Advertising has been around since the first business owner wanted to get the word out about their product. While some basic concepts are age-old, others change as technology and personal preferences shift. It's easy to get distracted with advertising myths that simply don't stand up to scrutiny.
Spending on digital advertising alone is a $108.6 billion industry in the United States. While some companies have big budgets, others only have a few dollars. To spend your money wisely, figure out what is truth, what is a myth, and make sure you carefully track every penny you spend.
There are nine popular myths about advertising that you should throw out in 2020.
Myth #1 — Print Design Doesn't Matter Anymore
Print marketing has changed as we've moved to a more digital world, but it's far from dead. Businesses can still find many opportunities to brand themselves using print media. Sending a physical postcard to a customer about a special sale may increase revenue more than zipping out an email. Don't overlook options such as bulletin boards, newspaper ads and magazine space.
Myth #2 — Local Ads Are for Service Businesses
More than 66% of people wouldn't care if most brands disappeared. To keep your audience engaged, you need to connect with them on a personal level. You might think that local advertising is only for companies that directly serve the community, such as autobody shops or local restaurants. Even if you primarily sell online or to people outside your area, the support of the local community is helpful for your business.
Being a well-known name extends beyond your locality as people share your posts online with others in their circle. This strategy can help you attract top job candidates in your field, as they'll think of your brand when looking for a new place to kick start their careers.
Myth #3 — Print Signage Is Too Expensive
While buying a big sign for the front of your store can cost a lot of money, there are many other banners and window decals that can help you draw in passersby. Small signs of about five feet, called feather flags, hang on a pole and can advertise special events, sales, re-openings or simply draw attention.
Think about the people you're trying to attract to your business and what they'd respond to best. Create custom signs and add them to the outside of your building. You'll spend far less than you would on most other forms of advertising, and you can use the banners over and over again.
Myth #4 — Television Ads Are for Big Corporations
When you think about television advertising, the first thing that comes to mind might be a primetime Super Bowl commercial. Only the largest companies with big wallets can afford those types of slots, but that doesn't mean you can't get on the screen. Smaller budgets should look to local channels and stay away from prime time. You'll pay for every 1,000 viewers or so.
Make sure you advertise to the right audience at the ideal time. If you want to reach local homeowners, a slot in the early morning or afternoon during a home improvement show would be an excellent choice. One business owner advertised on local cable TV and saw a 20% increase in sales — even during a typically slow period. Another option is to gain a guest spot on a local talk show, something that won't cost you anything.
Myth #5 — Radio Ads Are Long Dead
Radio is still relevant in 2020. In a recent survey, researchers found radio reaches more adults each week than any other medium, with 228.5 million people tuning in. Drivers listen while commuting to and from work or running errands. You have a captive audience without the same distractions as other forms of advertising.
Slots during morning and afternoon commutes reach more people but are costly. However, people drive at all different times, so don't rule out a less expensive time.
Myth #6 — Social Media Is Too Crowded
As of 2017, 90% of companies market on social media. There are also 2.95 billion people on different platforms, with the numbers rising to an estimated 3.43 billion by 2023. Even though you'll find a lot of noise online, there are plenty of opportunities to reach new customers.
One of the most significant advantages of advertising on Facebook, for example, is that you can target the exact people you want to reach. Create an audience with a specific age range, gender or special interests. You'll need to provide quality content and find unique ways to offer information, but digital advertising is highly effective.
Myth #7 — You Don't Need a Website
It might be tempting just to set up a Facebook page and not have a website. The real problem with only promoting your brand on social media is that you put your customer database in someone else's hands. If Facebook — or any other platform — decides your page violates some unknown rule, your page and followers disappear, and there isn't anything you can do about it.
Social media is a great advertising medium, but utilize it to send traffic to your site and collect leads for your database. The more control you have, the more secure your efforts in building your company will be.
Myth #8 — Small Businesses Can't Afford to Advertise
You should allot some of your budget to marketing, even if your overall revenue is tiny. You can find many inexpensive ways to get the word out. Hang flyers on people's doors in your community, or set up a booth at a local event. Give a speech to a local group in your area and pass out literature.
Online, you can set up ad campaigns with a cap on the amount you spend. Try as little as $1 a day to start. You don't have to pay a lot of money to reach your audience.
Myth #9 — People Find Re-targeting Intrusive
Have you ever visited a site, decided against purchasing the item, and gotten an email the next day from them with a special offer? When people take the time to browse your website, put something in a cart or click on a link on Facebook, they're interested in what you offer. Retargeting provides them with a second chance to buy. Many customers enjoy retargeted ads because it speaks directly to their personalized wants and needs.
Watch the Advertising Trends in 2020
One universal truth in advertising is that things change as fast as you adapt to them. Pay attention to shifts in technology and advertising trends, and test out different methods to see what works best with your target audience. No effort is wasted — it's either a success or a learning experience.