Early marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously said: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half." With a clear strategy, you can maximise the results you get from your advertising.
Setting your advertising objectives
The first step in any advertising campaign is to set your objectives. Your goal could be, for example:
- to raise awareness of your business or products generally, potentially to pave the way for a sales drive;
- to introduce a new product or service;
- to drive responses, perhaps by promoting an offer on your website or flagging up your stand in an exhibition guide;
- to position your business or its products or services in a particular way in relation to the competition;
- to change customer attitudes by highlighting specific benefits of your products or service.
Reaching your target audience
Then you need to work out how to get your message in front of your target audience. Local papers, billboards, posters and leaflets could provide the right audience for a small business operating in a specific catchment area.
Business-to-business firms can use industry websites, publications and events to advertise to specific target groups. Always negotiate - advertising rates are rarely set in stone.
Sending the right message
Your advert needs to convey a clear message with a call to action. Your strategy should be based around promoting a single, solid benefit - so you need to understand what motivates your target audience to buy.
The look and feel of your advertising should be in line with your brand values. An amateurish advertisement can damage your reputation.
Maximising your advertising return on investment
Today, no matter what type of advertising you do, you can measure the results. Analytics tools enable businesses to measure and fine-tune every aspect of their online advertising.
Media advertising can be measured by using response mechanisms - dedicated phone numbers, website landing pages, email addresses and even QR codes.
After running your campaign, look at the response levels it generated. Did your adverts deliver a good return on investment; in other words, have they brought in more new business revenue than they cost to create and run? What adjustments can you make in the future?
Converting advertising leads into sales
Following up is the final piece of the jigsaw. An enquiry from an ad is often just the first step towards making a sale, so make sure you and your sales staff are ready to make the most of the leads that your advertising generates.