7 Types of Advertising in Business to Consider

With so many advertising options available to businesses today, it can be hard to know what you should use for your company. Understanding how each type of advertising works, whether digital or traditional, can help you make smart choices about your marketing efforts. A comprehensive plan that includes multiple methods and channels is often the best course of action. Learn why advertising is important and review the specifics of advertising methods like social media, search engine, mobile, print, broadcast, traditional and digital. 


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Why is advertising important? 

Advertising is important for every business because it’s the primary vehicle for sharing your brand, products and services with potential consumers. Effective advertising can help you garner new customers and encourage previous or existing customers to continue purchasing from you. Knowing the best advertising methods for reaching your specific target market will ensure your message reaches customers effectively. 

Related: Running Your First Advertising Campaign for Your Business


Social media advertising

Social media advertising is the use of social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to communicate with potential customers and share information about your products or services. Within the social media landscape, you have a number of advertising options available: 



You can create your own account on your chosen social media platform or platforms to share content like written posts, pictures and videos with your followers. Ideally, customers and potential customers will like and comment on your posts, so you can engage with them by responding to questions or carrying on a conversation. 



Many social media platforms allow you to interact in interesting ways with other users. For example, on Facebook, you can post polls asking other users questions that they can answer within the platform. You can post the results of the poll to continue discussion and engagement.



You can also use targeted ads on social media platforms. Most often, these look like normal posts, but they appear in certain users’ news feeds whether or not they follow or like your brand on that platform. Usually, you have to pay for these ads, unlike creating a profile and posting content, which is generally free on most social media platforms. 


Off-profile mentions

Consider interacting with other brands in their comments or by posting on their page. Interested potential customers can click on your name and go to your page to learn more about your company. It’s a great way to introduce your company to potential customers who might not seek your brand out on their own. 

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


Search engine advertising

Search engine advertising is the use of search engines to target customers organically and intentionally with advertising materials. Search engine advertising usually takes one of two forms, either paid or unpaid:


Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC advertising, is a type of advertising done almost exclusively through search engines like Google and Bing. With PPC, you bid on certain keywords, and if search engine users query that keyword and then click on your link, you pay a fee. You don’t pay anything if your ad displays, but the searcher doesn’t click on your link. 


Search engine optimization

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing your company’s website, so it’ll rank highly on the search engine results page, or SERP, organically. SEO is free in that you don’t pay the search engine anything for an organic ranking. However, optimizing your website can cost you some money, depending on how you go about it and the changes you make. 


Mobile advertising

Mobile advertising is a broad category that can include a number of different advertising strategies like paid ads, social media marketing and other digital strategies. What separates mobile advertising from traditional digital advertising is that the content is all specifically designed for mobile devices like cell phones, tablets and e-readers. 


Print advertising

Print advertising is a traditional form of marketing that includes a number of specific channels which all function outside of the digital world. Common and effective options for print advertising include: 



Periodicals, or publications like newspapers and magazines, can still garner some interest and customer conversions. Know whether or not your target market subscribes to and reads these documents before signing an advertising contract with them. 



You can use brochures, handouts, leaflets and flyers in a variety of ways to attract the attention of potential local customers. Hang them around your neighborhood, stack them next to the cash register in your store or ask to stock some brochures at a local college or community center. 


Direct mail

With direct mail, you send your advertisement directly to the customer through the mail. Direct mail is a great method for sending customers documents like catalogs and coupons. You can also personalize the mail you send to entice the recipient to keep it and use it. 


Broadcast advertising

Broadcast advertising is the use of broadcast networks to share your marketing and advertising collateral. Broadcast advertising is often most useful for connecting with local customers. Typically, broadcast advertising includes radio and television: 



Radio broadcasting involves creating an audio clip that radio stations can play between songs or segments. If your target market listens to the radio, this can be a phenomenal way to engage them, since there’s no way to skip ads on the radio, other than turning it off. 



Television advertising, like radio advertising, can be particularly effective on local channels for a local audience. However, you’ll want to ensure your target market watches traditional TV before purchasing any ad time. Know, too, that many people can skip or fast forward through ads, decreasing their impact. 


Traditional advertising

Traditional advertising is a large category that includes a variety of tactics, all of which function outside of the digital field. Most often, traditional marketing is the best strategy for attracting local customers to brick-and-mortar retail locations. Besides the traditional advertising options already discussed, like broadcast advertising and print advertising, you might consider these other methods of traditional advertising for your business: 



Billboards are large advertisements, often located near roadways, to attract the attention of motorists and their passengers. Billboard advertising is an effective strategy particularly for restaurants, gas stations or local attractions drivers might want to stop and visit on their trip. 


Product placement

Product placement is the act of placing your product in a movie or television show, so consumers see the product and name. Product placement can be challenging to obtain, but it can pay off if you want to reach a broad audience with an understated marketing strategy. 



Directories, like phone books, list a company’s contact information for customers looking specifically for a product or service. Traditionally, directories were exclusively paper-based, like the Yellow Pages. Now, this analog method functions primarily online, which makes it much easier for companies to keep their information up to date if they change addresses or phone numbers. 


Digital advertising

Like traditional advertising, digital advertising is a broad category. It includes any type of marketing and advertising that takes place online. Besides the digital strategies already mentioned, you might consider using these other digital methods for your company: 


Display advertising

Display ads are any type of online ad, like a banner at the top of a webpage or a pop-up when you open a website, apart from search engine ads. These ads are ubiquitous on the internet — you’ll find them on most webpages. Usually, they’re relatively inexpensive to create and post, and users can click on them directly to go to your website. 


Video advertising

Video advertising can take many forms. You can create in-depth educational videos to explain how to use your product to complete a specific project or compare the functionality of your product to a competitor’s product. You can post videos to the “stories” feature available on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to engage with followers. Video is very popular with consumers online, so including video advertising in your general advertising strategy is a worthwhile plan. 


Online directories

Online directories list your business’s contact information for customers to find. Usually, these sites also allow customers to post reviews and pictures to help potential customers decide if they want to visit your store. Yelp is the most popular online directory. 


Email marketing

Email marketing is the practice of sending targeted information, ads and benefits to customers and potential customers through email. Email marketing is a great tool for engaging with previous or current customers by sending them personalized content and suggestions for purchases based on their past orders or coupons for future orders. 

You have a number of options for advertising your business, both on and offline. It’s best to consider where your target customers primarily spend their time before committing to any one advertising strategy. In most cases, businesses benefit from creating a personalized advertising strategy that combines multiple methods, both traditional and digital. 

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