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Promoting Your New Business in London – Don’t waste your advertising budget

By Monica Huddie
Electra Marketing

As a marketing consultant who helps small businesses in London and Berkshire market themselves more effectively and efficiently, I often get asked about where, when and to promote and advertise their business. Questions like….
• Should we bother with advertising at all – does it work?
• Where should we advertise?
• How much should we spend on advertising?
• Should we just have a Facebook page – isn’t that enough?
The answers to these question lie in starting with a marketing plan and focusing on your objectives, the products and services you are offering, who you are targeting and of course your budgets!

There are many SME businesses in London that generate large volumes of leads and customers for their business via advertising and do consider it cost-effective. They spend a significant chunk of their marketing budget on traditional print advertising – be that in local newspapers, free London magazines, or directories such as the various London Yellow Pages and Thomson Locals, or online directories like Yell and Thomson.
But in many cases they could be getting more out of their advertising spend, or even saving money by doing other more cost effective forms of promotion for their business.
Here are some tips to help you make sure you’re not wasting your valuable advertising budget …

Keep a record of how much you spend, when and where
It’s a good discipline to keep details of where you advertised, what size advert you had, what page it appeared it and what you were promoting. That helps you to track all your activity in past years.

Make sure you are can evaluate how effective your adverts are
There’s no point spending money on advertising without knowing how effective it is. If you are running an offer, then print a code on the advert that customers have to quote to get the deal. Keep track of how many people use the code. Make sure you and your team are always in the habit of asking new customers ‘where did you hear about us’ and record how many people mention having seen your adverts.

Re-vamp your adverts from time to time
Don’t expect that running the same advert month after month, will bring in the same level of business. You need to change your messaging and advertising concept so that you stand out from the crowd and keep your brand fresh to the readers.

Test as much as you can
It’s always a good idea to test new things when you advertise regularly. For example, if you always pay for a ¼ page in the local newspaper – you can test whether having a smaller advert lowers your response. Don’t just stick to doing what you have always done in the past.

Make use of special features and supplements
When a newspaper or magazine is running a special feature that’s particularly relevant for your business – it’s generally a good idea to advertise there. Although you will encounter competitors there, you know that the people reading that feature are really interested in that subject and will be more responsive to your message.

Have a punchy headline
You want your advert to jump out at people – so make sure the headline is engaging to your potential customers! Sounds obvious – but many companies make the mistake of talking about themselves and not what their customers might be interested in!

Don’t be afraid to say No and try something else!
Just because it’s something you’ve always done; just because your competitors advertise there it doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for your business. If you find your advertising isn’t working then don’t be afraid to pull your budget and try some new ways of getting business.

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