It Pays To Advertise
No matter how wonderful your think you product or service is, or indeed how perfect it is for your chosen market, if you don't advertise, how can anybody know about it?
The goal of any advertising program should be to cost-effectively reach as many of your key target audience possible and attract new customers. If done correctly, advertising can be a wonderful investment for your business; if done poorly, marketing and advertising can become the most effective investment you've ever made!
Despite what can be seen or portrayed on the TV series Mad Men advertising can be a tricky game. Here are 10 important tips to help you plan, execute, and monitor your advertising programme.
1. Establish your key target audience
Before you spend a penny, you must know who is going to be likely to spend money with you to buy your products and/or services.
There is no point promoting 'Ice to Eskimos'. But bars and restaurants may buy the ice you're making...more importantly you need to establish precisely 'who', or 'what job function' is most likely to buy the product. The cleaner is unlikely to recommend your ice but the barman might!
2. Communicate with your audience
An advertising campaign should be geared toward your niche market. It is a common mistake to create generic ads that do not speak the language or grab the attention of your potential customers.
Ask yourself 'what kind of customers you want to attract, how can I make this barman interested in my ice?'
3. Highlight Your Competitive Advantage
One of the keys to all advertising is to accentuate the pros of your company - those factors that give you your competitive edge. Too many ads are clever but fail to sell the specific benefits of the featured product or service. Unless you highlight these benefits, your ad delivers no value to potential customers...'our ice will cool your drink'
4. Establish an Image
Most people will recognise the infamous McDonald's arches, as too does one instinctively know when something is the original (!). Likewise, there are plenty of products that you recognise by their packaging or logo.
Image counts when it comes to advertising and promoting your business. Too many advertisers do not work to build a consistent image, and they're missing the chance to make an impression on prospective customers.
5. You Have to Spend Money to Make Money
There are ways to save money, but advertising is typically not the place to cut corners. Doing so will affect sales, and that affects the bottom line. Successful advertising may cost money but that is because it works!
Moreover, avoid allowing your budget to run your advertising campaign. If you budget the same amount of money per month for advertising, you've made it very easy from a bookkeeping perspective. However, if like most businesses you have seasonal highs and lows, you may be spending too much money advertising during down times and not enough when you want to attract customers. Too many entrepreneurs do not budget according to their seasonal advertising needs.
6. Advertise in the Right Places
Your favourite magazine, e-newsletter or exhibition, may not be a favourite of your audience/prospect. Do some research on your target market to understand who they are and determine what they read, watch, and visit. Then advertise in the appropriate media to ensure that you reach your target market.
It is all too common for business owners to choose the best place to advertise based on price and potential rate of returns, and then stop. As is the case with investing, you do not want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Spread your advertising money around by choosing a variety of suitable media for your audience and budget...and be consistent! Advertising once in one magazine will not hold any weight or build recognition or loyalty. So budget longevity as well as diversity.
8. Don't Try to Be Everything to Everyone
No product or service will appeal to everyone. Many business owners, including corporate executives, try to create ways to reach every possible market. This does not work. It can spell disaster for those who cannot afford to spread themselves too thin. Therefore, find your market and be everything you can be to that audience. Be a master and avoid being labelled a 'Jack of all trades'.
9. Test Your Ads in Advance
If you have the time or money to invest in focus groups, you should test your ads on other people. Do they understand and accept the message you are trying to convey? If not, get insight into how you could more effectively communicate your message.
There are other less-expensive ways to test your ads as well -- questionnaires, for example.
10. Monitor Your Ads
It is very easy to ask new customers or clients where they heard about you. As simple as this is, many entrepreneurs do not bother to do so. It is advantageous to understand which elements of your ads are most effective and which media offers the most profitable advertising opportunities for your company.
Written by: Lee Morrision
Director of In Association, a specialist advertising and design company.
The Key of the Door!
Bromley based ‘In Association' celebrates 21 years in advertising and design.
Since 1992 In Association has supported clients to enhance their image and profitability through creative branding, advertising, online & direct marketing, public relations and print production.
With a passion for Care, Directors Lee Morrison and Steve Lansdell, broadened their horizons in 2003 by creating The Artemis Team that supports young care leavers and families across the South East. ‘We felt we could bring real change and stability to people requiring support within their communities', said Lee Morrison.
In 2006, Lee and Steve acquired ‘The Heathers', a Residential Care Home for the elderly with EMI, in Shortlands. Helen Johnson, Manager remarks 'Our residents enjoy their twilight years with good food, entertainment and a strong team of carers who've been here for many years'.
'2013 is a year of celebration', states Steve Lansdell. 'We look forward to reaching more landmarks with existing and new projects. We must thank all our clients and staff for their continued support'.
Further information call 020 8697 6976