By: Irin Eschupan
Where should you put your advertising when there a limited number of dollars available? It’s the number one question of business owners as they consider all things marketing. Every media salesperson is going to tell you that you should advertise with them.
Bottom line, it is you that must learn to read between the lines and determine whether the ad space is one that will work for you and be an effective place for your ad dollar.
Novice advertisers make several huge advertising mistakes with regard to ad placement:
Advertising mistake #1
Uncovering advertising referral sources - The biggest advertising mistake that most people make happens when people try to (or don't try) assess how effective an ad was in developing new business. The big question of course is, how do you know if your ad was effective? If you do not actively seek this information, it is simply impossible to tell how effective any ad is. Your customers are not going to run up to you and tell you all about how they found your advertising. It simply isn't going to happen.
Obviously, keeping track of this information is also essential. Low cost ads might only bring you a few customers per month. Yet it takes very few referrals to pay for any ad. When it comes time to renew your advertising, if you simply operate from memory, you could very well be giving up your best sources of leads.
Advertising mistake #2
Diversification – There is no ONE place for your ad. A huge new business owner advertising mistake is to compare all forms of advertising and only choose one based on one criteria or another. Some will cost more or less and some will produce more or less results. Some venues attract certain customers while others may target a completely different demographic.
What really matters is effectiveness of the ad versus the cost, or in other words return on investment (ROI). The effectiveness of one ad placement should not be compared to another. Each should stand on its own return on investment, and be judged on that alone. If an ad is bringing you any positive ROI at all, consider keeping it.
In the personal services industries, advertising costs can be recovered very quickly because most clients continue to require services. Any given client can be worth several hundred or thousands of dollars. That means, if you only get one client off an ad, it's probably more than paid for itself.
Advertising mistake #3
Putting the wrong person in charge is a huge advertising mistake - Don’t put an artist or a technical person in charge of developing and designing an advertising campaign. They may make wonderful graphics or be able to design world-class software, but marketers they are not. Also keep it away from the hands of your secretary, accountants, and general staff. These people tend to try to get things off their desk and most of the time, they are clueless with regard to advertising and what it is supposed to accomplish.
To sell your services or products, you need an experienced marketer to head the project and work with the development staff. If you cannot afford to hire an expert, work closely with the people that you are purchasing from and let their designers do the biggest share of the grunt work for you. You know your business better than anyone else, and obviously, you have more at stake than anyone. Nobody is going to have more concern over how things are done than you.
Advertising mistake #4
Inflating or puffing your company - While it is important to present your company in a good light, the “We are wonderful, perfect, marvelous... yada, yada, yada (yawn)”, is an advertising mistake because it provides no information. If you personally met up with an acquaintance who bragged about how great they are without telling you why, wouldn't you be suspicious? If you are great, tell the customer why and let them make this determination. It's a lot more powerful than if you tell them.
Neither does this kind of advertising differentiate you from your competition who ALSO say the same things about themselves. All companies will tell you the exact same line, and it's the one thing that you can do that will make customers tune out your ad.
Advertising mistake #5
Failure to develop the call for action – This is not only a huge advertising mistake, it is the number one sales mistake. You’ve presented the benefits, now what do you want them to do.? The obvious answer is to call you and ask to do business with you. Don’t let this be their idea. Always suggest what the customer should do next.
Advertising mistake #6
Going where the customers are – There is a reason why restaurants often manage to build close to each other. Each does better when they are surrounded by their competitors.
If you are the only home care company advertising in a random location, you're in front of an audience that may be spontaneously interested in your services. But most of the time and for most of the audience, there is no interest. But when you advertise in the same location that other services are found, people that are looking for services will look in places where they have multiple choices.
There is a saying, "I'd rather be lucky than smart." While that's quaint and there is a ring of reality, it does not apply to the world of advertising. You may get lucky with an ad sitting out all alone, but "lucky" can rarely be repeated on a regular basis. "Smart" might come in second on a given instance, but you can repeat Smart, time after time and leave "Lucky" in the dust.