It is my belief that publicity marketing should be the cornerstone of your business. Why do I say this? As a small business owner, I know how tight our budgets can be, especially when first starting a business.
The experiences I have had with paid advertising aren't great. The results can be pretty bleak. I have bought advertising in well-circulated media that has only netted me a couple of clients. Yet before I pay for the ad, other people tell me to be prepared for a rush of business after the ad is published. I have seen other businesses experience the same poor results. One hair salon owner I worked with had a local radio station in her parking lot giving out prizes. Meanwhile, the location and information about her business were being broadcast throughout the day. A few clients came into the shop at best after that event. The hair salon shut down shortly after this.
The problem is, some entrepreneurs buy advertising out of desperation and promises of a flood of customers coming through the door. I have never met a small business owner who has had this experience after paid advertising.
Why the poor results? I believe it is because, these days, people are so inundated with advertising that one paid ad campaign makes a small dent on their consciousness. Also I believe people are becoming cynical. There are so many false promises in the advertising world.
So why choose publicity marketing? First of all, having your name in print or mentioned in an interview is huge. The credibility you gain in the eyes of the consumer is at least ten-fold over what you would gain from a paid ad.
Publicity marketing takes more effort. You have to write press releases and solicit interviews, among other things. However the pay-off in the long run can be great in terms of client base and building celebrity status in your community. Besides, I find this type of marketing is fun and can really stimulate your imagination. The results you gain are only limited by your creativity, effort, and enthusiasm.
Marketing in this way may not get you the instant results so often promised by paid advertising, but it is my hope that you know that getting rich quick does not usually happen. You are looking at at least a good two years to establish your business and that is with persistent marketing.
So should you ditch paid advertising altogether? I don't think so. However if one paid ad is going to be a hardship on your pocket book, I would stick with publicity until you improve your financial situation.