Each business requires a carefully tailored marketing and advertising
plan to pinpoint its reach and grab the most desired customers, or "target
market". There is no "one size fits all" solution. However,
certain basic guidelines can help you set the right course:
(1) Print a good-quality business card which effectively communicates
who you are and what you do.
(2) Decide who your "target market" is. This is the intersection
between whom you wish to sell to, and who you think will actually buy
your product or service. For example, if you are selling pizza, you
might do best giving your pizzeria a catchy name like "Extreme
Pizza", locating your business near a college or university, placing
ads and specials in the student newspaper and distributing colorful
flyers around campus. If instead you wished to target an market of upscale
professionals, you could name your pizzeria Romana or Primavera, plan
an elegant design for your menu and store interior and tailor your advertising
to publications popular with that market.
(3) Set a workable budget for brochures, websites, print advertisements
and other marketing "collateral". Be judicious about allocating
(4) Consider a Yellow Pages ad, or at least a plain text listing, especially
if you are opening a retail store. At the same time, be aware that bigger
advertising is not necessarily better. Although a full-page color ad
in the Yellow Pages might be perfect for a pizzeria, it won't necessarily
sell more beads.
(5) Pick several local newspapers or industry newsletters that you
feel may reach your audience. Advertising sales departments can provide
you with the demographics of their reading audience, e.g. their age,
income, occupation, sex, and outside interests. Compare the demographics
of these target publications with your desired market.
(6) Use common sense when formulating your advertising plan. If your
store sells itself simply by being located smack in the middle of the
best shopping area in Miami, you may not need an inordinate amount of
advertising at all.
The key is to know your market. If you open a local copy shop, basic
local newspaper and yellow pages ads and a few seasonal direct mail
coupons may be your best bet. Print a good business card and drop it
off at local businesses and institutions that may likely need your services
in the future. Get to know the office managers at these businesses,
and drop off sale notices.
Retail Stores: The Grand Opening
Many stores choose to stage a "grand opening" in which they offer opening
specials and stage an advertising "blitz" in local papers and by direct
mail. A kick-off sale on certain items, a "buy one, get one free" enticement
often brings people in. Place some large banners and balloons in front
of the store to let people know you are open for business. Consider
a grand opening a special celebration that can bring in a needed boost
of initial "buzz" for your store.