Posted: Wed 31st Oct 2012
Effective advertising can be a powerful instrument in any small enterprise's marketing toolkit. But how do you make sure you get it right? Beryl Pettitt, founder of Ridgeway Marketing, explains how to make sure your advertising hits the spot.
When people learn I help small businesses with their marketing, many tell me that they did do some advertising once, but didn't get anything from it, writes Beryl (left). Well, there is a lot more to marketing than advertising, but here are five tips to make sure your advertising does work.
1. Check your target market
Have you got a clearly defined target market? This could be in terms of geography, socio-economic group, age, sex, or in the case of business-to-business marketing, the type and/or size of business. Now check out the media data for the media you are using - is there a good fit with your target market? If not, then this is the wrong media for you.
2. How often are you advertising?
All your marketing communications must be aimed at moving the prospects through 'AIDA' - attention, interest, desire and action. It is thought that it may take as many as nine 'touches' to move a prospective customer through this process - and of course these touches will not always be through advertising. So to be effective, potential customers must see your advert several times.
3. What other communications are you using?
The nine touches might not all be from advertising so to be effective, advertising should be combined with other communications. This could be news releases and features in the same media that you are advertising in, or direct mail, social media, telemarketing and email campaigns. Or it could be through networking or speaking at, exhibiting at or sponsoring events. The more frequently they hear or see your message, the more likely your target market is to move through AIDA.
4. How effective is your design and copy?
You need to make sure your advert stands out, so that really means taking advice from professionals on design and copy. Make sure you are talking about the benefits of your product or service rather than the features - so what benefit do the 30 high speed widgets give the customer? Also check that you have a clear call to action - 'phone this number', 'click here to find out more' and so on.
5. Focus on one action
As it is unlikely that prospects are going to buy as soon as they see your advert, it is better to get them to contact you so that you can then contact them again. So focus on one action - 'ring now or click here for your free report on...,' or 'get a free quotation...' This is where a buyer's guide or white paper can be really helpful, as you can then build your list of prospective customers for email campaigns.
So many media, so little time...
There are now hundreds of TV and radio stations, loads of printed media, plus the internet and many different social media, so no single one will reach all of your target market. Successful advertising is about finding the best fit and using as many different channels as you can find the time or money for. Founder of Ridgeway Marketing, Beryl Pettitt is a marketing mentor and marketing trainer for small businesses and organisations across the UK. She has worked in marketing for over 25 years, and her experience spans both the corporate environment and running her own business. You can connect with Beryl on Google Plus.
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