email that goes though, these companies give you access to free advertising, their large audience, and additional revenue. Usually gun-shy customers are incentivized to visit your business and take advantage of the discount or promotion you’re offering.
Cons: Be wary of the type of customers that step through the door when it comes to these daily deals. They’re usually one-time use customers and don’t bring as much long-term value to your business. You should also consider the cost of using these sites, in which they can take up to 50% of the revenue per coupon or voucher, making it difficult to turn over a profit.
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