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5 Things You Need Before You Advertise

Don't throw your money away—make sure your advertising dollars count by considering these 5 important items.

1. Know your core audience.

First you must determine your target audience. If you are trying to appeal to adults, ages 45-69, or tweens, ages 8-12, you have to make sure that your advertising strategy is reaching these unique individuals. The way that you target-market a baby boomer is vastly different from the way you target a millennial.

2. Determine your message.

You’ve established the audience. Now you need to define what precise message you are trying to convey. Specifically, why should a person come to your place of business at any given time? This message may change from time to time depending on what you are trying to highlight, but all of your effort should be focused on a key concept.

For example, as a furniture store you would create a campaign that focuses on your “Get your butt to Bob’s Big Bang 4th of July Sofa Sale.” It’s creative and catchy. It reminds people that the sale is short lived, for a specific holiday and item, and there’s room to have fun with marketing materials.

Whether your campaign is broadcast, digital or print you will have a unified message and the audience will know why they should visit you instead of the competition.

3. Find a megaphone and shout your message into it!

Different types of advertising work better for certain messages or certain businesses. For example, your restaurant, which is conveniently located off the interstate with an award winning burger, would be much better advertised on a highway billboard than a radio campaign. A 4ft x 6ft photo of a juicy 1lb angus beef patty on a seeded homemade bun with hand cut fries and a strong call to action of “Best Burger you’ve ever eaten ahead. Next exit, turn left” is going to be a much better platform to advertise your business rather than a radio ad. A radio ad, although catchy, is literally not going to drive someone to your business and captivate them like that gigantic photo and call to action can.

4. Spend your marketing dollars wisely to capture a lead.

Once you determine your audience, message and megaphone, you have to compare prices to minimize your marketing risk and maximize your profit potential.

Research and consult with a variety of different marketing resources to determine which channel/outlet is best for your campaign.

For instance, television is a great way to reach a mass number of customers in a certain geographic area. Most of the time you advertise on television you are reaching customers for less than a penny a person.

Direct Mail is a great way to follow up on a targeted audience that has previously expressed a desire in your business or someone that can pick up the phone and immediately benefit from your services. Stamps aren’t cheap.

An SEM campaign, also known as pay-per-click, is a great way to reach customers already looking for a similar service or product. However, depending on keyword and competition, this can run from cents to hundreds of dollars for just one click. This may be a waste if your keyword costs more than you can stand to profit from each visit.

Make sure that your cost to capture and acquire a lead throughout various forms of advertising is directly in line with your return on investment (ROI).

5. Tell the target audience what you want them to do!

Many times businesses will create a marketing campaign and then vow to never advertise again because “it didn’t work.” You could have had the sale of a century, but if you forgot to do one simple thing, the customers probably didn’t come. You need a strong call to action!

Always tell potential customers to “Call Now!” or “Visit us on HWY 96!” or “Try our new lunch combo today! Only $5.99.” You need to tell your customers what you want them to do and when you want them to do it. You would be surprised how well this actually works.

These five pieces of advice on advertising are a great start to increase your customer base and profits. Remember, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars or create a huge campaign to be successful. You just need to make sure you reach the right potential customers and your message is clear. Once you capture a lead, do everything you can to get them in the door and close that sale.

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