Over recent years the economic downturn has helped to increase the number of start-up businesses in the UK. More people are deciding to put their financial future in their own hands and become their own boss.

Starting up in business has become a lot easier compared to 10 years ago. And thanks to the Internet, everything you need to run a successful business can be found online.

While you may have the skills to produce products or services to sell on or off line, you also need to know how to market and advertise your business.

We asked over 10,000 small business owners: “What form of advertising works best for your company?” And the results were very interesting.

Survey Results

  • Word of mouth 82.1%
  • SEO 39.3%
  • PPC 18%
  • Direct mail 17.8%
  • Offline brochures 10.7%
  • Magazine ads10.7%
  • Banner ads 7.1%
  • PR 7.1%
  • Newspaper ads 3.6%
  • None of the above 3.6%

Word of Mouth Referrals

The oldest form of advertising is word of mouth, the personal referral. Over 80% have found word of mouth to be their best advertising method.

Attracting potential sales leads through word of mouth is a massive compliment to your business; satisfied customers have referred someone to you because they were pleased with your service. This confirms you are doing something right.

One of the best ways to encourage word of mouth referrals is to offer excellent customer service. Give your customers something to talk about, offer them a little more than your competitors and in return they will spread the word.

Word Of Mouth & Social Media

Social media is now part of everyday life and has changed the way we all communicate personally and professionally. Combining social media with traditional word of mouth advertising will allow your customers to spread the word faster and even further at no extra cost.

SEO Marketing

More and more businesses are becoming aware of the power of SEO and are now focusing on producing valuable content for potential customers to find online. Being visible in search engine results pages is one of the most cost effective ways to attract new customers. With just under 40% seeing positive results, I can only predict SEO is here to stay. But with its growth, competition to become number one on Google will be fierce.

PPC Advertising

Pay Per Click (PPC) is a powerful advertising tool, in the right hands. A well-structured PPC campaign can work for most industries, but unfortunately not everyone fully understands the PPC advertising science.

Only 18% are finding their PPC advertising successful. Mastering PPC advertising can prove to be costly and unfeasible because mistakes will be made and most SME’s are not in the position to lose money. I would recommend outsourcing your PPC to a digital advertising agency to benefit from this medium.

The survey shows that word of mouth is by far the best way to attract new business. So as long as you provide a good service and give your customers a little TLC your business should flourish at no extra cost.