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Advertising Definition: How to Advertise (And Grow) Your Business

You know your products or services can change people’s lives, but how do they know that? Powerful advertising strategies can help you reach your target audience and grow your business effectively. Learn more about the advertising definition as well as various advertising strategies to improve your company’s results.

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Advertising definition

Advertising is one marketing tool you can use to showcase your products or services to the public. It’s usually a paid service where your ads show up on websites, printed materials, TV commercials, radio programs, billboards and many other formats. The goal of advertising is to sell products, increase brand awareness or promote an idea. There are three purposes of advertising: to inform, to remind and to persuade. You can use advertising to grow your business by reaching larger audiences and expanding into different industries.

Benefits of advertising

With a solid understanding of the advertising definition, you can explore more about this strategy. When you’re familiar with the benefits of paying for ads, it’s easier to justify spending money on marketing. Here are some benefits of using various advertising methods:

  • Greater exposure: Your ads will likely reach new consumers who’ve never heard of your company. This helps expand your reach and find new customers.
  • Education: Advertising campaigns can teach consumers something new about your company. It’s another way for you to show your expertise and inform people about why your goods or services are beneficial.
  • Standing out: Your organization can show how it’s different from the competition in your ads. If your competitors don’t use advertising methods, you could get more exposure to your target audience without much competition.
  • Brand awareness: When people see your ads multiple times, it can help build brand recognition. Prospective customers might decide to dig into your brand more.
  • Versatility: With a wide range of advertising types, you can find an option that fits your target audience and your budget.

Disadvantages of advertising

While you can gain many benefits from paid advertising, there are some drawbacks. Looking at those issues can help you avoid them or at last be prepared for them. Some potential disadvantages include:

  • Costs: Depending on the methods you use, advertising can be costly. If you’re on a limited budget, you might be limited in your options.
  • No guarantees: Your ads could generate new sales, or they might not bring in any new customers. You aren’t guaranteed sales from your advertising efforts.
  • Time-consuming: Creating effective ads can be time-consuming, especially if you don’t have an experienced team in place to handle the work.
  • Difficulty standing out: With so many businesses using advertising methods, it can be difficult to stand out from the others.
  • Incorrect messaging: No matter what your intentions are, some messages can be misunderstood or twisted into something else, which could cast a negative opinion about your company. Being thorough and looking at your advertising with a critical eye can help minimize this effect.

Types of advertising

There are many types of advertising you can use to promote your business, from traditional to digital media. Here are some common options:

  • Print advertising: Print advertising includes ads in newspapers, magazines, directories, catalogs and posters. You buy ad space in the physical copies of these items.
  • Broadcast advertising: Television, radio, public service announcements and infomercials all fall under broadcast advertising.
  • Outdoor advertising: Outdoor advertising includes billboards and ads on public transportation such as buses, trucks or trains.
  • Direct mail advertising: When you use direct mail advertising, you’re creating print ads sent to personal addresses, including newsletters, brochures and catalogs.
  • Mobile advertising: Mobile advertising includes videos, app ads, search ads and display ads.
  • Social media advertising: Social media advertising is a more modern option and comes in the form of carousel ads, sponsored posts, video ads and stories.
  • Online advertising: Online advertising includes banner ads, native ads, display ads and pop-ups and can appear on a variety of websites.
  • Email advertising: Examples of email advertising include newsletters, new product announcements, customer testimonials and sales reminders.

Related: A Guide to Creating a Tagline for Your Company

How to start advertising

If you’re ready to run your first advertising campaign, the following steps can get you started.

1. Build a marketing team

Having key marketing personnel in place helps you develop effective ads. They manage your overall marketing strategy and decide where advertising fits in. Advertising managers and marketing assistants are knowledgeable about marketing trends and how to best appeal to your customers, so they can help build your advertising strategy.

2. Identify your target audience

Identifying your audience helps you tailor your message and choose the most effective advertising method based on what appeals to that audience. If you’ve already created a target customer profile or buyer persona, use those documents with this step. Look at past sales and market research to determine your audience’s age, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status. Explore their habits and pain points.

3. Choose the ideal platform

Using what you know about your audience, consider the best platform to advertise your products. For example, if your audience is between the ages of 65 and 80, you might consider using a newspaper or TV ad rather than social media advertising. For a younger audience, social media advertising might be a better option.

Even within those categories, narrowing it down by your target audience can help you increase effectiveness. For instance, if you know social media will work well for your target audience, research which social media platforms your ideal customer uses most often. Advertising on Facebook when most of your prospective customers live on Instagram, for instance, can make your campaign less effective.

4. Develop an effective ad

When you create an ad, have a goal in mind. Are you trying to raise awareness about a new product or increase sales of an existing product? Take what you know about your customers and turn it into an ad that will appeal to them. Start with an attention-grabbing headline followed by the bulk of your message based on the goal of the ad. Finish with a CTA that encourages customers to act.

5. Track your success

By recording the engagement you receive from your advertisement, you can judge its effectiveness on future sales. You can accomplish this by installing advertising campaign software or using a spreadsheet.

How can I advertise my business locally?

For small or medium-sized businesses, connecting with your audience at a local level is a great place to start. Some ways you can make use of local resources to advertise your business while engaging with the community include:

  • Go to local networking events. Networking events are a great way to connect with other business owners and professionals in your area.
  • Join a community page on social media. Neighborhoods, towns and cities often have community pages on social media that you can be a part of. You can advertise new products, post a picture or link to your website to engage with local members and let them know your business is in the area.
  • Rent a billboard in your area. You could reach a wider audience by renting abillboard ad for your business. Include your business phone number or website on the billboard so people can find you.
  • Advertise in your local newspaper. To save money, create an ad using a free online template. That way, the only thing you have to pay for is the publishing of your ad. Also, most newspapers have a website where you can digitally advertise your business.
  • Create a radio ad for your local station. Sponsor a portion of a radio show, or pay for a radio ad during the commercial breaks.
  • Host a charity event for a local cause. Charitable events allow you to support your local fire station, food bank or schools while also spreading awareness about your business.

Advertising FAQs

What is the difference between advertising and marketing?

The difference between advertising and marketing is intent. Marketing is the process by which a company uses market research to determine how to sell a product to the public. Advertising is a component of marketing where you decide the exact method for how to let your audience know about your products or services.

What are some ways to advertise my business on a small budget?

You can advertise effectively even on a small budget. Social media is an effective way to grow your business while spending little to no money. Follow other companies’ accounts, use hashtags and post often to build a following. Save billboard ads or TV commercials for peak buying seasons. For example, if you have a retail business, wait until the holiday months when people shop more. If you already have a company website, a blog is a low-cost way to advertise your products. Create product tutorials with keywords to drive traffic.

How can you make the most of your advertising budget?

Most web hosting platforms or social media sites provide some data regarding the people who interact with your posts, so you can see which advertisements received the most engagement. Use that information to determine which advertising methods would be profitable when you allocate your advertising budget. Install cookies on your website to target online ads to visitors who haven’t purchased your products.

Advertising is essential for any business, regardless of size or industry. By following the methods outlined above, you can discover which advertising strategies work best for you and potentially expand your business opportunities.

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