|18002 Bothell-Everett Hwy, Suite E
Mill Creek, WA 98012
This article provides new businesses some advertising tips using things like outdoor sign advertising, car advertising, window advertising, display or sandwich board advertising and wrap advertising.
Also, note at the end of this article is some complimentary checklists that provide a list of suggested signage by industry to help you get started advertising your new business. Starting a new business is an exciting and challenging time. Knowing what to do when opening a business to ensure long-term success, however, can be daunting. The future of your small business rests upon your ability to advertise yourself, your product or services, and your company. It is crucial that you have an effective advertising plan in place from day one. A clear, actionable advertising plan is what separates successful companies from failed companies.
Before you craft your advertising plan, you need to have a firm understanding of the costs associated with opening your own business. Don’t just guess on start-ups expenses and monthly overhead. Are you manufacturing a product? Talk to vendors and get concrete estimates for each step of the process from raw materials to shipping. Are you selling a service? Even if you are planning to run your business out of your own home, you will still need to advertise. Knowing how to plan for a business and how much initial capital you have available is critical. Create your operating budget, and stick to it. You do not want to be surprised by a shortfall later. Once you’ve got these numbers ready to go, it’s time to create your advertising plan.
It may sound obvious, but it’s all too easy to confuse these two important documents. When creating your advertising plan, it is important to remember that it is different from your business plan. A business plan is a broad document that details what your business is about— what you do and don't do, long-term and short-term goals, and a timeline for achieving these goals. A business plan is your company’s constitution; it’s a guiding document that covers everything from staffing and finances to strategic business alliances and product/service information. Before working on your advertising plan (also known as a marketing plan), you should finish writing a business plan. It is important to have a clear vision of your company in place.
An advertising plan is stand alone document. It is the blueprint for communicating the value in your products and services to customers and the ‘how-to’ part of your advertising strategy. Your advertising strategy is shaped by your overall business goals. How are your products and services different from the competition? How will you differentiate your business and build a customer base? An advertising strategy is where you want to go; an advertising plan is your road map to this destination.
Finally, remember that an advertising plan is not only helpful for growing your business; it is also critical to company morale. Your staff needs to know you a leading them in a clear direction. Actionable goals in an advertising plan – and specific steps to achieving these goals – will ensure that your staff has a clear vision of where your business is headed, and knows what to do to help move your company in this direction.
When you first sit down to write your advertising plan, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Starting a company and advertising for a new business requires a lot of work. How do all your ideas fit together? What if you don’t have any advertising ideas at all? Start by answering these five questions:
1. What is your company’s unique selling proposition?
2. What is your target market?
3. What are the benefits of your products or services?
4. How will you position your products or services to reach your target market?
5. What are your advertising methods? Will you use print ads, signs, new media, TV, radio, direct mail or any combination of these methods?
These answers will guide your plan. Defining your customer base, what makes your company unique from the competition, and what makes your products or services appealing will shape your advertising strategy.
Successful small business advertising is different than advertising for a Fortune 500 company. It is important that you create a realistic plan that matches your company’s budget. Leave the big five-year or ten-year goals in your business plan. Your initial advertising plan should focus only on the first year. This is the best way to lay a strong foundation for your business and generate immediate results. The two fundamentals of new business advertising are (1) building your brand and (2) building your customer base. Make sure your plan addresses these fundamentals.
Follow the instructions.
An advertising plan is not a vision statement. It is an actionable plan with clear steps that you and your employees can follow as you work towards specific milestones. Set realistic monthly goals and then detail the steps for reaching each of these goals. This is the place to get specific; the more details, the better. You can always revise and change things, but a clear, actionable blueprint will ensure your business is still here in six months – and you aren’t penniless.
Execute your plan.
Believe it or not, writing your advertising plan is the most difficult part. If you did a good job detailing your goals and how to achieve them, executing the plan is easy! Is your goal to reach new customers by taking advantage of advertising space you already own? Talk to a local sign shop about adding vinyl vehicle lettering to your car, wrapping your business truck or adding colorful window vinyls to your storefront. Is your plan to promote your business products and services at trade fairs? Work with a local company to design an affordable and creative trade show booth. Whatever your goals are, take the monthly milestones and add them to the company-wide calendar. Use graphs to chart the growth of sales and customers. Display these charts in a common area to keep the entire company motivated.
Review, revise and stay focused.
Starting a small business is challenging, and it is easy to get caught up in many of the small, day-to-day details. Keep the big picture in mind by referring back to your advertising plan. Remember, staff turns over, markets change, and customers come and go. If you aren’t achieving your monthly advertising goals, take a long, hard look at your advertising plan. Are these goals realistic for your company? It’s better to revise and adapt to a changing marketplace then to continue moving forward with an unsuccessful strategy.
Here's a set of checklists put together by industry. Use the checklist belonging to your industry during your planning stage to inventory what you might need for advertising items as well as other items for your new location. Go through the checklist before you craft your advertising plan and operating budget. Then go out and research the costs. Do this before you put together your advertising plan. This exercise will help you eliminate the guess work and increase the accuracy of your initial operating budget. Remember, you do not want to be surprised by a shortfall later!
|Advertising Agency Signs|
|Automotive Dealership Signs|
|Boat Dealership Signs|
|Broadcasting and Radio Station Signs|
|Church and Ministry Signs|
|Fitness Center Signs|
|Golf and Tournament Signs|
|Hotel and Motel Signs|
|Medical Center Signs|
|Moving Company Signs|
|Real Estate Signs|
|Retail and Store Signs|
|Service Company Signs|
|Special Events Signs|
|Sports and Club Signs|
|Trade Show Signs|
|Transportation and Airport Signs|
|Utility Company Signs|
|Warehousing and Distribution Signs|