10 tips for advertising your small business successfully

Blogs 31 May 2022

Successful advertising is essential for attracting business, but how can this be achieved without a limitless budget? From creative copy to inspiring imagery, learn how to craft an amazing advert for your business.

A version of this article was first published in May 2020. 

 From attracting new customers to launching a new product line, a great campaign can help to sustain and grow your business. If you’re planning an advertising campaign to boost your business, we’re here to help you to get the most out of it.

Don’t worry if you’re not a marketing professional or you don’t have the budget to outsource to an agency - we’ll show you how to craft a catchy campaign slogan or choose compelling imagery that potential customers will love!

These tips can apply to any advertising you do for your business, whether it’s in print, digitally, or even through email marketing. With these advertising basics under your belt, you’ll be ready to create your next advertising campaign. Here are our top 10 tips for getting the most out of your advertising efforts.

1. Have a clear message

Will people know what you're selling or what you’re trying to communicate? You might think it's obvious, but it may not be to a potential customer.

Before you start writing your advert, try summarising the services or products you offer, and decide on your ‘elevator pitch’. This will help you understand what you want to achieve and who your target market is. Don’t forget to think about what makes your business unique!

Once you know this, you’ll be able to choose your words carefully to craft a clear message about your business and what you are promoting. But remember, less is more – especially when you’re short on space!

2. Make an impact with your headline

This will be the first thing people read, and it may be the only interaction someone has with your brand. If someone doesn’t know who you are, your headline needs to do a good job of convincing them why they should.

Grab their attention with powerful, active words. Appeal to their emotions. Invite them in with a question. Keep your headline short, clear and specific to your promotion.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What makes your business stand out?
  • What are you offering?
  • Why should someone buy from you?

3. Use eye-catching imagery

A picture paints a thousand words, so use striking imagery to make an impact and say more with less. Whether you choose a photography style or opt for illustrations, it needs to be on brand and support your key message.

Use high quality images and avoid busy compositions to keep your advert simple and clear. With the right style, you can make someone who comes across your advert realise how long it’s been since they bought homemade bread from a local bakery.

You can download free photos from websites like Pexels and Unsplash, though be sure to check the usage policies before you use them in adverts.

4. Keep it on brand

Your branding is what makes you unique. Establishing your brand identity helps to position your business and be remembered by customers. A distinctive logo, catchy slogans and a solid marketing message are important for raising awareness.

If you have various customer demographics, you might want to think about targeted promotions to appeal to different audiences. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important that you’re using consistent brand colours, fonts and styles to stand out from the crowd. 

5. Include a call to action

You should make it clear exactly what you want someone to do when they see your advert. Do you want them to visit your website to browse your products? Do you want them to call and enquire? Whatever the outcome, a clear call to action is important for a successful advert. Use direct phrases like ‘visit our website to learn more’ or ‘call us today’.

Be careful to only include one call to action in your advert – don’t confuse people or give them a choice. Make it clear what the next step is and how they can find out more information from your business.

6. Use custom URLs or references

Ever wondered why TV adverts tell you to search a very specific phrase at the end of an advert? It’s how businesses can track the success of their offline campaigns. Unlike online advertising, where we have access to real time data, it’s more difficult to track the success of print advertising. You could ask customers to quote ‘MAY2020’ at checkout to receive a discount.

If you’re running an online ad, you can track your success on Google Analytics and see how much traffic a specific webpage gets. With bit.ly, you can shorten links and save on space. Google’s Digital Garage offers an entire course on digital marketing for your business if you want to learn more.

By asking people to visit a certain webpage or quote a specific campaign term, you can measure how many people are responding to your adverts and see what works.

7. Make your words count

We already mentioned that less is more when it comes to words, which is why the words you do include in your advert need to be carefully considered. Your advert needs to be engaging and inspire action from a consumer. You know your business better than anyone else, so think about what you want potential customers to know.

8. Check your website

If you’re going to be directing people to your website, you’ll want to make sure you’re making a good impression! An up-to-date, engaging website where people can learn about your business and your products will go a long way in securing sales.

Think of your website like your virtual shop front. Keep it alive by regularly adding fresh content, exciting photos and showcase what you do best!

9. Support your campaign on social media

Social media is a fantastic free tool for marketing. Supporting your campaign on social media, whether it’s a Facebook post or on Instagram stories, can help it to gain more attention, as well as introduce your business to more people. Ask your customers or followers to spread the word and share your message.

Update your cover photos to match with your campaign, or use a campaign hashtag to get everyone involved. Canva is a free graphic design tool you can use to source images and design social media posts for your business.

10. Include your contact details

Most importantly, don’t forget to include details of how people can contact you. Make sure these are correct and up-to-date. The last thing you want is to be missing out on sales because your emails are going to the wrong address!

What you include will vary based on your business, but the basics include a phone number, an email, your website or your social media platforms. Remember, you’re limited by space and people’s attention, so only include the most important ones for you and the ones your customers will use.

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