Efficient marketing for small businesses

Advertising is crucial for new small businesses. While owners will have occasional drop-in customers who stop by during a leisurely shopping trip in the area, these occasions alone aren't frequent enough to keep a business afloat.

Business owners need to work to attract consistent customers – people who go out specifically to visit that establishment. Promoting a business is essential for bringing consumers to the store, but it can be hard to do on a modest budget.

Fortunately, there are ways that a business can make its marketing attempts more efficient and cost-effective. While social media is a great place to start, businesses can still use traditional advertising methods when they're done well. 

Know the customers
According to Entrepreneur, the best ways to improve advertising campaigns is to target the right people. Run ads where your customers will most likely be able to see them. Owners shouldn't pay for ad space in a newspaper if their target audience is more digital, or choose ad space on a website that specializes in products that are incompatible with their own. It doesn't do them any good to spend money on ads that will only reach people who will have limited interest in their products.

Timing is also an important factor. If the target audience is parents with small children, it may not make sense to run television ads late at night. It also doesn't help companies to advertise their products out of season when customers aren't shopping for them. 

Donating relevant products to a local cause increases a business's visibility in the community. Donating relevant products to a local cause increases a business's visibility in the community.

Become active in the community
It's helpful for business owners to be involved in their communities. For brick-and-mortar stores, that could mean donating products to a local charity, as Small Business Computing suggests. A job well done for a group in the area helps spread the word about the services and the kindness of the business owners as well. 

For web stores, online charity campaigns or being an active blogger about their industry can help business owners become more engaged in their digital communities. Increasing businesses' exposure in a positive light is the key to successful advertising. 

Equipment and business industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, a nationwide provider of commercial lending solutions for small and mid-size businesses. Marlin's equipment financing and loan products are offered directly to businesses, and through third party vendor programs, which include manufacturers, distributors, independent dealers and brokers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.