You’re a small business and you want to advertise. But have you asked yourself some simple questions?

Blackpool franchisee Andy Atkinson talks through the key things you should know before signing on the dotted line.

‘What is your objective?’

Most of the time people automatically think ‘my business is quiet, so I need to advertise’. That’s all well and good, but what is your real aim?

Everyone says their aim is to get more customers. Of course it is. But when do you need more customers?

I always talk to people about their business and find out if they are a Monday to Sunday business, if it’s the day or night when the majority of customers come in, and when their busy and quiet periods are. It’s only then you can really pinpoint their aims and objectives.

‘Where are your customers?’

It’s a simple question but one too many businesses are surprised when I ask. Of course they know the answer to this, but it’s not always at the forefront on their minds when it comes to advertising.

Covering a blanket area over the radio or through your local newspaper is all well and good, but what if your customers only come from a small portion of that area?

I always like asking this question because the nature of what we do means we can target specific areas where our customers want to reach.

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‘What works well so far?’

I always think it’s worth really listening to your customers and what they are telling you. You’re essentially finding out what you are doing well so far, and what you can do to bring more people in.

If you’re a hairdresser and you know most of your customers are women who want a cut and colour, then produce an offer based on this.

People sometimes think it undermines their product if they offer it for a lower price for a period of time. That’s not the case. Genuine offers are genuine offers.

We always encourage our customers to put a valid date on offers relative to their services.

If you’re a window company then a short period of time won’t work for you, because people either need windows or they don’t.

If you’re a hairdresser you want to offer a two month window because you know most women will want to come back every six weeks.

It’s a simple case of asking the right questions and putting together advertising that will work for you.