In today's world of business, it is more important than ever to not only maximize your current customer base's engagement with your brand, but to increase that customer base as much as possible. While that may seem like a major oversimplification, the simple truth is that the more customers you have, the more product you can produce, and that equals growth. The problem for many businesses is that, to grow, you need to advertise, and the cost of advertising can often be prohibitively high. The solution is to find effective means of advertising that not only fit into your budget, but that offer a return on investment that warrants its use. One great way of doing this is through visual advertising at, and around, your place of business.

Advertising Specialties

For the sake of this article, we're going to focus on local advertising for a traditional brick and mortar business, rather than an online entity. For local companies, a large percentage of your customers live within 5-10 miles of your business location. However, many of them either shop elsewhere, for various reasons, or simply don't realize that your company is operating in their community at all.

By using advertising specialty products, you can grab their attention and place your brand firmly in the front of their mind.

What are Advertising Specialties?

When we talk about advertising specialties, we're referring to banners, flags, signs, window decals and other physical items. Designed to grab the eye and pique the interest, these products are bold, colorful and, most of all, completely affordable. These items are designed to attract customers who are passing by your business, either while driving by on the street, or those on foot at other local businesses. A few of the benefits of advertising specialties are:

* Affordability: As mentioned above, most of these products cost less than $100, and even the largest and most elaborate of this category of advertising aids will cost your business less than $200.

* Customizable: With most advertising specialty items, you can custom print your own message, or incorporate your own branding color scheme and logo. This allows you to tailor your advertising toward a specific product or service, and building your market's familiarity with your brand not only provides immediate returns, but helps anchor your brand in the long-term memory of your customers, many of which will live in your community for years to come.

* Ease of Use: Unlike managing a complex pay-per-click campaign on Google, using advertising specialty products doesn't require a degree in advanced mathematics or a high-priced subcontractor. You don't need a lot of tools, or a knowledge of mechanical engineering. Just a little real estate to set up your signage and a little common sense to optimize their effectiveness.

Making the Most out of the Least

Once you've decided to purchase some advertising specialties, the next step is to use them properly. Consider the following a basic list of factors to consider when implementing your physical advertising strategies:

* The Message: What do you want your advertising to say? Are you putting items on sale? Announcing a new service? Providing an incentive that will drive your customers wild? Before you decide to invest in the delivery of the message, make sure you've got your message properly figured out.

* Maximize Viewing: When using physical advertising media, understanding criteria like placement, perspective and viewing duration is critical. Where should you place the banner or flag? The answer to that is wherever the most people will see it. When visually advertising to moving targets like drivers on the roadway, you need to take into consideration how large the type is on your signage, where the viewer will be when they see it, and how long they'll be able to see it before moving out of range. If they can only see the message on your advertising flag for a second or two, you probably don't want an overly long message, as the potential customer won't have a chance to properly assimilate the message before it's out of their view.

Today's business operates in a digital world, but your customers still have their feet on the ground right there in your neighborhood. By properly using advertising specialty items, you can reach those customers, up close and personal, and grow your business without blowing up your marketing budget.