6. Start the Business

ADVERTISING – Start your Advertising Program

The Basics of Advertising
Advertising is the means of getting information about your products or services to your potential customers. The first thing to be done is, develop a plan to define the potential customers you have in your geographical area – that is, the area served by your business. This means you will have to do some preliminary research and surveys in the area to determine the type of advertising you will use to reach those customers.

Ask questions such as: What radio stations to they listen to? What newspapers do they read? Do they use coupons? Do they respond to direct mail? Do they use the Internet?

Once you have the information, set about to tailor the advertising to reach that market.

The whole basis of advertising is concerned with your business trying to get across to your customers that the product or service you have will benefit them. That is, you have to identify what is unique or special about your products. This whole theme or image should then carry throughout all your future advertising because it is what sets you apart from your competitors.

Advertising is an Investment
A wise man once said, “The person who saves money by not advertising is like the man who stops the clock to save time.”

In today’s fast paced, high tech world, businesses have to use some form of advertising to make prospects aware of what they have to sell by way of products or services. As a business owner, you must realise that advertising is an investment in the future of your business. Like any other investment it is important to find out as much as you can about it before you make any sort of decision.

What Advertising CAN do for your Business

  • Remind customers and prospective customers about the benefits of your products or services.
  • Enhances your company’s reputation and standing.
  • Establishes and maintains your specific identity or brand.
  • Encourages your current customers to buy more of what you are selling
  • Increases sales to boost your profitability
  • Brings in new customers to replace any lost ones.

What Advertising CANNOT do for your Business

  • It cannot create an instant customer base.
  • It cannot sell products or services that are old or of poor quality
  • It cannot solve any cash flow or profit problems
  • It will not substitute for poor or indifferent customer service.
  • It cannot produce an increase in sales without effort.

What are the Drawbacks of Advertising?
There is always a lot of time and work involved in putting together a proper advertising package that brings benefit to your business. There is also a lot of work necessary to determine what medium of advertising you should use. E.g, it may be cheaper to go with newspaper advertising rather than with glossy magazine advertising. However, newspaper advertising, while lower in cost, may not reach the actual audience you want to target, whereas a specific magazine advertisement could.

It therefore requires a lot of planning to get the best advertising campaign running and also to save the client money by not making mistakes in the production and design of the adverts, or in the mediums used to convey the advertising.

It will take time and effort. Time because advertising generally improves over time, as customers become aware of what you are trying to show them. People and prospects must repeatedly be shown the benefits of doing business with you or the benefits of buying your products. Effort will develop product and business recognition and can help you direct your marketing campaign a lot better.

Where Should You Advertise for Best Results?
The choice of medium that you will use to advertise depends a great deal on the audience that you are trying to target or reach. It will also depend on where your product or service can be most effectively shown and also depends on how much money is in your advertising budget.

When you are looking at making a decision on whether to advertise, you will need to consider the following things:

  • Check the cost of each medium and bring that into the calculation relative to the number of people that the various mediums will reach.
  • Choose the right medium that best presents the information you are wanting to communicate to your customers
  • The medium that you use will depend on the target customer group that you have. If it is TV, for example, then it needs to be shown at a time when your target market would be watching.
  • Be clear on when and how often your message needs to be sent out

The secret of successful advertising lies in the ongoing continuity. That is, the ability to send out a consistent message over a period of time so that it sinks into the mind of your customers and potential customers and motivates them to buy.

5 Top Tips to Maximise Your Advertising
If you want to maximise your returns from your advertising costs then there are a few tips that you need to consider:

  • Always be professional. Any venture that is not professional in presentation should not be in business. A lack of professionalism can ruin your chances to create that good impression and will result in a waste of your advertising dollars. If you want to develop strong advertising but don’t have the ability to write well yourself then hire a copy writer to create the advertising text in a professional manner.

  • Be customer orientated. You need to focus entirely on the wants of your customers and promote all the advantages of your products or services to your customers. This will motivate them to buy from you. You need to list the benefits that your llc offers and in general try to get inside your customers head and emotions. Focus your advertising towards your target audience. ie. If your target is young and trendy people then you need to focus your advertising so as to capture their imagination.

  • Make sure your customers can respond without fuss. There is nothing more that puts off customers than not being able to respond to an offer from advertising. You need to put in place a system or process by which your customers can respond very quickly to your advertising invitation. This may mean a simple method of communication such as phone number, fax number or email as well as an internet address.

  • Look at the various methods of promoting your company. These are advertising, using printed brochures or carrying out a press release.

  • Always follow up all leads. It is not a good idea to ignore leads that come through your advertising. It is essential that you follow up immediately, any leads that are received and work to try and convert those leads into an order. Always make sure you get the contact names and addresses of your customers so you can retain them for future use. You may want a later date, to do a mail out to those customers with special offers so the customer database is a critical asset that you should always keep building. Business owners tend to forget that without customers, they would not be in business. It is important therefore to nurture and encourage them to stay loyal to your business while in turn providing customers benefits, reductions, good quality products and services that meet their needs.

Features of the 4 Main Types of Advertising
Featres specific to the major forms of advertising are as follows:

  • Newspaper advertising – This usually reaches a large audience. It has a short lifespan and is relatively inexpensive. It can be quickly and easily changed to suit your requirements. A selected audience can be reached because your ad will be placed in the area of the newspaper your target audience reads.

  • Magazine advertising – This form of advertising is often discarded by businesses because of the belief that the ads are too expensive to produce and run. Ads in magazines carry a greater degree of credibility and prestige because of the quality of the production, as well as the quality of your ads. They are worth considering as an advertising option because they can be directed to the audience type you want to reach.

  • Radio advertising – Radio advertising is usually local because it is designed to reach an audience in the vicinity of your business. The beauty of radio advertising is that it is relatively inexpensive, and the ad can be repeated more frequently. A major complaint of radio commercials is that they are noisy and appear to lack sincerity, so this should be considered if you are writing your own commercials.

  • Television advertising – This medium is the most expensive of them all, but reaches a far larger audience than the others. To be really effective, your production has to be highly professional and should be placed in a time slot that reaches the audience you are looking for. Even though it is a costly option, television advertising should not be discarded by small businesses wanting to target a product that has the potential of bringing in good returns.

About the Advertising Media
There is an old saying that 50% of all advertising is a “simple waste of money”. This is probably true but it is hard to work out which half of the advertising budget is the useless part and which is the productive one.

Here is how the average US dollar was spent in 2001 – 2002.

  • Newspaper 20.0%
  • Television 26.0%
  • Direct Mail 10.0%
  • Radio 8.0%
  • Magazines 20.0%
  • Billboards & Outdoor 1.5%
  • Internet 3.5%
  • Other 11.0%

    Total 100.0%

The major types of advertising used by small businesses were:

  • Print Ads (local)
  • Low or no cost advertising
  • Direct Mail
  • Telephone directories and 0800 numbers
  • Signs and Displays
  • Electronic Marketing
  • Special Advertising Offers

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