Having written before on the costs of advertising, here’s a write-up on the costs of not advertising – although these are self-explanatory and should be obvious to most. In no particular order, the costs of not advertising one’s business are:
* stagnating sales
* the potential downsizing of your business
* laying off of personnel
* paying of retrenchment packagesd
* the possible closing of your doors
There are others, but suffice to say that they make gloomy reading. The reality is that in a recession (or economic slowdown as it’s often called) all businesses need to be advertising in some form or another. Unless you can survive by way of monthly cash injections by some kind benefactor, assistance from outside investors, help from understanding bankers or people spreading awareness of your company through word of mouth, advertising your products and services has become as important as paying your monthly rental or electricity bills.
With tough economic conditions prevailing and with no real end in sight, small businesses are battling. (Medium sized and large businesses too but they likely have more ability to survive).
The sad reality is that smaller businesses are caught between a rock and a hard place : Advertise, and put even more pressure on already-strained cashflows – or don’t advertise, and face a long and uphill battle ahead. It’s a difficult one but I honestly don’t believe business owners have a choice.
Whilst advertising is expensive, it’s imperative. One just has to work within one’s means and cut out the frills. Mandatory is a website. (It never ceases to amaze me how many companies out there still don’t have a web presence and justify this with the assertion that, in their particular industry, people don’t look at websites…..what also amazes me is the number of sub-standard websites out there).
Having a decent and correctly-built website is critically important, this is just the beginning however. It then needs to be optimised for search engines and marketed online with the objective of attracting traffic. An unvisited site is about as useful as no site at all. Driving traffic to one’s website is achieved through the likes of Google Adwords, blogging and social media and these tools are invaluable in this day and age. Social media in particular has become hugely important. It’s no longer a nice-to-have and a case of setting up Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. There needs to be an on-line strategy in place and there are some very good people out there who can help you in this regard.
Of course, before embarking on-line, a corporate identity must be developed – but this can be kept to the basics if money is tight. A decent logo, business card, email signature, letterhead and perhaps a corporate profile and you’re done.
Advertising on street pole posters and billboards, advertising on radio, cinema advertising, TV advertising and advertising in newspapers and magazines can be pencilled in as a “phase 2” and wait until business has either stabilised or grown to a point where they become affordable.
Advertising is costly and as much as you’d like to have your target market exposed to your brand at every turn, the struggling business needs to work within its means. A professionally-optimised website marketed correctly on-line and through social media, and all else can follow.