Advertising Primer for Fast Learners

Advertising, when done well is a very effective way to increase your customer base and ultimately grow your bottom line.

Many businesses have no idea how to advertise; they do a little bit here and a little bit there and end up saying that advertising doesn't work. Advertising, like everything else in business, requires a systematic, consistent approach. Even when you are getting results, tweaking a good message can make it a great message.

Fundamentals of good advertising:

1. Use a great title?not a cute title but one that grabs attention and communicates what the purpose of the ad is. If you start the ad with the name of your business, you will discourage a large portion of prospective customers from reading your ad because if they don't know what you do they will often assume you are not speaking to them.

2. Test titles and messages on an on-going basis and measure the response, small adjustments in the ad can increase response by 100% or much more.

3. Take the response you got from an ad and divide the cost by the response to see if it was worthwhile. An ad that doesn't elicit a response is too expensive no matter how little you spent on the advertising. Give it time don't just advertise once.

4. Don't advertise everywhere. Initially choose one medium and one company for your advertising and stick with it. Once you have figured out what works add another medium or company to the mix.

5. Before you place your ad, look at the characteristics of the audience and consider if it matches your target market. Don't make the mistake of assuming everyone is your target market because they are not. Even if your product has a broad appeal when you consider all factors of who buys you will be able to identify demographic or specialized interest groups that will provide a better return on your advertising investment.

6. Don't always blame the medium for your lack of result. Once you have identified the unique characteristics of your market it's incumbent on you to speak to that market using phrases, and communication styles that they relate to. If the publication, radio station, TV station etc. has thousands or hundreds of thousands in their audience and no one responds after a few weeks of advertising, take a good look at what you are advertising and more importantly how you are communicating the information.

7. When you have developed an ad that is working, test small changes to see if you can boost the ad response even more. Make one change at a time to ensure you can identify what the strongest pluses of the ad are.

8. Have you ever heard someone say that they turned their money over to a money manager of some sort and before they knew it, they had lost thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars? You wouldn't do anything that foolish would you? Well then why would you turn full control of your advertising dollars to a media sales person for them decide what to advertise and how to communicate it in an ad? Most media reps have your best interest at heart?they want you to get results because it will make their next sale to you that much easier but the ultimate beneficiary of successful advertising is you and you had better be involved. Ask your rep to educate you about their medium and give you some information on their audience. Take the time to read it. Advertising is not an expense; it's an investment and requires attention to ensure success.

9. If a prospect reads your ad, is there something in the ad that says what you expect them to do? Do you ask them to call and give an accurate phone number or do you want them to come into your store and you give them the address. I don't know how many times I have seen ads that left off the address or the phone number has a wrong digit or isn't there at all. If they need to make an appointment, clearly articulate that in the ad.

10. When someone responds to your advertising, make it easy for him or her to do what you expect. If they have to keep playing telephone tag to try to connect with you then it's going to reduce the effectiveness of your advertising dramatically.

Nancy Fraser is the President of Nota Bene Consulting. She has been helping clients improve their advertising results and grow their businesses for over 20 years. Free advertising and marketing information in Notable News http://www.notable-marketing.com

In The News:

The one about disruptive advertising  The Times of India Blog
What Digital Advertising Gets Wrong  Harvard Business Review

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