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Should Your Small Business Still Advertise on Traditional Media Channels?

Author

Jeanne Grunert

More by Jeanne
Author

Jeanne Grunert

More by Jeanne

Today, so much emphasis is placed on digital marketing that traditional media for small businesses may seem a bit outdated. However, traditional media — direct mail, print advertising, billboards, events, trade shows, and television and radio advertisements — still has its place in the marketing mix alongside new digital advertising methods such as search engine marketing, social media ads and content marketing. The key to success is to understand how each method benefits your business, as this will allow you to choose the best marketing tactics to achieve your goals.

Using Traditional Media to Reach Local Audiences

Certain small businesses can benefit greatly from using traditional media channels. If your business depends heavily on local, in-person commerce, then it makes sense for you to advertise to a local audience through traditional marketing tactics. After all, many professionals who work in the restaurant, retail, automotive, medical or accounting industry may want to reach potential clients and customers within a set geographic radius. For example, it's unlikely that a doctor or dentist treats many patients who live outside of a 25-mile radius. Therefore, these types of business owners need to reach a local, targeted demographic.

Many local media outlets even have in-house creative departments that you can use to help you produce and prepare your advertisements. For example, a local newspaper may have a layout staff member who can help you create your ad, while a local cable channel may be able to provide you with a film crew that can help you create a 30-second commercial for an additional fee.

Traditional Media Channels

Many small, local businesses will likely find the following two channels to be ideal for their marketing needs. When finalizing your advertising strategy, just be sure to keep your budget, ideal customer and competition in mind.

  • Local Cable or Broadcast Television
    "Local television stations typically charge from $200 to $1,500 to create a 30-second commercial," according to the Houston Chronicle. Typically, these stations offer different packages based on the time of day the commercial will air. The price varies according to how many people are usually watching during a given time period. As such, you should ask your advertising rep for information on the viewer demographics during different time slots and choose the one that is likely to reach the largest number of people who fit your desired audience and customer persona.
  • Local Newspapers
    Newspapers divide pages up into columns, and advertisements are usually measured in column inches (a unit of space that is one column wide by one inch high). You can usually buy a full-page ad, a half-page ad, a quarter-page ad or a classified ad. If you have a camera-ready ad, the newspaper will simply have to print it. If you need the newspaper to create the ad in-house, you will need to pay extra for layout and design. Prices vary widely and are usually based on the paper's circulation size. Feel free to ask for the audited circulation report. Print publications work with independent auditing companies who verify their circulation figures for advertisers.

Using traditional media for small businesses is still a useful, viable strategy. While digital media is important, for certain small businesses, traditional marketing tactics can still be a good way to acquire, retain and build a solid customer base.

Click here for more tips on small business advertising.