The Most Effective Way For Small Business Owners to Spend Their Advertising Dollars

These days the single greatest challenge facing every small business owner is the economic recession. The simple fact is small businesses have been hit hardest by the recession. According to The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President produced by the U.S. Small Business Administration, “more than half of the 763,000 jobs lost in the first two quarters of 2008 were lost in small firms.”This has made finding ways to spend money more efficiently and effectively paramount for a small business to remain successful. While most people will continue to talk about the damaging effects the recession has had on their business, a savvy business owner will recognize the recession as an opportunity to grow their business.In the past 60 years America has been through nine recessions and recovered from every one. While it may sound strange to think of the recession as an opportunity, if the right investments are made you can easily increase your profits and outpace your competition.That’s because during a recession most small business owners cut back on spending and especially on advertising. Yet, numerous studies have shown that this is a mistake. In a joint study done by Oregon State University and Western Oregon University dated April 19, 2009 they found that:”Firms that are able to increase advertising during recessions are likely to have stronger future earnings.” The researchers studied data from five recessionary periods since 1971, sampling data from more than 3,000 firms listed on the public stock exchange.Another study done by MarketSense compared 101 household name brands that increased ad spending during the recessionary period 1989-1991. For those who cut spending on advertising, it took 2 years after the end of the recession to regain their original position. By that time, aggressive competitors had almost tripled their market share, while less than 30% of those who cut advertising ever regained their market share in the following expansion period.The question becomes how should a small business owner invest their advertising dollars? Many small business owners will turn to traditional forms of advertising such as: television, radio, newspaper or the Yellow Pages. The fact is however, that these forms of advertising are cost prohibitive and simply not as effective as they once were.Reaching an audience through traditional forms of media is harder today then ever before. According to Arbitron only 1 out 3 three Americans read a daily newspaper, Ohio-based BIGresearch found that just 1 in 20 people actually watch television commercials. Bill Gates stated: “The Yellow Pages are going to be used less and less… These things always take time, but Yellow Page usage among people, say, below 50, will drop to zero – near zero – over the next five years.” As for radio, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) advertisers must buy deep (multiple stations and formats) to accumulate audience reach of over 50%, offsetting the cost effectiveness of radio if the target is a large, broad group of consumers.Traditional forms of advertising are also cost prohibitive for a small business owner looking to reach the widest audience with a limited budget. Advertising in a regional or local newspaper for a 3 x 5¼ ad running twice per week for 52 weeks can cost as much as $792 a week. At those rates one year of advertising in the paper twice per week would cost $41,184.A twenty six week sponsorship of a local news program with a thirty second spot running once a week and four additional thirty second spots, one in each locally produced sporting event (high school and college) would cost $2,000 per month. Meaning a twenty six week sponsorship would cost $11,000.A 2½” x 6″ ad in the Yellow Pages for one year is $3,447.00. A half-page ad would cost $7,567.20 for the year. In the top 100 Radio Markets a 60 second drive time ad would cost $8.61 per 1,000 customers reached.The most effective way for a small business owner to reach a large consumer base on a limited budget is a “non-traditional” form of advertising known as a vehicle wrap. A vehicle wrap is the marketing practice of completely or partially covering a vehicle in an advertisement or livery, thus turning it into a mobile billboard.A vehicle wrap and fleet graphics is the most cost effective form of advertising that exists today. An average vehicle wrap is a one time fee of around $3,500. A wrap produced by a company with expertise and experience should last at least 5 years, that’s a cost of just $700 a year.Studies have shown that vehicle wraps have numerous advantages over traditional forms of advertising. In a survey done by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) 96% of survey respondents said vehicle wraps method of mobile advertising is more effective than advertising through traditional methods. 91% of the people surveyed by the American Trucking Association (ATA) reported that they do notice words and pictures on vehicles. Add to that the fact that a vehicle wrap works around the clock, 24-7 and there is no tuning out, changing the station, or turning the page.Vehicle wraps and Vehicle graphics also generate far more impressions for far less money then any other form of traditional advertising. According to the Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, a vehicle wrap generates anywhere between 30,000 and 70,000 impressions daily, that’s more then 11,000,000 impressions a year at a cost of just $0.77 per thousand impressions. The next closest form of advertising (billboard advertising) costs more then twice as much ($2.18) to generate the same amount of impressions.There are additional benefits to purchasing a vehicle wrap as well. A vehicle wrap is a powerful visual message that will reach audiences of all ages, gender, backgrounds, income, profession and families and it will reach them where they are, with 96% of Americans traveling in a vehicle each week as either a driver or passenger.Most small business owners are already commuting to work in their own vehicle while paying for ever increasing gas prices. Vehicle wraps and fleet graphics can easily offset this cost with the sales it generates. Studies have shown that the vehicle wrap has increased the sales of advertisement in the range of 107%.If small business owners are looking for a smart investment in these tough economic times a vehicle wrap provides the perfect solution.

