Owning a business takes a lot of investment; financially, emotionally and time to name a few. Many small business owners realize quickly these three factors in starting out and maintaining their business. You have new passion, new momentum to get your new business of the ground, but many face the challenge of knowing how to get people through the doors for the first time and on a repeated basis.

Business owners should realize that advertising their business is part of vital business development and that it is also an on-going investment for their business’s success.

I remember trying to start a Website in 2008. As with anyone who has done this, you have big plans, big dreams and visualize that all these people will flood to your innovative, sleek new site. Well, it’s worse than finding a needle in a haystack when comparing that analogy to that of finding a Web site on the Internet with absolutely no marketing strategy, let alone any budget.

The same can be said with any brick-and-mortar business. Just because you paint and decorate the walls, fill your store with products, hang signage doesn’t mean people will know who you are, where to find you, what you offer and most importantly, why they should come to your business.

That’s where creating an effective marketing strategy is vital to your small business’s success. Take it from someone who has learned the completely wrong way to market a company and read how to avoid some common advertising mistakes.

3 Helpful Mistakes to Avoid Marketing As A Small Business:

1. Vast Local Marketing Options – How to Decide which is most effective for you and at what time. There may be multiple forms of advertising in your area; local newspaper or other local magazines, radio, billboards, direct mail – to name a few.

You need to understand who you’re trying to target, your budget what message you want to portray and start weeding out the available options.

Is your target market young families? If so, they’re most likely not reading the newspaper. They are online for only the news stories that interest them the most and then only viewing that information briefly. Weed out the newspaper.

They are also most likely plugged into Pandora, iTunes or other digital media in their car, so radio is an expensive and virtually un-trackable advertising option. Weed out the radio.

Local informational magazines typically have very little reach and if their distribution depends on landing on the coffee tables of medical offices (or on a rack) then take a look around the lobbies of these businesses next time you’re at the doctor for an appointment. The majority of people will be found on their electronic devices or only reading the latest quick gossip from Hollywood. This form of advertising can be costly and with very little real reach. Plus, you’re still not solving the problem of getting them in your doors! Weed out the coffee table and rack distributed clunky magazines.

2. Online Advertising: You have to have a real understanding of the effective ways to advertise online or your investment will bring little-to-zero return. The main reason to advertise online is to coordinate with a solid print campaign that will capture your targeted audience at their homes, plus online where they may also be. It’s hard to track how effective it really is for you. It is best to hire a professional to help create a campaign in conjunction with other advertising. This, too, can take away from your marketing budget and other effective forms of advertising that you may need right away.

3. Billboards: The best way to know if you should buy advertising on a billboard is to remember this one simple rule: “If you’re making BILLIONS, then you can buy a BILLBOARD.” They are incredibly expensive and provide very minimal call to action. This is a quick way to sink a small business who needs to get customers in frequently.

Blog post written by: Jill Hunt, Affiliate Publisher for Buddy Mail Advertising in partnership with Design Rush