Gary Brewster, Oneida Businessman, Talks Small Business Advertising

Small business owners often struggle with advertising, but they don’t have to. Take it from a successful entrepreneur in Oneida, Gary Brewster, who has over 25 years of experience in growing and nurturing business ventures.

Most small companies have limited budgets for advertising and want to get the most bang for the buck. The big question is, how? The best advice is to diversify. Find several ways to promote your small business and try using Gary Brewster of Oneida‘s six suggestions to get the most out of those promos.

Know Your Demographics

Before hiring someone to make expensive ads, know your demographics. Who are you trying to reach? What are your customer’s ages and contact preferences? What is your goal for this advertising? Use what you know to match the best advertising with the target demographic.

For instance, buying an expensive billboard on the interstate just outside of town for customers that mostly live in town isn’t useful. Unless your goal is to try to get others from surrounding areas in your business, that advertising isn’t reaching who you want it to reach. Use demographics to the advantage of the company rather than take a hit or miss approach.

Pro Tip: Capitalize on social media. Most ads are free or cost only a few dollars on social media. Use different platforms to reach different demographics. Many of the social media platforms will track and target specific groups you’d like to reach, saving you tons of time.

Hire and Shop Local

When you own a small business, you want people to shop local, shop small. When finding advertising options, practice what you preach. Use local print shops, radio stations, television stations, newspapers, and more. Keeping it local is bringing your small business full circle. It is maintaining revenue in your community and encouraging others in town to follow your lead. Cultivate those critical local connections.

Pro Tip: A “You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours” approach works well for small businesses and effectively doubles the number of people both companies reach. Spotlight another local business on your social media page, then let that business do the same for you.

For example, a local boutique can spotlight the local radio station for helping them create a new ad spot and requesting that customers listen for it. The radio station can then spotlight the local boutique in their social media posts welcoming their latest advertiser. Ask to partner. Most fellow businesses see the benefits and will jump at the chance to work with another local business.

Reward Word of Mouth Sales

Let your customers know that you appreciate referrals and good reviews if they are happy with your service and product. Find a small way to reward referrals. Whether it be a shout out on social media, discount, or freebie, encourage your loyal customers to spread the word about your business.

Pro Tip: Check national, state, and local tax laws, but often promo items are tax deductible. Stock up and be ready to reward those who spread the right word about the business.

Use National Product Ads to Your Advantage

Pointing out nationally advertised products capitalizes on ads seen by just about everyone. Those expensive national ad campaigns can work to the advantage of a small business if you carry those products. For example, a small drug store carries a nationally advertised pain reliever. A print ad that promotes this pain reliever at your store can use the brand strength and advertising power of that corporation to promote the product and the small business.

The small business was only out the cost of a local print ad. Capitalize on product brand recognition. Most national brands allow stores that carry their products to use their images for promotions. Check to be sure, though.

Pro Tip: On your small business social media pages, repost the product ad from its social media. For example, the drug store promoting a nationally advertised pain reliever should share/repost what that pain relievers social media pages are posting. It promotes the product and helps the small business use the products national ad campaign.

Promote Positive Reviews on Social Media

Everyone has an opinion, and most love to share it. To get good publicity going, encourage customers to share that opinion. Stickers on customer bags, bag inserts, or messages on cash register receipts are great ways to ask customers to offer opinions.

Word the suggestion to promote positive comments, though. A small business will never be able to control what is said on social media about them completely, but asking for positive reviews will get several responses. A discount or other reward might even be offered for anyone willing to leave a positive review.

Pro Tip: Request reviews be left where they can be approved first. For example, ask customers to post positive experiences with your business on social media sites that the owner of the page must approve before showing up on the business page. While a business can not control all the many places people can review and leave comments online, some sites give more options than others.

Sponsorships and Donations Serve a Two-Fold Purpose

Many small businesses use a great deal of their advertising budget to sponsor worthwhile causes in their area. This not only gets the word out about their business but does some good along the way. Businesses sponsor sports teams, charitable run/walks, health fairs at local colleges, and other local events.

The amount of publicity the small business gets is usually well worth the cost of sponsorship. Linking yourself with sponsorships locally continues to show the business is invested in the community and will draw customers because of it.

Pro Tip: Ask your accountant how to label these deductions in the books. Often, it cannot be considered a donation and advertising. Usually, a business can only mark it as one or the other. Let the experts decide where it will benefit your business the most on taxes.

Small businesses can get a lot for their advertising dollar if carefully considered. Using social media, spending strategically, and cultivating local resources will help a small business effectively and precisely advertise.

About Gary Brewster:

A pioneer in the roofing space in Oneida, Gary Brewster is a seasoned business owner and commercial roofing expert. He started his career in roofing over 25 years ago, before moving on to invest in other successful businesses such as Brewco LLC., and T&T Car Wash. Driven by a mission to serve others, Gary is best known for serving on the Board of the nonprofit Operation Sharing.