Have you been wondering whether or not advertising might be right for your business? Advertising efforts should be strategic and measurable to allow for maximum effectiveness and an opportunity to track the success of your ad campaigns. Advertising can be a costly investment, and you don’t want to put a lot of resources into something that won’t allow you to measure your ROI.
Before you commit to an advertising contract, consider these 4 key factors:
1. What’s my advertising budget?
Your first instinct might be to explore ad opportunities and get all the ad rates out there as possible. It might be better however, to know what you have available and what you’re willing to spend first. It’s easy to get carried away once you start talking to an ad salesperson. Sometimes they are even reluctant to give specific rate information. Instead, they ask you what you’re trying to achieve and then they build packages that meet a number you’ve provided. You don’t have to share your budget information if you don’t want to. But, you should have a firm idea of what you can spend on a campaign for how long. This will help direct you when exploring your ad opportunities.
2. What message should I communicate in my ads?
The messaging in all of your ads should be a primary consideration. The message you want to communicate may help in determining media placement, the duration of your campaign and how you’ll track the success of the ads. Advertising messaging options include:
a. Overall brand awareness with a simple call-to-action (like your phone number, web address, or facebook address). These branding ads are easy to create and can be impactful, but it can be challenging to track this type of ad since the message is general brand awareness and many recipients may not take any action after seeing it.
b. Specific messaging to drive action (ie. take an online quiz or survey, come to an event, mention or bring in the ad for a special deal). These types of ads require more time and creativity to develop and execute but they also provide easier methods for tracking engagement so that you can determine if your ads are working to generate traffic/sales.
c. Combined campaign with brand messaging in some media and action messaging in other media. This combines both of the above messaging options for brand awareness and stronger call-to-action ads, using different messaging depending on the medium. Another option is to run alternating messaging (switching between branding and action ads) although it can be more costly to have your ad switched over and over again.
3. What medium should I place my ad in?
What medium is used most by your target market? Are your customers and prospects online? Reading print newspapers? Listening to the radio? You want to select the medium that will hit your target demographic. Using multiple media might help get your message out best. Keep in mind the creative and production costs will vary depending on the medium you select for your ads. It will cost a lot more to create a radio spot than to create a magazine ad (not including the cost of the ad space). Get creative. Most people think online ads, print ads, TV and radio. Think out of the box for opportunities at events, local stadiums, movie theaters, public transit.
4. How can I track the success of my ad campaign?Measuring the effectiveness of your ads can be difficult if not impossible. Online advertising via websites and social media sites can give you specific data on how many people click on your ads and when they’re seeing and clicking it. But more traditional media like billboards and print ads provide no such info. While you might have general information of viewership or readership of these media, you want to know about the specific engagement of your ads. In these cases try to include a compelling call-to-action to your ads to ensure that when people to see your ad, they are inspired or incentivized to take action by going to your website, bringing the ad to your store, doing something that you can actually track. Another thing you should consider, if you’re no already doing it, is ask all patrons how they heard about your business and keep track of these responses. You might find the info interested and you may notice trends where the responses change over time or during certain seasons.