Advertising is a proven way to market your small business and gain customers and revenue.
But there are so many ways to advertise a small business, it can be confusing and overwhelming. To get the best return on your advertising spend, we compiled the insights and advice from a number of sources — from experts to small business owners, along with our Editors’ guidance.
In this Small Business Advertising Guide, we walk you through how to advertise your business, including what advertising is, what types of advertising are out there to choose from, the relative costs for each and even places where you can advertise for nothing or for very little cost.
We also walk you through a simple step by step process to set up a small business advertising campaign. And if you need some idea starters, we’ve got those too.
Business Advertising is Thriving
You hear lots of things online about how about this type of advertising or that type of advertising is supposedly dying. The reality is, the advertising market is growing every year, as the Standard Media Index  shows:
Even banner advertising and display advertising has been predicted to have died years ago. But to roughly mimic the words of Mark Twain, rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
The Online Advertising Revenue Index , tracked by Ezoic, shows that online advertising is also showing strong healthy growth.
“As for small businesses interested in advertising, there has never been a time in history when it has been easier to reach your audience. Digitally you can find the exact type of person you want to target, understand the cost to reach them, and objectively measure the impact of that ad on your business goals. In the history of advertising, we’ve never had this granularity of data. It only makes sense to take advantage of it,” Tyler Bishop, Head of Marketing for Ezoic told Small Business Trends.
Despite wild fourth quarter swings each year due to budget cycles, the overall trend line is going up as this index shows:
In other words, even in today’s world of content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, search marketing, event marketing , influencer marketing and more, advertising is still a thriving way to reach out and draw in potential new customers.
As you can see, a good deal of growth in advertising spend is coming from digital advertising, including online advertising and mobile advertising.
But don’t be too quick to ditch your ad campaigns in local newspapers, print magazines, cable TV and the like. Print advertising, radio advertising, TV advertising and other forms of traditional advertising are by no means dead – they still account for many billions of dollars of ad spend each year. Traditional forms of advertising will continue for years to come.
It’s just that they are not growing the way digital advertising is. Digital advertising, especially display advertising, is where all the growth is today.
In the following sections of this small business advertising guide, we bring you an overview of advertising options for a small business. We also explain each of the options and how they work, along with cost estimates, benchmarks of what other small businesses spend, practical tips and how-to advice specifically for small business owners and marketing managers. After all, what Fortune 500 companies do and spend — while it may be instructive in some ways — is often not relevant to a small business with 5, 10, 20 or 100 employees. We try to make the information relevant to your size business, even while we learn from the big boys do.
Small Business Advertising Guide
In this Small Business Advertising Guide, we walk you through:
- How Can Advertising Help Your Business ? You’ll look at the benefits of advertising from increasing foot traffic to generating more leads and introducing new products.
- What Is The Difference Between Advertising And Marketing ? While similar and may serve the same ends, there are distinct differences between the two ways to bring in customers and revenue.
- Where Can You Advertise Your Business ? You’ll be able to review the best channels to advertise your small business — and the pros and cons of each.
- What’s The Cheapest Way To Advertise ? We provide sample costs of various kinds of advertising to help determine which fit your budget.
- Where Can You Advertise For Free ? Everyone wants something for nothing, but is it really possible to get free advertising? We explore this topic.
- How Much do Small Businesses Spend on Advertising?  Have you ever wondered what other small businesses spend, and a good benchmark for what you should spend? We have answers.
- How to Plan your Small Business Advertising Campaign (Checklist)  We lay out a simple step-by-step approach for setting up a small business advertising campaign, including a downloadable checklist.
- 50 Small Business Advertising Ideas  If you need idea starters, we’ve got 50 to get your creative juices flowing.
- How to Advertise Your Small Business Locally  If you’re a local business, you need to direct your advertising locally. We show you how.
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