Advertising is an essential strategy for the growth of any business. In fact, for the first time ever, digital advertising this year will equal TV ad sales, according to a recent report from MAGNA. In today’s crowded marketplace, companies must invest in the right resources, including people, technology and integrated marketing techniques, in order to thrive. We’ve compiled a list of six fundamental advertising strategies to keep top of mind when starting or revamping your overall business plan.

1. Know who your customers are and when to advertise to them.

A solid understanding of your target customer serves as the basis for all of your marketing efforts. By defining your potential customers up front, you’re able to tailor your marketing efforts more effectively, increase your cost efficiency, and have much more focus on prospects who are most likely to use your product or service.

Whatever your product or service, establish the core values it offers, and then make connections to the demographic groups that prioritize these values. Customer characteristics can include: age, gender, buying habits, industry, geographic location, hobbies and interests.

It’s important to continuously monitor your market’s conditions, as well as your target audience, and make adjustments along the way in order to stay profitable.

Related: 4 Phases of Market Research to Ensure Success

2. Create edge in the market with creative branding.

Establishing an identity for your business is essential to creating awareness and building customer loyalty. A consistent style and tone of voice will resonate with your customers over time, and become easily recognizable to your best customers.

Entrepreneur.com’s article The Basics of Branding says, “Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offerings from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials — all of which should integrate your logo — communicate your brand.

3. Be able to tell your brand’s unique story.

Beth Comstock once said, “You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything.”

Storytelling and marketing go hand-in-hand; therefore it’s imperative to capture your audience’s attention with a great story.

Authentic storytelling taps into people’s emotions and helps build strong relationships with customers. Your brand’s story should add value to your company’s history — how and why your company came to be — and show passion for its future growth strategy in a way that consumers can believe in. Your brand’s story should also be about your customers, addressing their pain points or needs, and communicating to them the value they receive with your product or service.

How you tell your story is just as important as the story itself. Remember to be consistent with your company’s communication style and tone of voice that you established with your overall brand identity so to not confuse the customer.

4. Build the best experience for your customers.

Focus on building relationships rather than sales. Revenue will grow once you begin to understand and fulfill the needs of your customers. Focus on simple and quality interactions with your customers that help address their needs. Oftentimes, a gesture as small as a smile, how a customer is greeted, the ambiance in the room, or even their online transactions can make a big difference in the overall experience.

Identify ways you can go the extra mile during touch points with your customers, whether in person, on the phone or online. By putting in a little extra effort to exceed your customers’ expectations, your business is sure to attract customers who not only come back for more, but also share their experience with others. According to Neilsen, 92 percent of Americans trust recommendations from family and friends (i.e. word of mouth) more than any other form of marketing.

Finally, collect your customers’ feedback to know whether they are satisfied with their experience. If used properly, this feedback can identify ways to enhance current processes or remedy any existing issues that may be a deterrent for future sales.

Related: Social Customer Service; Customer service best practices: Making social media a two-way conversation

5. Network, network, network.

For small and medium-sized businesses, networking is crucial to your personal growth and overall business development. Networking is great for building relationships and potential partnerships with other people who can help you gain more exposure for your business. It creates opportunities for sharing knowledge about your industry with other ambitious people who share similar interests.

By regularly participating in social events, community forums, trade shows and even serving on a local advisory board, you’re able to build a reliable reputation as a business owner who helps support the needs of the community — recognizing that the people of this community are also your potential customers. Research your local market to discover networking opportunities and events related to your industry and target audience.

Also, view the JAX Chamber events calendar for more local happenings.

6. Work with a local media partner.

Media partners, like Times-Union Media, can work with your company to develop a tailored digital marketing, advertising and lead generation strategy to help grow your business. It’s the media company’s responsibility to stay up-to-date on the latest marketing and advertising trends, and so they are able to offer additional resources, insights and services to fit your needs.

At Times-Union Media, we are local, and we are in business for local businesses. We work to create strong partnerships with our local customers, understanding their specific goals and creating custom solutions that add value to their business. Our portfolio is extensive, and ever-growing.

To learn how we can help you grow your local business, give us a call at 904.359.4318, or fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch soon.

Like what you read? Looking for additional tips and tricks to help your small or medium-sized business succeed? Check out more of our blog posts here.