Pottstown SCORE Volunteers Advise On Buying Ads

POTTSTOWN PA – Success in small business comes from knowing how to effectively make the most out of every dollar you spend, members of the Pottstown chapter of SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, say.

That’s especially true when it comes to advertising. Big, splashy display print, TV, or Internet ads look great, but buying can easily wipe out an entrepreneur’s budget without generating much new business.

Fortunately, business owners can take advantage of a variety of low-cost outlets that may prove just as effective, if not more so, than high-priced counterparts.

Advertising acumen is something that most small business owners lack.  Marketing consultant Andrew Griffiths likens it to learning a foreign language. “Advertising works,” though, he adds, ” and the more time and energy put into advertising, the greater results will be.”

Time, energy and creative thinking are key. Business owners can find low-cost options in almost every advertising category. While display ads in magazines and newspapers cost a bundle, advertising in the classified section costs less and is often overlooked. Readers flock to classifieds in many trade and specialty magazines. Look for publications that target specific customers of interest, then try a few test ads to gauge response.

Advertising online through search engines is inexpensive and has become the single most popular new advertising outlet for small business. Complete details and guidelines on creating and managing pay-per-click ad campaigns can be found at search giants like Google and Yahoo!

A low-cost direct mail option is postcards. They are simple, timely and easy for customers to read quickly at a glance. They also are considerably less expensive than typical letter-and-envelope mailings.

Once an advertising medium is chosen, consider what ads will say. Entrepreneurs who choose several ad methods must ensure they complement each other and send a consistent message. Messages should be simple, yet distinct to stand out from others. Find a balance between cleverness, which may confuse your customers, and being so basic that nobody pays attention.  The same principle applies to an ad’s layout, colors, and logo.

To learn more about small business advertising, call the Pottstown SCORE chapter at 610-327-2673. SCORE is a non-profit organization of local, volunteer counselors who provide free, confidential suggestions and training workshops to small business owners.

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