How to make your advertising work
It has been said over and again that up to 50% of all advertising is wasted.
That’s a pretty steep percentage considering how many billions of dollars are spent on advertising annually. So who’s placing the effective advertising and who isn’t? When it comes right down to it…most business people think they know more about advertising and marketing than they actually do.
10 Tips on How to Improve the Effectiveness of Your Advertising
Consider the following tips regarding your advertising efforts.
1. Develop a detailed marketing plan or have one developed for you.
Without a detailed travel plan and a map you wouldn’t get very far for very long on an around the world trip. Many businesses place advertising without a clear-cut plan. The most expensive advertising is advertising that doesn’t work. You can reduce your advertising costs and advertising waste by proper planning.
Professionals do their homework and develop marketing plans that provide them with a comprehensive understanding of their businesses and industries. A marketing plan will provide you with a travel plan and a map. Areas covered in a marketing plan include: An internal/external situational analysis, Positioning, Core Competencies, Pricing, Distribution, Strategies and Tactics, Market Research, Implementation Schedules, Evaluation Strategies, and more.
A professional marketing plan pays off in great dividends by eliminating wasted advertising and marketing efforts and unnecessary costs. Call on experts to create and develop your marketing plan.
2. Make your advertising decisions based upon research and a formal marketing plan.
Media reps make their living by selling you more advertising. Time and again you will receive calls regarding special deals, special sections, time limited offers, etc. These will only have value to you if you know what you are doing. It is best to negotiate deals and specials in advance of placing your advertising.
Your marketing plan and research will help you identify and target your best audiences. It will also help you to determine the best vehicles to reach your best audiences. Make sure to focus your message on what is important to your audience, and not yourself. Potential customers rarely care about what’s important to you. They only care about what you can do for them.
Cost per thousand (CPM), frequency, readership, demographics, BPA statements, and other terms need to be familiar to you. Without this information you’ll be taking a shot in the dark. Reputable media providers will be more than willing to provide you with data on themselves and their audiences. Your marketing plan and your strategies will help you to determine if a particular media or media provider is right for you.
3. Plan your advertising calendar several months in advance.
Failure to plan advertising in advance wastes a lot of your money. Rush charges, poor vehicle choices, rate increases, poor creative and poor copy are common results of failing to plan in advance.
“We didn’t have enough time”, “We were under the gun to get this placed”, are common phrases heard under rushed circumstances.
Take a blank calendar and fill in the days, months or quarters to advertise to your target markets. Figure out the number of ad insertions that will make sense and negotiate a contract with the various media suppliers.
4. Test your copy and your ads.
Only by trial and error will you be able to set a baseline as to the best response rates for your ads and copy. It is very important to maximize response for the amount of dollars spent. Sometimes re-phrasing copy or adjusting ad layouts can mean the difference between an average response and a great response.
You need to find out what works best for you. After you find this out, you’ll want to stay the course.
5. Hire professionals to handle your advertising.
When your sick, call a doctor! When you have legal problems, call a lawyer! When you need to advertise, hire an ad agency. You need to concentrate your time and efforts in areas of your business that you’re proficient in.
Advertising is the one area where people try to tell the professionals what to do and how to do it. You wouldn’t tell a doctor what treatment to prescribe, just like you wouldn’t tell your lawyer how to defend you.
You can lose a lot of time and money while trying to act as your own ad agency. Agencies are experts. They charge for their time and experience and have one goal in mind: To get the best results for their clients in order to keep those clients. Many times ads done by amateurs lack the true market drivers of an audience. An agency will research your market and your audience to learn the real issues concerning your product or services.
6. Learn how to develop and use creative briefs when dealing with agencies.
Time is money when it comes to an agency’s billable hours. The more upfront information that you provide to your ad agency the more money you will save. Also, the more detail you have in your creative brief the more effective your advertising will be.
A creative brief is a summary of all of the factors that will affect your advertising from your company’s current business situation, your competitive situation, through your targeted audiences characteristics and buying habits. Even if you choose not to use an agency, a creative brief is a good exercise to go through to make sure that everyone in your creative process is on the same page. You will definitely get better results and save on wasted creative designs by using a creative brief.
7. Save copies of all of your ads, press releases, and printed collateral. Make sure to provide as much information as possible to your agency.
In order to write the most persuasive copy and to design the most effective ads, it is important for your agency to know what has worked in the past and what hasn’t.
There is nothing wrong with using elements or information from previously successful ads. Your advertising should have some consistent elements from your printed collateral and vice-versa.
8. Make sure that your advertising message focuses on what is important for your audience and not what is important to you.
Saving money, gaining market share pre-empting competition, saving time, peace of mind, and related desires are typical of what your audience is looking for. Your target audience will typically be more concerned about what you can do for them, as opposed to what you do.
Speak in your audience’s language and in a way that they can understand. Big words and words that aren’t easily understood should be avoided. Your job is to sell your audience on using your product or services. Too often non-sales people write beautiful and witty prose that doesn’t get a second look from your audience before they pass it over or discard it into the trash.
9. Avoid misleading or dishonest copy in hopes of converting duped readers into using your products or services.
Honesty and integrity are key to repeat sales and repeat business. If you have to trick your audience to get their attention, you will have a very hard time keeping their attention.
10. Avoid using committees to approve your advertising.
Putting together a roomful of experts on just about any subject is a surefire way to get nothing accomplished. Many great ads are killed by committees. And many bad ads are the direct result of committees.
A lot of time and money can be wasted by committees due to: unnecessary changes, re-writes, and wasting time in meetings. Every change, every re-write, and every meeting means billable hours for your agency.
A single point of contact is usually the best way to keep unnecessary changes and meetings to a minimum. If you must meet as a group, do so in advance and work out any potential internal problems before meeting with your agency. When you finally meet with your agency you should be more productive.