Advertising your business

An introduction

 

Published in the St. Helena Independent, 23rd March 2012

St. Helena Independent [Burgh House:Advertising your business]


Advertising your business An introduction [Burgh House:Advertising your business]

I’ll start by answering the most fundamental question: “Why would you want to advertise the business anyway?” Then I’ll talk about ways to advertise on St. Helena and how to decide between them.

In most places, promoting a business is almost automatic. When I first arrived here I was surprised, and more than a little frustrated, at how few businesses did advertise. Many weren’t even in the ‘phone book. As a new arrival it can be hard to find out who does what, or even if anybody does it. Even after seven years I’m still discovering businesses that have always been here; I just didn’t know about them.

St. Helena, as I’m sure you’re already bored with being told, is about to undergo the biggest change in its economy since the demise of the flax industry in the 1960s. Many more people will be coming here who do not know how to get a key cut, or a watch repaired, or some packages shifted from the wharf to their new home. Advertising has to be the way forward.

Let’s look at the common reasons for advertising a business:

Can you really say none of these applies to your business, and not one of them ever will?

Advertising, however, costs money, and no business wants to waste its financial resources. It’s commonly joked that half the money you spend on advertising is wasted, but you cannot work out which half. Actually, though, there are things you can do to minimise the wastage. If you’re considering placing an advert, on radio or in a local newspaper, think about these things:

Notice I didn’t include “cost”. What matters is not simple cost: it’s value for money. “Bang for buck”, as it’s sometimes called. An advert costing £40 that reaches 2,000 potential customers is a better use of your money than one costing only £20 but which reaches only 500. To assess value for money you need to ask two questions:

  1. How many people does this station/newspaper reach; and

  2. How many of these are likely to buy my product or service?

In environments with more developed media, all the radio, TV and newspaper businesses publish comprehensive statistics showing how many people they reach and what kind of people these are. An American business selling a product for teenagers will advertise with a radio station that is popular with that audience. That doesn’t (yet!) happen here, largely because all the radio stations and newspapers have the same audience. For you that makes life easier because you only need to know their overall circulation. The calculation is really simple: divide the circulation of the newspaper by the cost of the advert and go for the one with the biggest result.

In this brief article I can’t hope to answer all your questions about advertising but the pointers above should help. If you want to discuss advertising your business, please contact us.

 

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