What are your main methods of promoting and selling your goods or services? Are you happy with these, or do you just regard advertising as a necessary expense which must not be allowed to encroach too much on your profits? Have you changed your advertising recently? How often do you review its effectiveness? What methods to you use to monitor the returns on your advertising, e.g. by measuring levels of response to advertisements against the costs of these, the numbers of telephone enquiries converted into sales, or your sales staff’s call rates and sales figures? How do your competitors promote their products? Do you compete head-on with these, or do you use different methods to sell your goods? What proportion of your sales revenue to you spend on sales and promotion, and do you think that this is adequate for current needs? Do you think you could increase your sales if you could afford more advertising? If so, why haven’t you tried it?

One of your main considerations is should your advertising be online, offline or both. If you have an online business then it makes sense to advertise online only. However if your business is large enough then you may want to reach out to larger audience by advertising offline too. Online advertising is usually cost effective and, most importantly, measurable. You can measure the following details:

  • how much you're spending
  • who you're spending it with
  • what your click through rate is
  • what your conversion rate is

and ultimately what your return on investment is. This is difficult to do in such a granular fashion with offline advertising.

So, if online advertising is the way to go, then what is the best method? The answer to this is that it really depends on your business. Some businesses will do better using Google Adwords which means paying for your listing on the Google search engine. You could pay for ads on other search engines, however Google has the largest market share in the western world.

Another option would be advertising on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These adverts can be finely honed and targetted towards your ideal customer. There is also the option of advertising on ad networks or in business directories, such as the Free UK Business Directory. These directories usually have high rankings with the search engines and help promote your site.

One of the most cost effective ways to market online is through a method called search engine optimisation. This involves technical and marketing knowhow though and can be quite a time consuming process with limited returns if you don't utilise an agency with SEO knowhow.

Unless you are a marketing expert, advertising and promotion can be an expensive and time-consuming business. Once you find an advertising medium that works reasonably well, it is all too easy to continue using it without subsequent review or revision, until it sometimes becomes outdated and ineffective without you having realized the fact. Sales and promotion activities need continuous revision and monitoring to keep you ahead (or at least alongside) the competition. It is particularly important to monitor your advertising expenditure against the results it generates.