Advertising on a Budget -- Part 3: Frequency, Frequency, Frequency

This is the third article of a three-part series. I'm illustrating the marketing challenges of PrescottWeddings.com, a small business.

If you don't remember anything else about marketing, remember this: Frequency is king.

The more often you can get your name in front of your potential and current customers, the more likely you will make a sale.

Depending on what study you look at, people need to see your message anywhere from three to 27 times before they act upon it.

And, if you want to brand your business, then you need to get it in front of your customers as often as possible.

How do you think Ivory Soap, Campbell Soup and Tide all built their brands so deeply into our minds? Through years and years of repeatedly advertising. That's why those brands pop into our head when we think about soap, soup or laundry detergent.

So if you want to build your brand, then you need to advertise frequently.

There's another benefit to advertising frequently. It also helps your current customers.

People like to know they made the right decision after they purchased something. How much reassurance they need depends on how much they spend, but everyone needs some confirmation they made the right decision. Your advertising can help.

Studies have shown that people are more aware of car ads after they purchased a car -- specifically car ads of the model they bought. And they're more likely to both believe and approve of the message. Again, because they want to know they made the right decision.

So there are many good reasons to advertise frequently. Does that mean you have to spend a fortune? Not necessarily. There are a few tricks you can use to get the frequency you need at a low cost. (These are print tricks -- other advertising outlets, such as radio and online, we'll talk about in future issues.)

1. Make your ad as small as possible. Small ads cost less. See "Advertising on a Budget ? Part 2: Thinking Small" for more information on shrinking your ad.

2. It's better to schedule your ads to run all at once than spread them out. People will never remember when they don't see your ad, only when they do. If they see your ad a lot in one week, they're going to be under the impression you advertise all the time because they won't remember NOT seeing your ad other weeks.

3. Take advantage of any frequency programs your newspaper offers. And definitely sign a contract -- don't run ads under the open rate.

Here's how it worked for PWC.

The newspaper had a program called "3 For Free." If you ran an ad three days in a row, you got the next three days for free (the paper was published six days a week).

We designed a tiny ad -- a one by two inch ad -- and we ran it six days in a row. Then we skipped the next three weeks and did the same thing again the next month.

After a year of doing this, PWC had people coming up to her telling her they saw her ad "all the time." Business owners wanted to advertise on PWC because they could see the commitment PWC had to advertising. Brides and grooms were visiting PWC on a regular basis because they were being "reminded" monthly.

What did all this cost? About $100 a month.

But, a word of caution. It takes time to build a business and a brand. It won't happen overnight. But it will happen, especially if you remember to keep getting your name in front of your customers and potential customers as often as you possibly can.

Michele Pariza Wacek owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting, a writing, marketing and creativity agency. She offers two free e-newsletters that help subscribers combine their creativity with hard-hitting marketing and copywriting principles to become more successful at attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. She can be reached at http://www.writingusa.com

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