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It’s impossible to overstate the importance of advertising for a small business. The sticker shock involved in most methods of advertising nowadays, however, often proves quite discouraging to the small business owners who don’t have deep pockets. Does this mean that they should forego their ad campaigns until the money starts rolling in? Clearly, that is not a good plan. Without some sort of advertising, the money simply isn’t going to roll in, period. It is advisable to view your advertising not as an expense, but as an investment, because effective advertising will surely pay off. But how can a small business get that advertising ball rolling without an abundance of funds for television, radio, or magazine ads?
Let’s begin by asking a few critical questions:
WHO? The first step is to consider to whom it is you are advertising. Who are the people most likely to become your customers?
WHAT? Consider their needs. What is it that these people require that your product or service can provide or satisfy?
WHERE? Think of the best places to get your message to them. Where are these people?
WHEN? Time of day can be critical in your advertising. When are they most likely to be reached?
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WHY? You know that your business is great, but how can you convince them of why they should go with you?
Once you can answer those questions, it’s time to allow yourself to get creative with your marketing. If the traditional advertising methods are out of your price range for now, consider some other ideas:
- Specialized Newsletters & Publications – You’ve determined who your target group is. Think about where they get their news. Placing an ad in a targeted or industrial newsletter or website could prove far less expensive than a magazine or newspaper, and yet could be just as effective because it is going directly to people who might need the service you provide. For example, if your company sells educational materials, it might behoove you to seek out newsletters or websites for local schools and homeschooling organizations and approach them with your advertising plans. Still too costly? Consider working out an exchange of services for advertising. You might be surprised at how many people would take you up on that offer.
- Seek Out Discounted Ad Space – Some publications have unused ad space that they will sell at a lower rate immediately before going to press. Investigate this possibility and see if it is a better budgetary fit.
- Share Ad Costs With Complementary Businesses – If your business naturally “pairs” with another, it is good to consider teaming up on advertising. For example, if you design children’s clothing, and there is another local business that specializes in children’s toys, this would be a perfect opportunity to create a shared ad/coupon flyer mailing and split the cost. You’re getting all of the advertising for half the price!
- Sponsor A Local Event – By being a sponsor in a charity 5k run or golf tournament in your community, you are not only getting your company’s name out there for recognition, but you are also allowing it to be associated with a worthy cause. These “goodwill gestures” do not go unnoticed.
- Get Published Online – A great way to advertise your business and reach your target audience is to apply your knowledge of your field by writing articles about topics that will interest them. By posting these articles (with links that take readers to your own business website) on well-known and respected websites, such as EzineArticles.com, on websites in your own industry, or on ones that would be viewed by your target group, you are leading business back your way, as well as establishing yourself as a specialist in your industry.
As you employ different marketing strategies, remember to put something in each ad that will let you know its source. On coupons, put a code that will record the publication and date of the ad. For any TV or radio ads you might be able to do, offer a discount for mentioning the ad. Keep track of which strategies are working for you, as well as which ones aren’t, so that you will be able to make smart decisions about your future advertising.
Your marketing options may be limited by budgetary constraints, but with a fertile imagination and a willingness to take a somewhat less than traditional approach, you can build your business without breaking the bank.
Source by Bola O Olonisakin