How to Advertise Your Business the Right Way.
When I’m coaching my small business clients and they tell me they want to advertise, the first question I ask them is “Why?”
They need to get their company name out to their target audience and they’re at the point where they know they have to pay to reach their target segments through business advertising after pursuing other FREE marketing vehicles such: as PR, social media, public speaking venues, blogs, email, etc.
Since that makes sense to me, the next few questions I ask them are: where do they plan on advertising, when are they going to advertise, and how much are they willing to spend. That’s typically the point where they tell me: “That’s why we hired you.”
So, the first key to understanding what advertising is and isn’t we need a working definition. Advertising is the collective set of all your structured and composed NON-PERSONAL communications of information, almost ALWAYS paid for and usually persuasive in nature, about products (goods, services, and ideas) by identified sponsors through various media. This means you are paying to influence your existing customers and mostly highly qualified prospects using multiple media (print, broadcast, outdoor, online.)
Next, it helps to understand exactly what advertising can and CAN’T help you to achieve. Advertising is used to help your business:
* Identify products and differentiate from competitors.
* Communicate info about the product.
* To induce consumers to try your stuff.
* To stimulate the distribution of a product
* Increase product use.
* Build value, brand preference & loyalty.
* Lower overall cost of sales.
start by building an ad campaign. The 3 main areas of an advertising plan:
1) What do we want to accomplish? Our objectives or goals.
2) How will we reach those goals? What will we do, and what will it cost, to achieve our objectives.
3) How do we measure results? How do we determine whether we have accomplished our objectives?
Beyond the big three categories common to most advertising plans, the exact nature and details can very significantly depending on the purpose of the plan.
For a comprehensive explanation for how to develop an AD CAMPAIGN, click here.
The key to developing a powerful ad campaign is to define your goals, which are tied directly to your business objectives. Also it helps immensely that you first develop a comprehensive ideal customer profile of your ideal customer, including which media they use, when they engage that media. The goal is to be as efficient as possible in placing your messaging where your ideal customers are when they are most receptive to receiving and considering your messages. If your target are professionals ages 25-34 living in major Metropolitan areas with disposable income who enjoy participating in recreational sports, socializing in bars who are college educated…then you would partner with Zogg Sports. If you need to reach small business owners that run their business in a local community, you would pursue Minor League baseball advertising.
You use advertising to promote all of the following:
* Public Service Announcements: Ad serving public interest
* Goods: Tangible stuff
* Services: A bundle of benefits
* Ideas: Economic, political, religious, etc.
* Products: the particular good or service a company sells
Your advertising plan falls squarely within your marketing plan. Following is a template guideline for a fictitious marketing plan to show you how you would lay your plan out.
Target Market: Upscale households with incomes between $65,000 and $500,000 with an emphasis on female decision makers between the ages of 30 and 55
Positioning Statement: The best looking and sounding modular stereo system
Offering to customers: Add one lower-priced model and two higher priced models
Pricing Strategy: Price 10% above our closest competitor (be specific here)
Distribution: Internet gift stores i.e. red envelope, Brookstone, high end catalogs i.e. Sharper Image
Sales Strategy: Expand by 10% for this product line, hire a national account manager
Service Strategy: Available through all major box chains
Promotional Strategy: Develop a new campaign that focuses on the positioning, emphasize higher price and designer look
Marketing Research: Conduct customer audit and identify new market opportunities
Any other component of your marketing plan: Anything else not covered in a prior section of your marketing plan.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
Why Your Small Business Marketing Keeps Failing.
…and what you can do to fix it, immediately.
Marketing is the collective set of all activities that you can run, in order to accomplish THREE very specific goals:
1. Build your brand;
2. Find new customers; and
3. Keep selling to existing customers
Most businesses (heck ALL organizations, for that matter) tell what they do and how they do it. Their messaging is so UNINSPIRING (yawn!) that it completely fails to tell a story of WHY you do what you do, why you’re special and how you’re better than everyone else.
Once you begin telling stories about WHY you and your organization do what you do, then you’ll be more likely to connect with your customers and prospects in a more compelling manner.
If a tree falls in the forest…
Most small businesses never ask themselves “Where are our best customers when they are most likely to be receptive to our marketing messages?”
This consideration of where to place your marketing dollars so they have maximum impact is referred to as your media placement strategy, and it demands that you have an absolutely complete and clear view of who your ideal customer is and learn as much as you can about them. The average American is bombarded with between 7,000 and 9,000 messages a day. Are they really listening to you when you try to speak to them? At Time Warner Cable, I introduced the company to elevator advertising through the service provider Captivate, ran regional advertising in a number of local area Minor League baseball teams and translated our website into Spanish because those were the MOST effective ways to reach small business owners in the New York Metro area.
Do you develop your marketing in conjunction with your sales efforts, and include your product development folks in your marketing strategy?
Another great failure of nearly all businesses that retain my services is the unwillingness to develop their marketing with their sales efforts and product development. You need to have a clear plan of what products and services you want to promote aggressively, those that are so established in their sales life cycles they require little support, and those you want/need to retire (sunset) through an end-of-life market exit strategy.
Can you calculate an ROI on every dollar of marketing you spend? You should have a campaign code on all print advertisements you run, and for every call to action a special 800-number if you ask people to call in response to your marketing. Tools like PhoneKey.com (thanks Mark at Roos) allow your customer service reps to be able to identify the source of all inbound calls that you receive in response to your campaigns.
Every Event is a 3-staged Process.
Each event you commit to is a marketing campaign in and of itself! Every event, trade show, conference, or client road show MUST be conducted as its own stand-alone 3-phased campaign. Every event is actually comprised of a pre-event, the event itself, and the post-event. Each of these 3 stages has a collective set of actions required for the ENTIRE event to be a success. Define measurable goals for each program, and conduct the event start to finish so you achieve a return on the event’s total cost commitment whether it’s obtaining newly qualified leads, engaging existing customers, promoting the launch of a new product or service, etc.
Invest in your marketing like you REALLY care about it.
Many organizations I speak to invest no more than 1-2% of their annual sales in their marketing budget. That’s a pathetically low level of marketing commitment, since marketing is the sum total of all programs and campaigns required to support sales. World-class organizations like Disney, Startbucks, Zappos invest between 5-15% of their budgeted annual sales on marketing. Now THAT is an investment!
When you develop your annual marketing plan you need to first talk strategy with your sales people to know what challenges they face, and their sales goals for the year then build out your marketing to support those key objectives.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach