Deliver value to your reader right away.
That’s the most important tip that you’re going to read in this piece. If you want to know how to advertise small business when you’re on a budget, when you don’t have the time and money to produce content just for the sake of “getting the word out,” the best thing that your marketing can possibly be is efficient.
This doesn’t mean writing ad copy that screams “CLICK HERE AND BUY SOMETHING.” Efficiency means no wasted words, and leading with a pushy call to action will always be a waste of words. We’re not talking about being pushy, we’re not talking about being impatient with your prospects, we’re talking about getting to the point. Or rather: getting to the points.
Good, efficient marketing needs to do two things:
- Get your prospect’s attention
Easier said than done. Online media is incredibly oversaturated and we’ve gotten quite good at tuning out the noise. This is precisely why efficiency is so important, this is why (for better or worse) clickbait headlines work with their tendency towards teasing. You gain attention by piquing your prospect’s curiosity. The writers at Buzzfeed know that “You Won’t Believe What This Dog Does Next!” generates more clicks than “This Dog Jumps Through A Hoop.”
- Deliver the goods
It’s easy to bait a prospect into clicking, but bait-and-switch is a lot easier than bait-and-deliver. Promise your prospect something they want to see, something they want to buy, and then give it to them. Getting a click isn’t the point, getting the prospect to take action is the point.
From here it comes down to good writing, and if you’re hiring writers, here’s a secret to producing great web copy: 100 words from a writer who charges ten cents a word will almost always do you a lot more good than 1,000 from someone who charges a penny a word. “It’s awful, but there’s lots of it” may work for budget buffets, but in ad copy, it doesn’t hook a prospect like punchy, to-the-point marketing.
This isn’t to say that “The shorter the better” is an inflexible rule set in stone. A 100 word DMV driver’s manual isn’t going to help you learn to be a better driver. But, if you can fit something into 100 words, don’t try to stretch it out to 500. Be succinct, be efficient, get to the point, and prove to your prospect that you’re not interested in wasting their time.
Writer Bio: Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in rural New Mexico with his wife and his dog, Sir Kay.