It’s nothing new to say that the economy is still struggling to rebound from the meltdown that occurred around this time last year.

Flip through the channels during the evening news and you’re sure to see stories of businesses closing, credit problems mounting, and everyone trying to pinch pennies in any way they can.

While some companies may feel like slashing their advertising budget is a reasonable way to cut costs, actually, however, advertising is an essential part of growing and maintaining a business – in any economy. In the same way you have to keep your work van stocked to have an effective and efficient business, you have to keep your name out there to keep the phones ringing.

According to FMI, a leader in management consulting for the construction industry, residential construction is expected to continue to decline into 2010. Forecasts developed by FMI show residential construction down 13 percent in 2009 and predict a seven percent decline in 2010. During times when people are not venturing out to buy a new house, they will instead rely on renovations or make small changes to spruce up their existing living spaces.

Homeowners may decide that because they can’t afford to move into their new dream house this year, they might as well remodel their kitchen or bathroom. Additionally, repairs always need to be addressed, regardless of the economy. If the toilet won’t flush, the lights won’t turn on, or a storm has created an unintended sky light, the last thing consumers will be thinking about is the GDP or some new stimulus package. Consumers need to be able to find your business when these needs arise.

The key to keeping your business afloat, even in a bad economy, is to keep your name in places where customers can see it when they need you most.

Advertising is an essential part of a long-term overall business plan because maximizing your visibility means customers will start to recognize your business name and view you as a trusted plumber. By consistently advertising where customers are searching, you are giving your company a competitive edge over other businesses that don’t advertise at all or that wait to advertise as a last ditch effort to save their company.

The way you choose to advertise is a very important piece of the puzzle. Advertising through mediums such as radio and billboards don’t catch customers when they are “ready to buy.” In Maurice Maio’s article “When Business Is Slow,” Maio comments that “…unless the listener [of a radio advertisement] needs the service and repair work right then, they are not likely to call your business.”

Advertising on directories such as,, or that are specifically targeting consumers when they are “ready to buy” proves to be a much more effective way to reach your target audience, and a better way to spend advertising dollars.

In today’s tech-savvy world, the trends in advertising are quickly moving away from print and onto the web. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and MSN have replaced traditional phone books when it comes to searching for a plumber. Across the board, print advertising sales and effectiveness has dropped sharply in the past few years.

In an article titled “Search vs. Yellow Pages – 4 Secrets Why Search Engines Beat Yellow Pages in Local Advertising,” Phil Reifenberg details how companies advertising on the internet reach more customers because of the internet’s ease of use, the lower cost of internet advertising, and the ability to advertise in a wide service area.

While you could spend thousands of dollars advertising through print mediums that are quickly becoming obsolete, there are a number of places online where you can advertise very affordably and effectively. Also take advantage of sites where you can advertise for free like Google Maps and free directory listings. Make sure not to haphazardly try different advertising strategies for short periods of time and judge the advertising based on immediate results because it takes time to see what advertising really works for you and your business.

So if you think that advertising isn’t just as important to your business as your pipe wrench– think again! Getting your name out there for customers to find you is an essential part of any good business. Advertising your business on places where customers search, such as the Internet, puts you ahead of many other companies that are still advertising in the phonebook, or not advertising at all.