Preparing Your Advertising Campaign

Preparing Your Advertising Campaign.

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Preparing Your Advertising Campaign

Sometimes it’s necessary to go back to the basics. I know many small businesses that do their own advertising and struggle to understand what they are doing and how to enact a marketing program.
I’ll give you my take after thirty years on the job. Assuming you have a product or service, a basic logo and direction, we need to look at your market. Who are you customers? You can take that right from your business plan. Go grab it and I’ll wait. What, you don’t have a business plan? Shame on you!
Okay, it’s not the end of the world. But, you should develop one at the next break and keep it handy. But I’ll assume you have a pretty good idea of who your customers are and where they’re located. These are the “who” and “where” parts of the marketing equation.
This is critical in determining your media and budget. Both should have been included in your business plan. Okay, I’ll stop beating a dead horse.
If I asked who your ideal customer was, the answer shouldn’t be everyone that’s breathing. Please be more specific. Women between 25 and 65. Young adult men. Seniors. That type of demographic data. And where would I find these people? Anywhere is not the answer.
How far will your customers come from? Five or fifty square miles? This will narrow down the media and type. Does your typical customer read the paper, mailers, watch television or listen to the radio? Probably, but which ones and at which times?
Who is your competition? Don’t say you don’t have any. Be realistic and examine how they are reaching their customers. Then consider similar placements, You will catch the most fish where the other experienced anglers are dropping their lines. So now you have a fair idea of the “how,” or media, to use. Let’s look at the “when.”
Are you seasonal? If you’re an air conditioning repair business, the answer is obvious. But not so fast. Perhaps you need to do the most advertising when business is the slowest in the winter. In fact, during recessionary times, the businesses that increased their ads gained the most market share. So consider being counter-intuitive and promote yourself in ways you might not have considered.
Getting back to the a/c people, if everyone has full-page ads in the Yellow Pages and you have no chance of being in the front, consider a newspaper ad where there is far less competition. Or direct mailers for winter tune-ups. That would be the “when.”
The “why” question is the toughest of all. Why advertise when business is good and I get lots of word-of-mouth? Because even the best known companies like Coke and Microsoft need to keep the name out there. Do you live in a town where people move in and out? Are there newcomers in your neighborhood? How do you intend to reach them? If you said, “word-of-mouth,” that’s not advertising. That’s something beyond your control. Realize more people talk about their bad experiences than good. If you found a rusty nail in your onion soup you would tell far more people than if it was fine as usual. Right?
Plan your campaign by finding ways to reach your customers with a message that solves a problem. Every product or service does that very thing, so that’s the easy part. Then develop the approach, implement the strategy, and track the results. Ask your customers for feedback and tweak the ads as needed. And did I mention have a basic business plan?

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Serge Daudelin is a Search Engine Optimization Specialist who has written over 300 articles in print and 5 published ebooks. Serge is dedicated to helping others and offering the best information on how to make more money online.

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