Don’t Spend Another Dollar On Advertising Until You Read This

small business advertisingHow do you know if your advertising is working? I often review and critique ads for their effectiveness. Unfortunately, most small business ads are a waste of money and effort. Now I must admit that I’m making a bold statement, but many studies support my claim.

The classic example of an in-effective ad is the display ad with the company name at the top, a phone number, maybe an address and line that says call for information. This type of ad gives your potential customers no reason to contact you. They have no attention grabbing headline, offer no benefits and a weak call-to-action.

Many small business owners mistakenly believe that simply getting their “company name out there” will result in a flood of business. If all your competitors are “getting their name out” too, why should people do business with you instead of your competitors?

What’s the purpose of your ad?
Before you spend money on advertising you should ask yourself what’s the purpose of your ad. What results do you want to get from running your ad? Please don’t say to get your name out. Unless your name is Mark Zuckerberg or Oprah Winfrey your name’s probably not going to attract  a lot of people.

If your objective is to attract new customers, then you have to design your ad in a specific way that will get people to pick up the phone to call you , send you an email or go to your website to download something for free.

Your goal with this type of two- step, direct response advertising is to get people to identify themselves as your prospects. You want to offer them something they value for free so you can capture their contact information and follow-up with further marketing activities.

Are you running your ads in the right place?
Most businesses decide to run an ad when they get a call from an advertising sales person offering them a “good deal”. Little thought about whether the media is widely read, heard or seen by their target market goes into their decision.

How many of you have a clear profile of who you want to do business with? If you try to advertise to everyone, you’ll end up selling to very few.  Develop your customer profile and pick your niche. Then target and focus your advertising dollars and efforts to your niche.

You have to run your ads regularly
Running your ad sporadically is a waste of your money. Running your ad once or twice will probably give you the same results as not running it at all. Studies have shown that it takes 7-15 regular exposures before people ever respond to most advertising. If you can’t afford to run your ads consistently, regularly for several weeks maybe even months, find another way to promote your products and services. One time ads are usually a waste of your money.

Does your ad have a call to action?
What action do you want the reader to take after they read your advertising?
Do you want them to call you, visit your web site, or come into your store? Be specific about what you want your potential customers to do. The traditional approach of saying call for more information is not very effective. If you want to cut through all the advertising clutter and make your ads stand out, you have to be more creative than that.

It does not matter whether you’re placing your ads online or offline, if you follow these tips you will get the best results.

Next time you get another call from an advertising sales person offering you a good deal, keep these points in mind and you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars, time and wasted efforts.

Author: Kevin Toney is “The Marketing Coach”. Kevin coaches small business owners and sales professionals on how to find and attract new customers, increase repeat business and generate a steady flow of referrals.
Call 204-783-6342 for your FREE Marketing Assessment.

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