How to Make Advertising Budgets Bring in the Dollars
For many small businesses the budget for advertising and marketing can be as little as 10 percent and as high as 50 percent of spending.  So making the right decisions about where to spend the money, especially the advertising dollar, is vital.

As with all things in running your business successfully skilling up in the areas you want to achieve results with is important, whether you outsource the campaigns and activities or do it yourself. It makes a huge difference to how the project will work out if you have at least a general idea of what's involved.

This lets you have realistic goals, a decent idea of budgets involved and how long it will probably take (then double it if experience is anything to go by).

3 Advertising Tools for Small Business

While the advertising channels are constantly changing and evolving does it mean that some of the traditional advertising methods are dead in the water? For some, like the Yellow Pages the answer is an obvious yes, for others, like letterbox drops and flyers are still working.

So to help out here are some practical tips on how to make the different types of advertising work for your business.

Does direct mail advertising work?

Direct marketing still works. It still reaches a broad audience and suits a range of businesses, from hardware stores to electronics to entertainment to food and more.

Direct mail advertising with letterbox drops looks set to remain one of the core advertising tools available for small businesses because of the reach into the home and business offices.

5 tips for designing effective flyers:

1. keep the attention on the reader because they are the reason you are designing the flyer - so you can effectively communicate with the reader, the potential customer and impress. So be a solution to their problem and keep the design focused on their needs.

2. make it easy for them to contact you so include your phone number, website, Twitter, Facebook and any other way they can connect with you to do business and make it plain easy for them to see.

3. have a call to action - this is vital. What do you want to achieve with this flyer? State it clearly and make your call to action a key feature of the flyer.

4. the design needs to reflect your business in a professional and effective manner. Do you want a cheap and cheerful look, a sleek and stylish effect or an elegant and professional look or something in between? All will communicate a range of different messages to your potential customers.

5. make sure your copy is effectively proofed as errors in spelling and grammar will cost you money with lost sales - would you trust someone to do a job worth paying for if they can't spell in their own marketing flyer? It's about paying attention to details.

Keep in mind that often for the most effective responses to a direct mail campaign it takes a minimum of three touch points with the target customers - so at least three letter box drops.

What do I need to know to make Google advertising make me money?

Google advertising can be one of the most effective ways to make money as well as loose money if you haven't figured out how to use it effectively. 

While Google says it's completely easy to get going with your own advertising campaign it's really important to keep in mind that you need to be very focused on the details of these pay per click money spinners.

To really make a Google advertising strategy make you money rather than cost you all your advertising war chest you need to give it some serious time and attention. 

When you get Google advertising right it is an exceptionally powerful and profitable advertising channel so it can be worth the investment of time, effort, education and attention. But it isn't easy.

6 tips for making Google advertising work:

1. do your research. You'll need to be ready to get your head around this whether you are doing it yourself or getting an agency involved.

2. know what keywords are and the ones that are valuable for your business. As the searches are customer driven it's important to know how your target audience is thinking and what they are searching for - this can be quite different to the terms you think of for your business, products and services.

3. learn how to track and measure the results using the Google tools - this makes a big difference and can save you buckets of money.

4. set daily spend limits and track the results. Again, this is about saving you money and knowing what you're doing. It's very easy to have the costs of clicks add up rapidly and be deducted from your account by Google and not see the sales coming in because you're still learning how your ideal customer is searching and finding (or not finding) you.

5. work on your landing pages so you have dedicated ones that will be of perfect interest to your inbound potential customer so you can convert them into the sales results you're planning for. Do not lead people to your home page and make them work through your site to find what they are looking for. If you brought them in with the promise of the latest iPhone then land them on a dedicated page selling iPhones, don't send them to the home page and make them hunt through your 500 products for the phone.

6. test different key words and copy for the ads with a limited advertising spend and track the results so you can make a more educated decision about which ad campaigns are working and should have more money spent on them.

How can I make online advertising achieve my goals?

Online advertising can be achieved in a range of areas from Facebook ads to website banner ads to paid content to the costs of producing free content and promoting it.

Download your free content marketing ebook from She InspiresWhile Google advertisements do squarely fit in the bounds of online advertising they are serious worth their own attention because of the risk/rewards involved.

The key to success with all avenues of online advertising is working strategically with campaigns and plans so you know what you are doing - it's so much better than flying by the seat of your pants and hoping for the best, especially when precious advertising dollars are involved.

7 tips for making online advertising bring in the gold:

1. be sure you bring people to a dedicated landing page within your website that is on message for your inbound potential customer. Ok, so this is point 5 of the Google advertising tips as well but it's vitally important. Don't take people to your home page because then they will wonder around and disappear. It's much more effective to bring them to a page with content they are immediately interested in and you can start building your relationship with them.

2. make it completely easy for potential customers to find you and connect with you. Put your website in your Facebook and LinkedIn about section and in the intro banner on Twitter. Have your website's contact page linked from every page on your website and on your social media profiles. Be generous with how you make it easy for people to connect with you.

3. make your website the hub of your universe. You own your website. Facebook owns Facebook, including your Facebook business page. So make sure everything leads back to your website, all your social media profiles, your blog, business cards, direct mail flyers, magazine advertisements, expert interviews, how to articles - everything needs to be linked back to your website. Sure, they can cross promote each other as well but the centre of your universe is your website.

4. when using social media ads make sure you track the results and the spend. Just like with Google it is completely easy to over spend with the wrong ad for the wrong target audience. Set yourself limits, track and know what's working and what isn't.

5. make use of the online tracking tools like Google Analytics and learn how to read the reports. Yes, they can seem to need a Masters Degree in Report Reading sometimes so skill up and empower yourself so you know what's what and where the money is. Do this whether you are outsourcing to an agency or doing it in house. You need to know where the money is.

6. headlines are powerfully important and you need to make them work powerfully for you. Headlines are vital for online ads as well as your online articles that are your hooks in the internet to bring in organic search results. The good news is writing headlines is one of the easier skills to learn (thankfully).

7. always keep your ideal target customer in mind with all your advertising spend. Write and craft your advertisements for her, don't write them for you. Understand your customer, her challenges, problems, needs and wants and craft the advertisement and solution around that. Then bring her to the solution on the right page.

As with all forms of advertising and marketing, you'll probably need to connect with the customer a few times before the sale comes in. So make sure your website backs up with the content potential customers will be looking for such as testimonials, ways of contacting you, an easy sales process, relevant information so they can feel secure that you know what you're on about.

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