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    Advertising tips for small creative businesses

    Today's post is by guest blogger Jes Egan of Paper Chap. Welcome, Jes!

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    Creativity is in my blood. I come from a mad creative family and I had a pretty conservative schooling, which I tried to conform to, but in the end the creative flair won and I went and studied design at university. Being surrounded by creative people is inspiring and a guarantee you’ll get a taste for coffee or wine. Or both, as in my case. Upon graduation, I went travelling. However, in fighting some of the madness of my upbringing, a sensible and practical person developed alongside my creativity. So instead of sticking to being a designer, I went to what I aptly call the ‘dark side’ and became a ‘suit’ in the account management department of some of the biggest advertising agencies in the UK and Australia.

    Now days, my brain is back in creative mode and I run my own little business, Paper Chap. My creative outlet, illustrated and hand cut paper cuts that I can make with love. My practical side still exists however, and it is possible to be creative and business minded, it just doesn’t always come naturally. I share my practical side with design students, lecturing in ‘Design and Business’ at Billy Blue College of Design.

    My past life in big-brand advertising has taught me many things that can be applied to a creative business and successful brand.

    Find your point of difference.

    There is so much competition, there are other companies who do what you do, just under a different brand. But you will have a point of difference (POD), this might be service, design, price, it can be anything that is a benefit to the end user and is different to your competitors. Find out what yours is, if you can’t pin point what it is then neither will your customer. Once you know what your POD is you can use this to your advantage. We are so used to choice these days, we expect it and we make informed purchasing decisions daily. Stand out from your competitors, be bold and show how you differentiate yourself.

    Know your audience.

    It doesn’t matter what type of business that you are in, knowing your audience is paramount. You can waste time, effort and money targeting the wrong audience. Depending on what you do there are numerous different ways to find out who your audience are and if you are a small business one of the best ways to do this is look at your existing clients/customers. So many key learnings/insights can be taken from them.

    Be targeted.

    When you know who your audience is target them specifically, this will save you time, effort and money. For example if your audience frequent certain types of websites or publications, or favours Facebook over LinkedIn, put your time and efforts into those places. Be it paid advertising or just doing it on your own, you are eliminating wastage and sending your message to places where your audience is.

    Chose your social media sites carefully.

    You don’t have to use all the social media channels out there, chose what will reach your audience best and focus on those. Don’t over stretch yourself, if you are selling a creative service or product then visual channels might work best for you such as Instagram or Pinterest. If you sell a service then maybe LinkedIn, Twitter etc are better. It will be depend on where your audience is participating in social media as to where you need to be.

    Be on message.

    Often businesses try and cram every message they want to say into a very small space. This can dilute your message and make it really confusing for your audience to understand what you are trying to get across. Try and stay single minded. Even if it is a tweet or a Facebook post, if you have two things to say, do two messages. It might sounds simple and that is the point, it should be simple. It will take little time and effort and be more effective.

    It is better to pay more for fewer ads in the right places than less for multiple ads in the wrong places.

    Does paying for advertising work? Given my background, this is often a question I am asked. Without doubt, it you have the budget to pay for advertising then yes it can pay off. It can build your brand awareness and potentially convert into sales and hopefully you’ll get a decent return on your investment. But if you’re going to do it, do it properly. Make sure your creative is on message, targeted and made well. Also, make sure you are hitting your audience - don’t try hit the masses by buying cheap ad spaces across as many channels as you can. It goes back to knowing your audience. Don’t let your add get lost or ignored.

     

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    Putting yourself and your creative business 'out there' can be easier said then done, I know. Particularly if your heart is entrenched in what you do, which is often the case in the creative world. But there are so many ways to put effectively advertise and market your business while staying true to your values and integrity, it's just about making an educated decision on which avenue you want to explore and being creative with your budget.

    Jes is a ‘practical creative’ with a past life in advertising. These days Jes is an artist, lecturer, and small business owner who can be found cutting up a storm at paperchap.com. Follow Jes on Instagram and Facebook

    {Image by Jes!}

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Marketing and Social Media Basics, Starting a Business | Comments Off on Advertising tips for small creative businesses

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