As the year over year disposable income continues to increase in the slowly rebounding economy (Bloomberg News Report) , small businesses are getting more creative in finding ways to attract that spending and grow. The small businesses are usually the first to feel the pinch in any recession and the last to recover in the warming economy following it, but after months of sustained growth in disposable incomes in the US things are brightening. Now that there are consumers more willing and able to spend, the fierce advertising in local markets heats up to attract those dollars.
While digital advertising and the internet attract all the attention and headlines these days, small businesses that tend to be more local in nature still use traditional advertiser as their mainstay. The typical social media accounts and a website are a supplement to old fashioned radio, newspaper, and TV advertising but if 80% of their business comes from within 25 miles of their location, the emphasis is still on those old standbys.
What the uptick in disposable income really means to these smaller retail establishments is that people have more spending money in their pockets. This discretionary spending is what allows them to make a profit by providing goods and services on the spot that simply did not happen when the consumer’s wallets were thinner from winter heating bills. Also, the increased local traffic from summer travel means more drop in customers.
Internet advertising is essential for big business on national sales strategies and pure price comparison shoppers, but for local traffic the local radio, TV, and newspaper is still the key, along with this what many consider to be “old fashioned” signs and billboards. One reason is the ease of measuring near immediate results with these conventional advertising sources. After engaging in a new ad campaign on these sources the sales increases can be seen the next day and week. Many business owners believe this allows them to be more flexible in changing campaigns based on results.
While brand awareness for mega big box retailers involves super bowl ads and months long strategies, for the local retail and food businesses the key is local brand recognition. Companies like Signarama that specialize in conventional and electronic signs are adept at developing signs and strategies to build the local brand awareness used by consumers out for an evening or just enjoying a day of casual shopping.