Advertising - a
part of your marketing plan
Advertising is one of
those necessary evils that is one of your biggest but most
necessary gambles as a business owner. Where you place your advertising can affect how many
people see your message, which people see you, and you will
certainly find no shortage of places to advertise. The trick
is advertising smart, not just a lot.
Advertising is a
gamble, which has a payoff ratio that goes from zero on up.
The goal of any advertiser is to increase that ratio as much
as you can and get your return on your investment back as soon as
possible. With any
advertising campaign, you can and will hit both winners or losers.
Sometimes, you can even make the smart choice that has
worked well for others, but it just doesn’t work well for you.
Doing your advertising homework
Before going into any advertising
campaign, it is essential that you do a bit of homework and
understand what it is that you wish to accomplish.
It is also essential that you understand who your audience
is and what drives them to purchase your services.
This is not necessarily as easy or as obvious as it sounds
like it should be.
Are seniors your real target
market? Or are
seniors just the people that you supply services to?
way, seniors are not necessarily your only target market and
probably not your biggest one.
Most often, their adult children are the people that you
want to reach.
Keep in mind that other people
will make referrals for you too. Therefore, you might also be targeting
professionals in a complementary industry such as the medical
field, hospital social workers, and other professionals who you
would like to have make recommendations of your services and
The family target
Now that you’ve isolated the
target markets, what is the reason they buy your services?
Many business owners would say that family members buy
services because the services are needed, that the senior cannot
adequately take care, or that there are medical circumstances that
demand extra care. Though
these may be facts, none of those are the REASONS that families
buy services from you.
Families buy your services for
emotional reasons, and these emotions are about how they feel
about their family member. They
buy them because of their love for their parent and/or sometimes out of
obligation or personal guilt.
Sometimes the emotional reasons are complex, and people buy
your services and are more centered around the adult child such as
for respite care.
designing your company advertising, don't go for the sale.
That sounds a bit strange since the ultimate goal of any business
is the sale. But that's not why you do advertising.
Only you can make this kind of sale and the goal of your
advertising is to get them to call you... that's it!
can in fact, shoot your sale in the foot by trying to go for the
Consider the ad copy that goes on and on and on, trying to
convince you that their product/service is the best thing out
there. Do you really want to read about any product from any
company for 15 minutes? No! You want to know a few
basic things and then talk to the company rep who can handle your
If you answer all of their questions, they simply do not need to
call you. They have their info and they can check out
someone else. The only difference is, they might just talk
to their rep and if they do, then that rep makes the personal
Let's face it. Consumers do not read on and on. You
will be amazed how often Joe Consumer will ask questions rather
than take the time to read it for themselves. In other
words, most ad copy is completely wasted and so is the paper that
it is printed on and the money spent to purchase it.
goal is to get them to call you so that you can make the
The professional target
Professionals also make decisions
to recommend your services based on their emotions.
Consider some time when you’ve
made a professional recommendation of another company to one of
your clients, and then been let down.
Most professionals get a bit upset when this happens and
they are hard pressed to make that recommendation to another
client ever again. Why?
Self-survival and professional ego.
You feel like the lack of performance of the person that
you recommended is a direct reflection on you and your
wants their reputation to suffer, let alone because of the actions
of someone they recommended.
Therefore, when you are
communicating your advertising message to other professionals, it
is imperative that you assure them of the professionalism of your
services and that if they make a recommendation to you, they won't
be sorry later.
All other things being equal, the
consumer will buy from the company
that they feel they can trust the most and professionals will only
make recommendations to companies that they believe will not let
Every business owner has had it
happen. They dreamed that advertising in a certain
publication will net them dozens of clients in the first
month. Then they wake up to the fact a couple of days or a
week later that they have once again, NOT hit the advertising
Advertising simply doesn't work
that way and if it did, most small businesses could not afford to
do it. Any ad space that will make your phone ring off the
hook is worth phenomenal dollars upfront because the demand for
the space goes up and therefore, so does the cost.
There are many ways that the advertising
message can be delivered, all of which will be through some ad
medium such as a newspaper, the Internet, television, radio, and
even your company brochures. All of these advertising
mediums may be effective if used properly and consistently over
time. However, no advertising method is worthwhile if you
just shotgun it or try it a short time and then stop when it
doesn't seem effective.
Even amongst consumers that need
your services, 98% will not bother to call you the first time they
see your ad. Maybe they are short on time or they are just
looking around. Often, consumers will simply procrastinate
and just not make the call. They will make a mental note of
where they saw the advertisement and come back an hour, a day, a
week or even months later. If your ad has disappeared,
you've just lost a client.
While it can happen that your
advertising will get you a phone call or two right away, your
biggest success will be advertising to the one that doesn't have a
need yet, but will need it in the near future. Most home
services are not subscribed to on the spur of the moment.
The adult child knows these services will be required and is
putting them off until something happens that triggers the call
within a day or two.
They may not be ready to call you
yet, but they do start to listen and pay attention. In the
consumer's mind, it is part of the learning process for making a
decision that will need to be made a month or 6 months from
This is particularly true in
advertising for home services where the cost is high and where
there is an emotional consideration in making the
decision. This is the time that they start to learn
who the potential service providers are. If they don't see
or hear your name now, you stand less chance of getting the call
when they do need service.
Along with deciding who their
potential services providers are, the consumer starts paying
attention to where they find the advertising for such
things. You will often see people bookmark certain sites or
at least make a mental note over where they heard an ad.
When the times comes to make that decision, they are then going to
their resources, not starting the investigative procedures.
Advertising consistency is the
key to higher performance. A single ad may get you that
lucky immediate need. But if you measure your success on
whether you got that initial shot, then chances are that you will
have lost about 98% of your advertising
Advertising is a long-term
commitment and one that should only be entered into when you are
ready to stick with it for awhile. Not every ad spot is
worth your time, so use some common sense in doing so. But
once you make that decision, don't give up on it easily.