How to Create An Advertising Plan

Originally published at MyGenFCU

In the fast, ever-growing digital age, today’s small business owner has plenty of advertising options to level the playing field with big competitors and stand out in the crowd. A lot of businesses get caught up in the “if I build it, they will come” mentality.  You can utilize both online and offline  to let people know who you are and what you do. Before diving into the tactics, take a step back. Most small businesses are in a growth mode and want to build awareness of not only who they are, but what they do. Ask yourself these questions….

Definition
1. Goals – what are my business goals in the next year?
2. Target – who am I trying to reach?

  • Does my product have a specific niche?
  • Do I sell to specific buyers?

3. Behavior – What does my target like? How do they behave online? Are there patterns I can identify in their buying habits?
4. Geography – is my product specific to a geographical region?

Regardless of whether your company is a business-to-consumer or business-to-business you will want to start answering these questions. The more focused your advertising is, the better results you’ll get.

Ways to get started
Social Media – Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest are very powerful and will allow you to compete alongside big players. Use social media to connect with your target, build relationships and get in front of influencers. Don’t sell, it will come.

Google AdWords – What I like about Adwords, is anyone can play in this field regardless of budget. Simple, short messages with carefully selected keywords can get your business in front of people that you want to reach. Google has created a comprehensive toolbox for the business owner to get started.

Events/Networking – I recently attended a business event and was impressed by a business owner that approached me directly, introduced himself and explained his business while showing me examples on his smart phone. Never underestimate the power of meeting people face-to-face and telling them who you are.

In my next blog post, I’ll dive deeper into how you can leverage social media and find ways to build an online network that acts like a 24-7 billboard.