What a lovely way to start a new blog post - with a dirty word like advertising.
It has to be done of course, no business is going to last without it in some form or another. I once knew a man who was running a very successful restaurant and every time the local newspapers contacted him offering him a free feature he would turn them down because he 'didn't need to advertise' as he was 'already successful'. Do you know where I saw him last? In the jobcentre, a broken man.
So, which is the best way to advertise? My friend believed in the power of 'word of mouth' and yes it is powerful, he moved from working in someone else's restaurant to opening his own and word of mouth was all he used but it could not sustain the business.
I use a variety of different forms of advertising:
Business cards, these are wonderful little adverts if done right, I use moo.com minicards mainly, and have different bag designs printed on the back of each of them so not only does the person get all the details of where to find us but they also get a sneaky peek at one of the designs available. I literally hand them to people in the supermarket checkout queue!
Flyers, more work involved in these, specifically foot work as they need to be distributed, in the summer they get left under car windscreen wipers but in the winter that would be a waste of time and nobody appreciates a sludgy mess on their windscreen! So they have to be delivered to houses or handed out in the street (generally both).
Online, with google ads, fun to put together (not really) but quite pricey and not as effective as some would have you believe (not for us anyway)
Thomson Local/Yellow Pages and their online equivalents, new to using these so can't yet tell if they will be successful for us but at least the word should be getting out there...
Networking on social media sites, yes really all that chatting we do on Facebook and Twitter is really just cheap advertising, (I've tried the paid promotions on both sites and won't be bothering again)
Blogging! Yes even this is advertising! You want a new bag? You might just remember our name. ;)
So now you know how we do it, any suggestions?