For most small businesses, traditional advertising is too expensive and hard to evaluate. So, I rarely advise my clients to advertise. There are a few exceptions, of course, and one that I often recommend is area newsletters. These newsletters are usually published monthly or quarterly by a group representing members of a targeted community based on geography or living arrangements, a business association, a civic concern or other entity. The newsletters are usually free to the membership of the group and are supported by local business advertising.
This advertising can be very good for you (as it is for some of my clients) because the audience is usually pretty well-defined and the rates are typically quite affordable. You can find business-card sized ads for around $20 a month. If the newsletter goes to a group you have identified as a targeted market for your business, then the $20 a month can be a very good way to spend your money. Plus, you can usually get decent rates without signing a long-term contract.
If you do find one or more of these newsletters that brings you clients, do repeat your advertising. One of the keys to successful advertising is to repeat ads that work. So, if you find one is bringing in customers, then keep it going every time the newsletter is published.
Here are some sources where you might find member newsletters. Call them up and ask them if they do publish a newsletter and if so, ask them to send you a sample copy and an advertising kit.
Assisted living facilities
Chamber of Commerce
Other commercial associations
Church or youth groups
Before you chose a newsletter to advertise in, ask yourself if the people who read this newsletter would be good customers for you. For example, are they located within a reasonable distance for shopping in your retail store or dining in your restaurant? Do they have a need or want for your product or service? Do they match up with your ideal or targeted customer’s profile? If the newsletter fits your targeted clientele, go ahead and try an ad. If you’ve never written an ad before, read How to Write Effective Ads to help you make your ad successful.
Try to target your ad to the newsletter’s readers. If you want to be able to track it, either ask how people heard about you (and write it down) or simply create a coupon for your ad. Keep the coupons and you will be able to tell how well your ad works. And, a coupon good for free gift-wrapping or a free gift is better in the long run that offering huge discounts on your prices.
Local newsletter advertising can be a great boon for your small business. Plus, you can try it out for just a few dollars!
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