Advertising used to be so easy…or so we thought. Place an ad in the local paper, run a radio or tv spot and presto- you had customers! With an ever widening array of advertising choices it can be costly, confusing and frustrating to find what works and what doesn’t. Advertising is definitely not a one size fits all business. Sure, social media seems to be the hottest thing going and for some businesses this may be the way to go. And even if it is, smart advertising and marketing experts know that maximizing a limited budget is most effective when you do a little homework before you sign with the first salesperson who walks in the door. Here are 3 secrets to devising a successful advertising strategy.
1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Are you selling space in an assisted living facility? Well, maybe social media or the local hipster newspaper is not the way to go. It sounds like common sense. But, surprisingly many business owners decide to advertise in mediums they read or consume most instead of analyzing what their potential customers enjoy. On many occasion I’ve had clients tell me they want to advertise in the local newspaper because “EVERYONE” reads it every day. What they’re really saying is “THEY” read it every day. They’re not paying attention to the habits of their customers.
Create a customer profile. This will take a little reflection time, think about your average or ideal customer. Who they are? Male or Female? Age group? Income level? Why do they choose your business? What are some of the reasons they don’t? This will help you understand your customers better and then identify how they consume media.
2. LEARN THE LINGO
Ad reps are great at making their products sound like they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And who can blame them? They’re trying to make a living just like the rest of us. But, when they start throwing around terms that you’re unfamiliar with, it’s time to do some research online or ask a trusted peer.
For example, in many forms of advertising, representatives will tout their “reach”. Reach is often an inflated term for how many people their product could ideally reach. So for example, if a magazine prints 10,000 copies, they may say that each of those magazines will be read and or passed on- so they could potentially be reaching 30k+ people. It’s important to know the difference between circulation (how many the actually print) and the “reach”.
For years, online advertising has touted the number of “hits” their websites receive. In this day and age, “hits” mean nothing. Smart ad pros take the time to dig in and find out how long their users stay on their website, how engaged they are and how often each unique user is visiting. This will give you a better picture of the online advertising.
3. CAST A WIDE NET
This does not mean advertise in every medium and see what sticks. You’ll be wasting valuable time and money. What you should be doing, is looking into a wide variety of advertising avenues and selecting them based on your customer profile (remember from tip #1?). You’ll want to reach your ideal customer on several different platforms, so they’ll remember you when making a buying decision. Initially, try spreading your dollars between online, print and on air. For many, this will be a perfect advertising trinity. But for others, it will be an excellent exercise in learning even more about your customers, their habits and which advertising venues are best for you.
Now, you’ve got the top 3 secrets…try them out. But remember, they’re a secret. You may not want to share them with the competition! 😉
Submitted by: Amanda Kennedy-Colie, Marketing Strategist