business advertisingAny print medium can be used as a business advertising tool. Any interactive medium can be used as an advertising tool. In fact, there isn’t much that cannot be used. However, the final decision of what you use depends on your customer.

Here is a list of places that you could advertise your business:

  • Directory listings – such as Yellow Pages, phone books, industry directories, etc. Important for people to find your details if they are referred to you by a friend.
  • Local papers – depending on customer base and location.
  • Magazines/trade journals – Trade journals are magazines published and distributed to people within a certain industry, such as a design journal, a building or engineering journal.
  • Transit – Signs on buses, trains, and at bus stops and train stations. This can also include advertising on taxis, if it is done in your area.
  • Major newspapers – national and major metropolitan newspapers.
  • Television and Radio

When making a decision to invest money into any business advertising as part of your business plan, there are a number of factors that you must take into consideration before choosing to book the ad space and make the commitment. Ultimately, these considerations will relate back to the overall marketing goals of your business.

Know The Intended Audience

When you are considering advertising in a publication or on TV or radio, it is important that you know the target audience of that method. This will influence whether you advertise and what message you promote to the audience. Information on a reader’s/viewer’s income status, family life cycle, age, and so on will impact on the success your advertisement will have.

For example, if your target audience is that of young families and the publication is focused on the elderly or teenage, then there is a good chance that you will not advertise in this medium. By knowing the audience of the advertising method is, it will help you to have a better return on your investment.

Reach And Frequency in Advertising

How often and how far your business advertising travels will affect how successful the campaign is. If you only advertise once, then the response will be much less than the results of an ad campaign extending over 5 or 6 placements. The number of times you advertise for a particular campaign is referred to the frequency of the advertisement.

You can achieve frequency by advertising in different mediums, such as local paper, local radio, and the Internet. However, regardless of the medium, the audience must be the same. If it is a local market you are after, then stay local with advertising and repeat the message to the same target market.

The number of prospective customers that your advertisement is seen by depends on the number of people the medium is distributed to. So, if you chose to advertise in the local papers, and their readership is 45,000 people, your ad could (potentially) be seen by that many readers. This is commonly referred to as the reach of the medium.

Television has historically had the greatest reach for advertising. It has the ability to reach as many people in the shortest possible time, with greatest impact. However, it costs. Major radio stations and metropolitan newspapers tend to be the next successful medium for reaching many potential customers. Local papers and radio stations follow, and then other niche market publications.

Typically, the organization’s message needs to be seen at least 5 times for the message to be received by the target audience. This may be an ad, media release, Internet article, radio interview, and another ad. That is why it is important to assess advertising opportunities in relation to the complete marketing approach, to maximize the return on the investment.

Decide To Advertise and Market your Business

When a publication contacts you with an invitation to advertise in their product, you must assess its suitability for your business. To do this, ask a few questions, such as:

  • How many readers/viewers/listeners do you have?
  • How often does it go out?
  • Describe your typical reader/viewer/listener.

The answers to these questions will tell you if the publication, etc has the right audience, reach and frequency you want to invest in.

How much should you spend on advertising?

This is defined by your budget. Before the financial year begins, your budgets should be prepared by working with other key staff. How much you spend is always up to you. If you operate a business with other partners, then you will be accountable to them for your decision. At the very least, you are accountable to you, and so your decision should be well thought out and based on facts. This is where your customer research will help, as it indicates where your target market looks to gather information about your product or service.

When assessing the opportunity, ask yourself questions like:

  • What campaigns are you currently running?
  • What is in need of promoting the most?
  • When did we advertise last time, and it what medium?
  • Have we promoted the same message in another form?
  • Could we promote the same message in another form to maximize the advertisement? A good example of this is a media release next to the ad in a feature in a local paper.

Designing the Advertisement

Some businesses try to design the advertisement themselves, whilst others use the services of a design agency. They both have their drawbacks. The first can appear unprofessional, and the message may not be as strong across every medium. The second option can be difficult if the business doesn’t have the available funds.

There are a number of sites on the Internet that you can visit to find great design firms to outsource your design and advertising needs to. One well-used site is Elance, which provides an opportunity for you to search for people you can outsource work to.

Wherever possible, try not to use the publication’s designers to design your ad. Their concern is in page layout, not in how your message appears to your customer. This service may be free, but you could quite easily end up with three different designed ads appearing in the same publication, and you have lost the chance to enforce your message three times to the same audience. Stay true to the brand and image of your business at all times when advertising.

When working with design firms, you will need to trust their judgment and ideas, but keep in mind that you know your customer best. Have a look at other work they have done as examples. Design businesses can be a great part of your promotions plan if used well. Don’t be restricted by location, either. In today’s society of emails and phone calls, you can access this skill from almost anywhere.

As with any company that you outsource jobs to, do your due diligence. Make sure they can provide the service they promise they will, and ask to see some of their previous work – even talk to their previous clients.

Placing Your Advert and Monitoring The Results

Once you have assessed these factors in preparing to advertise, place your ad and monitor the results. This is probably the most important part of any advertising you will ever do. If you don’t know what medium is giving you the results, you won’t know which advertising to repeat, and which advertising to avoid.

A very simple way to monitor the result is to ask your customers where they heard about you. Either ask them as they enter your store, call your business, or make a purchase. You can also use this approach if you are testing different words in your ads. Some words and messages will have a greater impact than others. This method of testing and finding out the results will tell you which ads are working, why they are, and in what medium. Once you know this, stick with it.

Now that you have an idea about where you could advertise, and some of the considerations you should address before, during and after you place your ad, refer to your research and have a look at how your ideal customer gathers their information. Do they look in directories, the Internet, or the local paper? Use this information as a starting point in planning your business advertising campaign.

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