Traditional Advertising for Your Service Business

So Many Options!

With so many options available to advertise your service business, it’s difficult to determine which one is right for you. And with so many reports on how effective one method might be over another, how do you choose? It’s often a case of trial and error to find which one works best.

In the long run, if you can focus your brand message and plan ahead, traditional advertising can pay significant dividends.

Traditional advertising is defined as a paid or sponsored message delivered via traditional media. Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, billboards, flyers and direct mail are all examples of traditional media.

Traditional advertising has long been the backbone of the service industry. However, with increasing costs for print ads, you need to consider what channel is right for your business.

Advertising Used to be Simple

Yellow Pages ads used to be the standard, as customers in search of a service would always flip through the book. An enhanced listing or an ad would immediately stand out. The investment was considerable, sometimes thousands of dollars a year. What it provided in viable new business was well worth it.

As the vast majority of people now choose to search from their mobile device or online, the phone books themselves are not used as much. And thanks to digital media, the number of advertising options are continuing to increase, making it hard for business owners to make decisions.

As a service business, traditional advertising could be a good place to start to reach new customers.

The Upside of Traditional Advertising

In a locally-oriented business, traditional advertising holds great promise. It lands directly in front of people in your community and targets a specific group that may find value in knowing about what you offer.

For example, advertising your services to a rural community can create tremendous success. You can be very specific with your messaging and create a strong local presence. These communities have limited options compared to city dwellers, so simply being top of mind can lead to lots of new business for you. In general, traditional advertising can give your business a presence that speaks from a local standpoint.

Be Prepared to Spend

One of the major drawbacks of traditional advertising is the cost. Although most publications and media outlets scale their fees with the size or length of the ad, it can still take up the lion’s share of your marketing budget.

In addition, to solidify your position as a player in your local community, it is important to be consistent—meaning you should plan to be in it for the long haul. You should plan to place a regular ad in the weekend garden section, for instance, or run a series of radio commercials and let this strategy play out over a long period of time.

Narrowing Your Target Audience

Defining your target audience will help maximize your investment. To start, advertising to the geographical area you work in will help guide your messaging. In addition, being specific to the community and knowing your customers habits will allow you to be more specific and direct in your ads. Niche publications that cater to your industry are also a great place to start.

Also, weekly or monthly print magazines that are specific to your geographical area offer the opportunity to consistently get in front of your potential customers. Targeting your ad to activities they may be engaged in will most likely grab their attention. Tailor your print ads to the season by offering products that are specific to their needs at that time.

The key idea here is to make it count. Plan ahead, avoid vague messages and reach out with valuable offers.

Community Participation

Finally, consider what sponsorship can do for you and your local community. This is a non-digital way to deliver the message that you are an active member of the community. Local sports teams, school fundraisers, and events are great places to engage with your community.

If you pick a cause you’re genuinely interested in, your contribution lets people know that you care about what happens in your own backyard. Create branded uniforms or tee-shirts for local events. Use banners or direct sponsorship by way of offering free goods or services. These actions will allow your business to be positioned as a frontrunner in the community.

The Takeaway

Clearly there are a lot of options when it comes to traditional advertising.  The key is to not only know your target audience but to figure out your marketing budget. Then through some trial and error you can determine which methods give you best ROI for your business.

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