Do People Like Advertising?

Firstly, is the question “Do people like advertising?” the primary concern that business owners should have when creating their campaigns? Well let’s go back to the primary purpose of creating an advertising campaign in the first place. Do you advertise for people to like your advertising or do you advertise to get more customers and sales? These 2 things are 2 very different outcomes and will dictate the style of advertising that you choose. If you want people to like your advertising, here is the question you should ask yourself: What will they do as a result of liking my advertising?If they like your advertising because it’s funny and entertaining: They will laugh and they might even talk about your advertising at parties. If that is the case your advertising is producing the outcome of making your company look or sound cool, and you are getting positive brand awareness as a result. Will people buy from you because of this? Maybe but there is no guarantee.If people like your advertising because the graphics and colors are classy. Again you will get positive brand reinforcement and people who are sensitive to aesthetics. If the style you have chosen is an honest representation of your true values, then the perception of your company will be the right one. But again this is not necessarily getting you sales. I have seen many beautiful ads for Audi SUV and I am not driving one. Your prospects may find your advertising very pleasing for the eye but they may be loyal to another brand because of its pricing. This kind of choice is more likely to be rife in a tight economy.The psychology of liking advertising…or not, is changing. On average a human being is exposed to about 1500 advertising messages every single day, so are we getting over it? if you believe what people do to avoid advertising, muting the TV or radio during the ad breaks, skipping the ad sections in the newspapers etc.. there is no doubt that people like advertising less and less. This is why “permission marketing” is now a rule on the internet. This is also why business owners are increasingly turning to relationship marketing like social media, where advertising is no longer static but by enlarge based on “the conversation”, what’s new and exciting.Pretty advertising versus PR and advertorials. For those who have read a few of my articles on advertising you will be aware that I tend to favor telling your story in a newsworthy way, and letting your people know exactly how they would benefit from doing business with you, and why they should contact you now. In a lot of cases this alone will create an instant response that you couldn’t dream of creating with an expensive graphic designed advertisement.What to choose? Advertising that people like, or direct response advertising? Frankly it depends on your budget. Big companies still do both, on one hand they will produce TV ads where picture quality or innovative humor will be the main draw card and on the other hand they will look closely at direct response, conversation based marketing through facebook, twitter, YouTube and the likes. We are living in the era of automation but it seems like the backlash is an increased desire for a true “one on one” relationship between providers and their clients.Many companies are making ongoing success without doing any traditional advertising and without ever wondering whether or not people like advertising. Does “advertising that people like” still suit your budget and your style of product? If your marketing strategy includes testing and measuring the results, you will soon know, but you may save yourself a lot of money by observing and studying current trends and going for the one most likely to grow your business at the lowest cost.

How Can CPC Advertising Help Your Business?

Cost Per Click (CPC) advertising is one type of online advertising available today. With the growing popularity of the Internet, Cost Per Click advertising is a great way for you to put your business name is in front of millions of people. There are several online advertising businesses, and Google AdSense is the most popular.CPC is a keyword-based advertising system. This means your advertisement is connected to searches containing the same keywords that you have chosen as your advertising keywords. You are charged a certain amount, usually anywhere from 5 cents to $5.00 every time someone clicks on your advertisement.Even though your advertisement may be shown many times, you are only charged for the number of times visitors actually click on your advertisement for more information. If your Cost Per Click advertisement is text-based, it will be placed in an advertising unit with between one and three other advertisements.Before you start your Cost Per Click advertising campaign, you must place a maximum CPC bid. This bid will indicate the highest amount you are willing to pay for the CPC advertising. You must take into consideration that you will be expected to pay more for the more popular keywords and for advertisement placement in locations with higher visibility.Even though you set your own maximum CPC bid, your actual advertising cost will usually be one cent above the minimum charge required to keep your advertisement placement in its current Web page location.Google uses your quality score and rank number to determine your CPC charge and advertisement placement. Your quality score is determined by how closely related your selected keywords are to the actual advertisement wording.The score also considers the quality of your landing page and your click through rate. Your landing page is the Web page your visitors are directed to once they click on your advertisement, and your click through rate is the percentage of viewers that click on your ad out of the total number of viewers that see your advertisement.Your advertisement’s placement is determined by its rank number. A higher rank number indicates a higher quality advertisement and this will place your advertisement in the more desirable advertising locations. The higher your quality score is, the lower your Cost Per Click advertising costs will be and the better your advertisement location will be.Cost Per Click advertising allows you to set and control your advertising budget. You are able to set a daily budget for your CPC charges. Each day, if the number of click throughs reaches your set maximum daily budget, the ads will stop appearing until the next day.You can increase or decrease your daily maximum CPC charges as needed, and you will never be surprised at how much your are charged for your Charge Per Click advertising. Keep in mind that if your advertisement does not generate a minimum amount of daily click throughs, your ad will be discontinued.