Any advertising ideas, great or otherwise, need a good advertising plan to get them implemented.
Advertising is the second leg of your marketing plan and because it can be expensive, it will pay you to understand the basics of advertising before deciding on the methods that will suit you and your business.
Your Business Advertising Idea …All business needs to advertise to let the customer know what you do, where you do it and to get more and more of them to do it with you.
If you have great business advertising ideas using Newspaper, yellow pages or maybe direct mail then just make sure they work for your business
Before you even start looking at the many different types of advertising available you will need to pinpoint the customer you are hoping to attract with your advertising idea.
Your marketing plan will have defined your target customer, so you can now decide what advertising media will work best for your business.Let your imagination and common sense guide you, when you decide;
- Who are your customers?
- How do you intend to sell your products?
- Are you in a broad or a narrow niche market? Good merchandising will help here.
- If you were a customer where would you expect to find your business advertised? For example, are your customers hobbyists; if so they probably subscribe to hobby magazines, so that’s where to advertise.
- Are you hoping to sell locally or nationally, different advertising is needed for each.
At start up your cash resources will be very limited so you need to spend your advertising dollar wisely. Basically decide the type of media you think will be best, spend time giving it some thought.
Let’s look at some of the many types of advertising available to you, before you implement your own great business advertising idea.
All effective advertising is based on a campaignNo one-off advertisement can ever succeed except in a very limited and short lived way.
Advertisements only work if they are repeated often enough and are powerful enough to get your message across to your potential customers.
This is a very important point to remember, you cannot spend your entire advertising budget on one or two big advertisements and then stop!
If you have limited resources spread them out over smaller, less expensive, advertisements that are repeated enough times to get your message across.
Creating good advertising copy is difficulty, so unless you have experience in advertising and marketing hire a professional.
- This need not be expensive as there are many small one person advertising businesses with good people available.
- You might even try your local art college for help. They will often be only too happy to get practical experience in advertising 101.
The type of advertising media you choose can have a large impact on getting your advertising idea across.
For example if you advertise in the print media, newspapers and the yellow pages, you will only attract the attention of buyers who are actually looking for a product. No one really leafs through the yellow pages for fun. Print adverts are non-intrusive and have a very short shelf life.
On the other hand, radio and TV advertising is intrusive and a campaign of such advertising can mean that customers are aware of you and your products long before they actually want or need to buy.
Print advertising has always been considered the basis, the foundation, of all forms of advertising so not to be too reactionary, let’s start with print advertising …
The Pro’s & Cons of Advertising in PrintWell thought out print advertisements containing the right message will out perform many of the advertisements in print today? Getting a print advertisement right is not difficult if you follow some basic rules.
- Get people to notice the ad. Make it stand out from all the other ads. Do this via color, headline or design, but make it noticeable.
- There are only two things a print ad can be used for. Decide if you want to announce some news that will attract people to your product or tell them what’s in it for them.. What will they get from using your service or product?
- Show why people should buy from you. Why will that be a wiser choice than buying from your competitor? You must sell your advertising idea.
- Have a really good headline that not only attracts, but gets readers motivated to do something.
- And remember the aim of your advertisement is to get people to know you and your products. All your ads must get this message across or they will not produce results.
- Don’t be shortsighted and don’t promise what you can?t deliver. Advertising ethics are just as important as a quality service.
Where to place your print advertising …
You have the choice of advertising in newspapers or magazines
- Newspapers are a quick and relatively inexpensive way to get your advertising idea out to the public.
- This will allow you to take quick advantage of events that could lead to sales.
- The disadvantages however are that newspaper advertisements are a one day wonder, yesterdays newspaper advertisements are stale news.
- To overcome this, you need to continue your advertising daily for weeks or months to build credibility.
- And don?t forget local community newspapers. They can give excellent results and are often very cheap.
- Magazines … There are magazines to suit all tastes and interests
- So you can advertise to a more focused market.
- Your advertisements can also still be attracting attention weeks or even months after publication.
- A well placed advertising idea in a magazine can be very rewarding.
Direct Mail can be an effective advertising idea worth considering …
Based on your product or service and customers, you will want a variety of advertising methods to help catch potential customers attention and buy. Direct Mail should be one of theses.
Here are some of the more common methods of getting your advertising idea out there …
- Direct Mail … Basically any advertising material that you send to your customer directly can be classified as direct mail advertising.
- The number one problem with direct mail advertising is the need for up-to-date and accurate mailing lists.
- Whether you are sending out a newsletter by post or an e-mail message, you need a correct address.
- Your mailing list is vital to your success and you need to work on, not only capturing names and addresses, but also keeping these up-to-date.
- How to collect a list
- At every opportunity, get names and e-mail addresses
- Collect names and address from checks, information cards and delivery addresses from purchasing customers
- Hold a competition and require addresses on the entry card
- Collect business cards
- If appropriate, open a suggestion book
- Let customers or potential customers e-mail you with suggestions or complaints. Make sure that you always answer these as well as collecting address information.
- Rent a mailing list. Not my favorite method, but it can work if you are careful in the list you buy. A list broker might be able to help you here. Check the Yellow Pages or search online.
Now that you have your list, how do you use it in your direct mail advertising to sell your advertising idea?
- Brochures … Use your own desktop publishing software to produce brochures in house or have them printed for you.
