Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time. It can increase awareness of what your business offers, help you find new customers and boost your sales.
Planning your ad campaign
Successful advertising starts with knowing who your target customers are, and what they want and need. A clear picture of exactly who you are trying to reach is vital:
- established businesses can use customer data to look for similar, profitable targets;
- new businesses may rely on market research to help identify the most promising segments.
Advertising works best when you plan thoroughly and identify the channels that reach your target audience cost-effectively - whether that's newspapers, magazines, directories, radio, tv, cinema, or billboards and posters.
Your advertising campaign needs specific, well-defined goals. For example, you could advertise a clearance sale to make room for new stock, or you might run a series of ads to support the launch of a new product.
Longer-term goals can include building awareness of your products and services or strengthening your brand positioning.
Before committing yourself to advertising, you should consider other ways to promote your business. Direct mail, door-to-door leafleting and PR are all options. In any case, you should think about how your advertising ties in with your other promotional activities, such as online marketing.
Make sure you're ready to handle any increase in enquiries or sales prompted by your adverts.
Making your advertising effective
A successful ad will be tailored to the audience you are addressing, the media you are advertising in, and the goals you are trying to achieve. If you follow a few key rules, writing an effective advertisement is straightforward.
Bear in mind that timing is an important element of a successful advertising campaign. You usually need to repeat your ads regularly to achieve long-term objectives such as raising awareness of your business.
Measuring advertising campaign results
Finally, make sure you measure the effectiveness of your advertising. When you get an enquiry or make a sale, ask the customer how they heard of you.
Keep track of the response levels each ad generates, and how many enquiries convert to sales: a campaign that yields a small number of high-value sales is far more cost-effective than one that prompts lots of enquiries that come to nothing.
Understanding which messages and which media work best will help you ensure that your next advertising campaign is even more successful.