I don’t know how many times I have heard companies complain that they have tried some form of advertising and it just didn’t work. They usually blame the medium or the costs for their lack of success. Rarely do they look deeper into the reasons for their failure.
ADVERTISING IS FIRST ABOUT GETTING THEIR ATTENTION!
Yes, you want attention but not just anyone’s attention, you need to get the attention of your target audience. So how do you go about it?
First, who is your audience? Male, Female, large or small companies, corporate leaders or purchasing managers.
Next, you need to determine what medium reaches your audience. This is often where strategies begin to go wrong. Companies often advertise in publications or other medium that they want to be seen in. It may be a popular business association publication that the CEO likes to read or the local upscale magazine that his friends at the country club will see. Don’t let your ego get in the way. The idea is to get before your target audience. This may be the sports section of the local paper, talk radio, direct mail, specific industry journals, financial Television programming, home building shows, etc.
FACTORS THAT ARE CRITICAL TO YOUR AD CAMPAIGN.
MESSAGE & STYLE…
You need to create a message that is brief and effective. Concise copywriting is an art. If you struggle telling your story in a few words, hiring a professional copywriter is well worth the investment.
Headlines are also critical. The classic mistake is a company that put their name as the headline. Headlines should shout a service, solution or ask a question.
Once you have selected your media you need to negotiate. Advertising is a flexible commodity and time of year, frequency, placement and time commitment can be used to get the best possible rate.
TIMING & SCHEDULE…
There are some basic rules on advertising and timing. Summer is usually slow for most businesses. Increasing advertising when your audience is either on vacation or not paying attention is throwing money out the window. Never advertise during holidays unless you are selling retail products specifically related to holiday sales. Take advantage of advertising when your product or service is newsworthy. Join the bandwagon, just use good judgment.
REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION…
Just like networking, one appearance won’t stimulate a response. Once you have committed to a campaign you need to have the resolve to stick with it. Studies have shown that it takes a minimum of 7 exposures before your audience starts to take note of your advertisement. They also want to know that you are for real. Consistent advertising assures your audience that you are successful and reliable.
Even if you are a new company with a limited budget you can find media or methods that get you regular visibility in front of your audience.
So how much do you spend? Well that depends on your tolerance to risk. Advertising is not an exact science and there is a certain amount of trial and error. When you have established an effective campaign, many companies allocate 7% to 13% of their gross revenues to their advertising budget.
Finally, success in advertising requires offering a product and service that others need and positioning your company as the reliable, quality source.