Professional marketers are always on hand to tell you how to run your business, and they might even come with advice that translates into costly advertising programs.
But is it worth it?
There's no denying that investing into getting your name out there as an interior design specialist or professional painter will make people more aware of you and your company, but even professional advertisers can't guarantee exactly what kind of results you can expect.
One option is to compromise. You can run advertisements, just not where they will cost you an arm and a leg. So you could for example, avoid television advertisements, internet banners and billboards, but you could look at some cheaper alternatives to see if they work for you.
Radio is a relatively cheap form of advertising, and it is a great way to target an audience because of different station's demographics.
If you are an adept writer you can write your own ad, you could ask a friend (bribe them) for some useful turns of phrase, or you can hire a professional. Radio stations will often include creative writing in the cost of your advertisements for new advertisers or offer it as an extra service.
The newspaper is still a relevant form of advertising medium as it offers the reader time to fully digest the information you're giving them. If your business is focused on a specific geographical area, often it’s best to focus on local newspapers that cover your exact area rather than opting for larger newspapers that will cost more and reach those well outside your area.
However, think carefully about the information you wish to convey as too much information in a small space will make it difficult for the reader to digest.
Think about whether any of the projects you do are newsworthy. Perhaps you’ve won an award for workmanship or have helped provide painting expertise to a charitable project. Either of these might be of interest to a local paper for an article if you get in touch with them.
Another cost effective advertising strategy is to use direct mail.
If you have a physical list of clients you might use that to send information about a promotion you're currently running, or simply offering your services. Or if do a maildrop around the project you are working on next or currently working on letting them know you are in the area or will be soon and see if you can attract more work in the same area. If you need some fresh air over a lunchbreak period or at the end of the day, use the time to do small maildrops around the area.
If you keep a record of client contact details as you complete work, you could then use this to send client’s reminders for house cleaning, repaints or other work that you identified would need doing in the future when you were last at their home. Much like a dentist or doctor may send you an annual reminder, you can do the same by email, post or even by phone.
Remember that direct mail can be a targeted email or a letter in the post – just remember to make sure the content you're sending is relevant and useful!