The ways to promote yourself are as many and varied as there are types of small business. We look at the best ways for those in each sector — health, retail and hospitality — to get noticed.

With 88% of consumers looking for products online and 69% researching products online before they buy in stores, retailers can’t ignore the massive potential of the internet.

Hitch a ride on the internet juggernaut

If you want your share of the $158 billion consumer goods market, digital marketing can play a role. Retailers can align their marketing strategies with Google AdWords pay-per-click advertising or SEO packages to reach the 99% of Australian consumers who use the internet.

To make internet advertising work you have to define your ROI. Set aside a test budget and file it under “market research” to determine what messages are reaching your target market. This way you will identify what keywords to use to convert leads into customers.

Growing consumer interest in alternative health therapies along with yoga and Pilates has lead to many start-up businesses tapping into this combined $5 billion industry. Relying on much word-of-mouth to grow their customer base, these types of SMEs might look at organic approaches of advertising, such as social media, to get their message across and maximise ROI.

Be social to boost your online presence

Social media is based on personal referrals, reputations and building ongoing relationships by adding value for your customers. General practice medical services can win a greater loyalty following by being a trusted provider of healthcare services, with positive online reviews to support their services.

SMEs in the health sector can offer special discounts and deals to gain interest from potential customers. Reward your loyal customer base if they “share” your information to result in real customers and turnover.

Positive images are a huge part of social media, so choose plenty of eye-catching, inspirational pics to entice your clientele. Helpful videos can engage ‘face to face’ with your audience but if you’re too busy to maintain a social media account, consider outsourcing your social media strategies to the experts.

Looks good on paper

Catalogues, flyers and press advertising are in the top three most successful channels of advertising for Australian consumers, according to research by Australia Post that is supported by the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA).

The research states that 62% of Australian consumers see catalogues and flyers as being best for successful advertising, while 40% think print advertising is at number three.

Both consumers and marketers agree that flyers are easier to refer to later, understand and remember, while Roy Morgan research has shown that more Australians read catalogues than metropolitan newspapers.

When considering a letterbox campaign, make sure you set a realistic goal by determining how many inbound phone calls, store visits or bookings can your staff handle. Keep your message simple, know your target audience and include a strong call to action. For example, offer something complimentary if they visit your store this weekend.

If you’re part of the $17 billion hospitality industry that operates pubs, bars and nightclubs or the $11 billion liquor-retailing sector, you may choose to advertise in trade magazines, whereby your target audience is clearly defined.

Enjoy the great outdoors

Australian outdoor advertising is a growing interest in the advertising market, with annual growth pitched at 3.4% to take advantage of commuters and travellers. Two in three Australians drive to work in a private vehicle, according to McCrindle Research, while a combined 689,199 on average catch a bus or train everyday.

With the industry claiming six seconds as the average time for individual exposure, using six words or less for bus sides or billboards is ideal to ensure passers-by see your message. If you have a complex brand, whereby your message needs to be spelled out, consider railway stations and airports where people are likely to be standing or sitting for longer periods of time.

Getting the best deal

Consumers love a good discount. The appeal of thinking you’re getting something for less can often trick consumers into thinking they’re actually ‘saving’ money by spending money. Daily deals sites have experienced 13.6% annual growth since 2010, according to Ibis World research.

Coupons and shopper dockets are surprisingly popular with high net worth customers, according to research from AC Nielsen, commissioned by Simon McCord, Shop-A-Docket founder. McCord told Smart Company that 93% of dockets reach consumers, while only 29% of these read them regularly and 77% read them occasionally.

Think outside the square

There are loads of ways to promote your business if you have time to sit down and think about it. Fashion labels may choose to send selected clothing designs to celebrities in the hope they slip into something more comfortable next time they’re strutting the red carpet.

If you’ve just opened a bar and want to pack your venue every night, you may decide to partner with a local beer label then send invites on social media or via direct marketing. Finding a fledgling brewer will be beneficial for both of you, with the added exposure of their latest craft beer being the lure that hooks their interest.

Whether you put aside a healthy advertising budget or you find thrifty ways to boost your brand, knowing your audience and how to reach them holds the key to your advertising success.