You find a lot of information available for successful ways to market your small business, but most people don’t ever mention what their marketing mistakes or failures were. I believe that this can be equally valuable information so you can make a more educated and informed decision on what will work for your business.
First off to say things have changed in the ways small business owners can use to market their business’s would be an understatement. The amount of marketing opportunity’s available to business owners today can be overwhelming. Things like Facebook and google ad words these days can offer business owners highly targeted and focused marketing, offering overall better value for the money than traditional old school marketing. So it will come as no surprise that my two least favourite forms of advertising based on my own experiences are yellow pages ads and newspaper classified advertising.
Now I will admit that I have not recently used yellow page advertising for my current business, but I did use it in the past and it was very expensive, even with a small little black and white display ad. Also because of the nature of printed phone books, it came with a minimum 12 month commitment. I don’t find traditional phone book advertising relevant at all anymore. In fact a lot of paper phone books are being discontinued. You may still find that you can pay for ads on the online version of the phone books, but I do not recommend this option, as there are plenty of much more effective and free places to list your company online. For example google places and yelp are both free and very effective.
The other traditional form of advertising that I have tried recently in the last few years for my business, that I found ineffective, is display advertising in the classified section of your local newspaper. This can also prove to be quite expensive. In fact I believe I paid around $300 per month for 3 months, and it only resulted in one lead from a person who was just price shopping.
Now compare this to the fact that just having a website for my business on the internet, enables me to be organically picked up by google for free, resulting in on average between 3-5 calls per week. My best advice would be to focus on a quality website and high quality printed materials such as post cards to supplement.
So what have you found is the most effective form of advertising for your business?