Advertising can bring you quick success. That’s the reason it’s still in vogue and will continue to be so.
Small businesses need to shrug off the preconceived notion that advertising is uber-expensive. It’s not always expensive; getting started with Facebook ads costs only $50. Cost is not a legitimate concern because to fully harness the power of advertising, things must be done in the right ways.
The right ways include:
Adding Value to the Ad
Creativity has always been a must in advertising. Lately, however, its importance has increased by leaps and bounds. Large businesses can shell out hefty sums of money, but that doesn’t always guarantee creativity.
A small business can walk down the creative aisle and add value to its ads. Is it always expensive? No, it’s not. One can add value to an advertising campaign without coughing up too much money.
Take a look at the promotional banner below:
If you are a horror movie buff like me, you can identify the movie from miles away. Yes, it’s the poster of “Blair Witch Project (1999),” the film that redefined the found-footage horror genre. Against a tiny production budget of $22000, the movie raked in $250 million.
In the second example, we see a rainbow colored graphic. Take a look:
No celebrity image, no 3D character and no stopmotion video. What we see above are a little text with a rainbow collection of colors in the background. In case you are wondering how this strategy worked for Radiohead, it was meant to promote their seventh album called “Rainbows.”
The design was to signify the album title.
The album registered three million downloads and earned a revenue of $10 million.
These examples suggest that creativity and expense don’t always go hand in hand, especially when it comes to advertising — a primer for small businesses.
The Right Ways to Lower Your Small Business Advertising Costs
Media and Ad Experience
Small businesses often use leftover ideas from big brands as themes for their ads. Some of them even force people (unknowingly) to notice their ads. The result is obtrusive user-experience. While incorporating multimedia elements is advisable, a small business must be very cautious when using them.
That’s because rich media ads can be intrusive. Sometimes very little activity from users, such as hovering the mouse over an ad banner or scrolling down a page, can prompt rich media on that page to load. Due to increased competition, advertisers are foisting ad content on users, resulting in an intrusive experience. Ads in autoplay media format are the worst. People who land on a page with autoplay ads are being forced to consume content without their consent. And on top of that, they lose bandwidth.
A small business cannot turn its back on rich media ads. Millennials are their target consumer demographic as they prefer buying from small, locally-owned businesses. But what do rich media ads have to do with millennials? Unlike boomers, millennials reject hard selling and value experience-driven shopping. And their love for video marketing is no secret. Rich media advertising can be a great way to lure them, provided the video quality is high and the ad is not obtrusive.
With programmatic ad buying, human involvement is minimized and the entire process is conducted via digital interfaces. The focus of programmatic advertising is on the audience, contrary to traditional PPC advertising, which prioritized the publishing website.
How can programmatic benefit small businesses?
An ad can be published on a relevant website, but visitors may still not click on it. Programmatic, on the other hand, connects them to people who are highly likely to buy from them. Small businesses have limited budget, they hate experimenting and desire to zero in on their prospects. Hence, programmatic works for them.
Among programmatic platforms, some are tailor-made for small businesses. Such platforms include:
Pocketmath – This self-serve platform is optimized for mobile experience. Its built-in tools are for real-time bidding and for pro-DIY businesses (read small businesses).
Visibl – This platform facilitates targeted video ad campaigns for small firms. The best part about it is it integrates with a slew of advertising networks including Appnexus, Google Adsense, Brightroll, etc.
ReTargeter – Just as the name suggests, ReTargeter is for retargeting. Retargeting can increase conversion rate by 150 percent for small businesses. The USP of ReTargeter is it allows for website-based retargeting, as well as demographic retargeting.
Fair and transparent pricing makes programmatic advertising profitable for small companies. In traditional advertising, purchasers buy a bulk of impression. But programmatic lets them buy one impression at a time, allowing them to calculate the exact price and decide whether it’s right for them.
Custom Advertising Networks
Third-party marketplaces for buying and selling of ad units are often skewed to SMBs. One such marketplace called Infolinks claims to increase ad profit without increasing traffic. Bringing traffic to a site requires either time (in case it’s organic) or money (in case it’s paid), sometimes both. A small business will want to skip it for obvious reasons.
Let’s take a look at two custom ad platforms that can help small enterprises:
- Infolinks – The company claims to render high engagement ad units. It’s not a far-fetched claim as Infolinks is built on a state-of-the-art technology that can extract user intent in real-time. Infolinks has a comprehensive approach to ad relevance, as in, the keywords selected for real-time bidding are relevant and so are the audiences.
- Sourcengo – This niche-specific platform is only for business software vendors. Sourcengo lets publishers in the software and tech niche connect to each other, and monitors the connection using its smart tools. Ad products are of various types — from widgets to RSS feeds. The platform is optimized for handheld devices and its API is scalable.
While leveraging the said networks is useful, other avenues for ad buying should be open. Small businesses cannot expect integrated solution from every platform. So they need to harness CRM solutions, which capture marketing and advertising data. They can also harness tools that assist creative workflow.
When it comes to success in advertising, there’s no charted territory. Yes, digital tools and solutions work, but only as nodes amplifying the creative ideas invented by advertisers.
As mentioned already, creativity doesn’t cost a dime. Small businesses out there should come up with creative ideas and then act on them using the ways discussed here in this article.
Small Business Partners Photo via Shutterstock