Friday, November 4, 2022

Small Business Marketing Strategy PR vs Ads

Small Business Marketing Strategy

Small Business Marketing Strategy PR vs Ads

A great small business marketing strategy includes a mix of tactics. Advertising and public relations are two very important tools that all small business owners should use on a regular basis. Many small businesses I talk to do one of the other, but don't commit to doing both. They each have their strengths and weaknesses and are complementary to each other.

Small Business Advertising Strengths:

-The biggest advantage with small business advertising is your total control over the message. You can focus on what you want, write the text and choose the images. You make sure your marketing message is delivered.

-You control placement. You choose the exact moment and the medium in which your advertising is placed. This is a huge advantage because you will naturally choose to place your ads where your target market is most likely to see them.

-You can repeat your messages over and over again. Effective small business marketing incorporates a high degree of repetition and consistency. Advertising can and should run at regular times.

-With advertising, you (and your budget) control your marketing saturation. You can run the same ad in different publications serving the same market, run matching internet ads, put an ad on the radio, do cable TV, do outdoor advertising, etc. Ideally, you should reach your target market in at least 4 different ways. for them to respond.

Advertising weaknesses

-Advertising usually costs money. Most small businesses don't have a big marketing budget. Sometimes being creative can help defray costs. Sometimes it can be exchanged for advertising space. You may be able to do cooperative advertising.

-Small business advertising must be highly targeted to be effective. Sometimes the only options you have in your community are mass market newspapers. You still need to advertise, but some of your marketing dollars will be spent advertising to people who don't want or need what you're selling.

-Most small business advertising sucks. I hate to say it, but it's true. Many do-it-yourself advertisers don't understand that there are advertising fundamentals that work. A good ad will always outperform a bad one. Here's my snap: If you can't invest the time and money to learn how advertising REALLY works, get a small business marketing coach to help you create more effective campaigns. It will be money well spent.

Public relations strengths:

-It's free! Granted, you may incur a very small charge if you hire someone to write and distribute a press release for you, but this is minimal. I think the reason most small businesses don't do public relations is that they don't know how to do it. Again, get some training or pay someone to do it for you.

-The press is trusted more than advertising. If you read a review saying that a new restaurant is the best in town, there is some credibility there. We tend to assume that a person who is writing an article is an expert and that they are a disinterested third party.

-You can distribute PR worldwide. As long as what you're doing is truly globally interesting, you can distribute your press releases globally. This isn't necessarily as specific as your advertising needs to be, but you're not paying for the publisher. By the way, never pay for editorial, and don't advertise in media that promise to give you an editorial every time you advertise. This is unethical and transparent, and the credibility of the media will always be in question.

Public relations weaknesses:

-You have no control over what the press will actually write or say about you. They may misspell your name, they may get some details wrong, they may choose to focus on something you don't want to highlight. In general, this is not a big deal, as long as they say good things about you.

-PR tends to be a single exposure. Unless the circumstances are truly unusual, the press is not going to run the same story over and over again. I have been involved with one exception to that. I was doing something that corresponded to a current event and the press came to me over and over for 4 weeks for TV interviews. This was pure timing. It's hard to design such a press without looking like a mercenary.

-There is no guarantee that you will get coverage. Once I was called to do a television interview and I ran into the city to meet the reporter and the photographer.

As I walked in, the reporter called me on my cell phone to tell me they were pulling the story because there was breaking news they had to cover. Depending on what's going on, you may or may not get a lot of press.

You see that small business advertising and public relations are different things. You need them both, and you need to work on both consistently. They are two important tools in your small business marketing toolbox.