A targeted advertising campaign will bring more customers through the front door and more profit to your bottom line.
Advertising is a must have for almost every business, but it must be approached with an advertising plan that is consistent and flexible at the same time. Unfortunately, the majority of small business owners take the wrong approach to advertising their businesses. The typical small business owner will see advertising as a way to get business in the door and the cash registers ringing when profits are down, and will tend not to spend money on advertising until there is a noticeable slow down in traffic and a drop in profits. By the time business has slowed to this point, funding for a proper advertising campaign is minimal at best. When taking a proactive approach and looking at advertising and marketing from a long term point of view, an advertising campaign should be seen as an effort to build trust, name, and product recognition, not as a means to get customers in the door quickly.
A proactive business owner will have an advertising plan with a realistic budget that will offer a steady stream of media exposure throughout the course of the year. A successful advertising campaign will provide a measurable amount of feedback about your potential customers and what it is that they want or need to purchase. It is important to find out what it is that brought them through your front door. A great way to track a customer’s response rate to an ad is to offer coupons or something tangible that the customer has to return to receive a benefit. When a new customer comes into your store, ask how they heard about your store and the services that your business offers. This is the quickest way to assess what advertising is working. The more detailed the data gathered about the customer, the more targeted your advertising campaign can be.
A well thought out advertising campaign should reach as many different media outlets as possible. A mix of radio, television, and print will make it easier to find a successful formula for your business. Each media outlet should be considered and used regularly until it proves not to be cost effective for the amount of exposure received.
One way to maximize your advertising dollars is to think outside the box. An advertising campaign doesn’t have to use the newspaper or come across a car radio. Sometimes the best advertising campaigns come through community based events such as sponsoring a baseball team or a community activity, and can go a long way towards building a good reputation among community members. They will most likely remember your company name much longer via a personal interaction than through a 30 second spot on radio or television. Drop of a batch of branded pens at your local bank for their clients to use or do something as simple as outfitting your sales force in the field with embroidered apparel - both idea can increase brand awareness, and in turn, improve the bottom line.
The bottom line with an advertising campaign is to get your name out there. Don’t expect an immediate stampede through the door. Track advertising results and keep at it. No one form of advertising or a particular advertising campaign holds the magic key to your company’s success. There is a lot of trial and error along the way, but consistency is the key to a successful advertising campaign.
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