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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Outdoor advertising - making a big impact

Outdoor advertising on billboards, at bus stops and train stations and in taxis is affordable for most small businesses and can be highly effective. If you walk around your local area, you'll soon spot just how many opportunities there are to promote your business with OOH (out-of-home) advertising.

Outdoor advertising for local businesses

For any small firm with a local clientele, outdoor advertising using posters and advertising hoardings lets you spread the word about your business to local people.

For example, a fish and chip shop could advertise at a nearby bus stop, or a local taxi firm could advertise at a train station. You can target the right audience, right at the place and time where they might want your services.

There are outdoor advertising spaces wherever you look - on phone boxes, at bus stops, in bus and train stations, in shopping centres and at your local gym.

How much do billboards and posters cost?

Many small firms don't even consider the idea of outdoor advertising because they think it's out of their league and beyond their budget. In fact, many people don't realise how cost-effective it is. Because big brands use it, they assume it's too expensive for smaller enterprises.

In fact, it's affordable for almost every firm. The average cost of billboard advertising is around £200 per week for a standard 48-sheet hoarding.

An ad on the side of a bus stop on a busy high street could cost around £300 for two weeks' exposure.

What makes a good outdoor advert?

There are certain rules for billboard and poster advertising.

  1. The messaging should be concise. Eight words maximum is a good rule of thumb. It's also good to use a picture of a person, as people are drawn to eyes. Humour usually gets a good response.
  2. Small firms don't have to be too creative. If you're a plumber, that is what you do - just list the services you offer, and give clear contact information, professionally presented. You should get a good response.
  3. If you want to raise awareness generally, then the more sites the better. But if you want people to take action, you can be tactical with a few well-positioned ads.
  4. Transit advertising, such as at bus and train stations, or at airports, is a great option. People spend a longer time there than at other sites. Any billboard that is positioned where people have to wait is more likely to be seen and remembered.

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