10 Dec 2018, 11:38 — 4 min read
Advertising in any form, whether it’s word-of-mouth, online banner ads or handing out fliers on street corners, is something all SMEs have to figure out. In every case, they’ll be faced with free and paid advertising options.
You may be quick to assume that the two are completely different and should be taken as so - but the smart entrepreneur knows this isn’t the case. You don’t have to choose between the two - or specifically, you don’t have to prioritize free advertising just because it’s free.
Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and that’s why they should work hand in hand. After all, the best rewards come from investment - which is why you should take time to understand the pros and cons of both forms of advertising.
The biggest problem with free advertising is that it has very limited reach. The only places to advertise for free are in the classifieds. There are dozens of websites that allow anyone to put up any ads they want: olx.ph, pinoydeal.ph, freeads.ph, the list goes on. And of course, there are as many ways to promote your product on social media. But the only people these ads are going to reach are those who are actively looking for them, and even if someone happens to stumble upon your ad, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be relevant to them.
But of course, free advertising is free. You’ve literally got nothing to lose, so of course you should take this shot in the dark, in the hopes that someone may take the bait.
On the other hand, paid advertising has more advantages as well as more drawbacks than its free counterpart. Online paid advertising allows your ads to reach specifically the kinds of people you want them to. For example, if your business sells car accessories, you can advertise on a car blog and have 100% relevancy.
Also, online paid advertising generally utilizes a pay-per-click model, meaning that you only need to pay for anything if the people seeing your ads are engaging with them too. It creates a much higher chance of people buying things immediately after visiting your site.
But the biggest advantage paid online advertising offers is that it creates awareness for your brand in the communities your brand is targeting. Even if you’re not selling anything directly, people will find out that you exist.
The big drawback lies in having to pay for it. You’ll most definitely have to allot a sizeable investment, especially if you want to compete with bigger and better-funded companies.
Additionally, while the pay-per-click model is a commendable idea, there’s an underlying disclaimer: just because people are engaging with your ads doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll end up buying anything. You could end up paying for an ad campaign that is only working out for the advertiser and not for you, and that could go on indefinitely.
In the long run, there are benefits and disadvantages to every new venture you make in your business. It’s all a matter of studying and carefully planning out your marketing strategies, assessing your resources, and knowing what and when to invest.
There’s no need to choose between paid and free advertising. Most definitely, you should advertise for free, and do it immediately. When you feel you’re ready, regardless of whether or not the free advertising has been working as well as you hoped, give paid advertising a shot. This way, you’ll be reaping rewards from both methods, and making progress on your branding every step of the way.
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