How to Advertise Your Small Business

Very broadly, advertisements – and advertising generally – can be divided into two categories, selective and non-selective.

With selective advertisements you will be aiming your material at particular groups or categories of potential customer, whom you have previously identified. This identification could well be one of the results of your self-questioning exercise – which makes the time spent on that task even more worthwhile.

One advantage of selective advertising is that you can be very precise in your material, perhaps even to the extent of incorporating a modest jargon word or two, since your target audience will understand. It might also create a (subconscious) impression on the readers that you know what you are talking about – which, of course, you do.

Small Business

Non-selective advertising on the other hand, by its very nature, must be more general in its approach, striking a balance between being too basic or elementary for those in the know, and inviting the person who is unfamiliar with the subject matter to find out more.

This leads us neatly into the well-used advertising formula AIDA – which is particularly applicable to non-selective advertising, for what AIDA aims to do, through the advertising material, is to:

  • Gain the Attention of the reader
  • Hold the Interest of the reader
  • Create a Desire in the reader for your product or service
  • Stimulate Action in the reader to BUY

which, after all, is the sole purpose of advertisements. It is the route toward this target which needs careful planning. Advertisements cost money: ineffective advertisements waste money. There are three main sources of expense involved in advertisements: firstly, the design and layout of your message; secondly, the actual production of the advertisement and finally the distribution of the advertisement.

Design and layout

Even if you undertake this yourself, remember your time is money, so there is still an expense involved. It could be worth your while enlisting the help of someone who is knowledgeable in copywriting and layout. At the very least study the advertisements of businesses promoting a similar product or service to yours. Compile a scrapbook for easy reference – this could help you devise a design and layout of your own.


This includes the expense of the actual custom screen printing process, and everything which leads up to that moment, like setting up the text, and producing plates.

You can get advertising material printed in several different ways, and of course the cost will vary. One of the best ways to get leaflets printed is to take a disk containing the final, formatted copy, or else camera-ready copy (CRC) printed on a high-resolution printer to your copyshop or print shop. Make sure your system and the printer’s system are compatible.

Full-colour glossy brochures will need the advice and professionalism of an experienced printer, and will be more expensive. You should think about your company’s image when deciding which is right for you.

One very useful tip at this stage – always proofread any advertising material; if possible get someone else to do it as well. This can save a lot of heartache when an error is discovered after the print run is completed.

Filed Under: General How To's


About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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