Advertising is essential to any business. It lets potential customers learn about the business’ goods and/or services. Additionally, advertising can also make or break a business’ reputation—bad products with good advertising can become successful, while good products with bad advertising can drive prospective customers away. As such, a lot of careful consideration should go into deciding what, when and how to advertise.
What to Advertise
Before putting an ad in the papers, you should decide what about your business you want to advertise. Decide if it’s a product, service or both. You should also figure out whether you’re advertising for upscale items or low-cost goods. Your advertising should also represent your company’s best values—this does not necessarily mean the cheapest.
When to Advertise
Keep track of the buying peaks and valleys of your business and industry as a whole. Spend a lot of money on ads when customers are ready to buy and less when they’re not buying.
Where to Advertise
Figure out what medium is best for advertising for your business. This is determined by the budget you have (for example, television ads cost more) and who you want to target. Some advertising vehicles include television, radio, newspapers and magazines, flyers, Internet, direct mail and circulars.
To determine your budget (and, in turn, where you’re advertising), figure out how many people you want to reach. Research who will realistically use your business’ goods and services. Also figure out if you want to target all these people or merely the ones that will use your business the most. How long you plan on running your advertising campaign will also have an impact on your budget. Lastly, treat whatever budget you come up with as a fixed expense like rent and utilities. This will keep you from going over budget month to month.
After each advertising campaign, do an evaluation based on metrics you decide. This could be increase or decrease of sales, increase or decrease of leads or potential customers or another tracking method of your choosing. This will help you determine whether to run the campaign again or if you need to tweak it. Also, if one method doesn’t work, don’t write it off right away. It may work for a different product or service or for a different season.