- A good brochure is brief, full of interesting information and always makes a good impression for your company.
- Spend some money on getting it right; make it feel good as well as read well.
- Postcards … Cheap and can be highly effective in generating sales.
- Best used where you want to get a message across for some special offer or sale opening.
- A postcard is more often read than all the other types of direct mail. Why, because it is addressed personally and you simply have to turn it over to read the message.
- Flyers … are the in between advertising direct mail, method.
- Not as big or as expensive as a brochure, but has more advertising room than a postcard.
- Stick them through mailboxes, under car wipers, or on notice boards.
- Newsletters … Many a good advertising idea has been sold via newsletters.
- Again do your own using desktop publishing. Once you have it designed and worked on the best layout to suit your type of business there is no need of further changes.
- Best for getting across to the buying public the nature of your business and services.
- A good newsletter is looked forward to by its readers and is not considered junk mail, ready for the trash.
- Not all businesses are right for a newsletter, but where they are, they can be very effective.
- If your business needs to keep customers informed and educated about your services or products, you will do well with a newsletter.
- Keep it simple, tell people who you are, promote your services or product and be informational. Can be a great way for selling your advertising idea.
- Sales letters … Believed to be a dying art, Not so.
- A good sales letter can still be very effective in generating sales so don’t write them off.
- Keep them short and sweet, only just long enough to get the job done.
- As you normally send them out in the mail, remember that you are “talking” to the customer, so make your letter inviting. As it comes out of the envelope it must generate an “Oh! This looks interesting.” response
- Draw them in, give them the benefits and then show them how it benefits them to respond.
- Are catalogs for you? … All mail order businesses rely on catalogs for their business, without them even those on the internet would be out of business.
- Many, many different businesses types would benefit from an in house catalog.
- Catalogs can be huge, mail order, or a very simple four to six pages.
- All good catalogs show your customers the advantages of buying from you, so select the right customers for your catalog.
- Be ready for the potential sales increase when your catalog hits the streets.
- If you can?t supply what you promise and let customers down, beware, your name will be mud.
Fans of direct mail campaigns tend to devote mountains of cash to building and promoting them.
For companies that use them regularly they seem to work well and the companies tend to kepp them running for years.
If your business lends itself to direct mail advertising, use it well. It can achieve excellent results and be extremely cost effective if done right.
More Business Advertising Ideas …
- Yellow Pages provide one of the first advertisements that any start-up business needs to take advantage of.
- Place your advertisement in the yellow pages where virtually everyone who needs to look for something will use the Yellow Pages.
- Don?t neglect your advertisement here and make it stand out.
- Radio and TV Advertising …
- Need not be expensive and can turn out to be your best form of advertising.
- Unless you have unlimited funds, don?t attempt to advertise on National TV or radio however.
- Cable television and local radio stations give plenty of scope for getting across a good advertising idea at affordable rates. But, like all forms of advertising, a good advertising plan is essential if you are to succeed on Radio and Television.
- Start with radio, get your local radio representative to visit you and pick his or her brains.
- Decide on your target, budgets, production costs, audience cost per thousand and frequencies.
- Learn your mistakes on radio advertising while you grow and then go TV.
- Sound too technical or time consuming, then get help from an advertising agency, or consultant.
- Advertising on the Internet … The Web is everywhere and as such can be a great means of advertising. Everyone nowadays seems to have their own business website, and you should too.
- Web advertising is not as easy as placing an ad in the newspaper. Firstly you need equipment and secondly you require expertise.
- You need a computer, you need software, a web host, an IP address and a domain name. You also need to design your site, write content, promote it and finally update it regularly and maintain it.
- All this can be very time consuming so it will very likely pay you to hire a webmaster and / or a web designer to get your site up and running.
- Without visitors to your website you have nothing, so it so important that you attract visitors using the search engines, affiliates and links.
- Doing this, unless you are very computer and web literate is difficult and again a professional could very well be the answer.
- A good strong Web presence that pushes your image and brand can also be used for on-line sales, as a research tool and for the marketing of your advertising idea.
- The internet is here to stay and continues to grow as an effective advertising idea.
That should see you through to getting your advertising idea out to the masses, but there is one more type of business advertising that should not be forgotten.
- The classified advertisement … Cheap and simple but read by thousands each day in the newspapers and online.
- It keeps your business in front of the public and can be changed regularly to create variety
- As long as the advertisement pays for itself, don’t change it
- I have known classifieds that have been run for years, still attracting business
- If you have a good classified ad that gets your advertising idea across, leave it alone
- Do not ignore online classifieds websites, particularly those in your own market segment
Any other business advertising ideas?
Never forget or completely discount all the other cheap, low cost and simple ways of advertising your business, service or your product.
- Using your stationery, receipts and invoices
- Send your flyers or sales letters out at the same time as your invoices
- Use the sides of your business vehicles. Great Exposure, just make sure you present the vehicles well. No dirty, smelly diesel leaking wrecks.
- When someone phones your business after hours does it just ring and ring or do you use an answering machine to provide them with information? If not, why not?
- A “good morning”, a smile and a polite “Can I help you?” costs nothing, but can make a customer out of a “just looking, window shopper”
- Your business cards must market your business as well as identify it. Do yours?
- Make your product branding advertise for you