If you are going to spend a dollar on advertising, you really need to be certain that you will get $10 in return. Advertising without a plan is a slippery slope. We can help.
Advertising is attention you pay for. It includes a wide array of options including billboards, magazines, radio, newspaper, direct mail, online advertising and more. The key to it all is to have a clear strategy with a clear expectation of a return on the advertising investment. Advertising expense is then allocated across the mediums that are most likely to get results.
None of this is accidental however and requires a strategy, a plan and a budget. This is where we excel.
Here's how it all works.
- Ad buying
The start of a successful advertising campaign begins by defining a clear and measurable outcome. We emphasize the word "measurable" to emphasize that there must be an objective means of verifying if the goals were met. Metrics like "a 20% increase in gross revenue for the period ending July 31" or "15 additional lunch tickets during the Tuesday lunch slack period" or "an increase of retainer clients to equal 30% of gross annual sales" are all specific and measurable outcomes that in turn drive the advertising strategy. Doing it any other way is just guessing.
The second aspect of advertising is the creative. Creative must be relevant to the audience, must be concise and must include a specific call-to-action. The "less is more" standard applies here and we often recommend creative that is highly visual with minimal text. We also recommend that the idea be focused and time-limited. Finally, don't make the reader guess what you are trying to say - just say it. Being overly clever often risks being overly confusing when the meaning is lost on the reader.
Attempting to negotiate your own ad buy is a rookie mistake. Just don't do it. The variables are many and you don't know the rules of the game. Typically there is zero extra cost to you to retain us to negotiate and place your advertising. Our fees are netted out of the discounts we receive as a wholesale buyer of a large volume of advertising. We often can negotiate value added bonuses as well such as extended runs of the ad or additional placement in companion outlets. Bottom line is, we bring experience to bear to get you the very best in price and placement available while saving you the time of doing it yourself.
Which advertising medium is the most effective?
All advertising medium works within the proper context and plan. The key is to consider what the ad will do for you and over what period of time. A billboard for example is primarily to create awareness that you are in the market. Its time-frame can be several months long. A magazine of newspaper ad typically is to ask for something specific over a very short time-frame as a retail ad or a restaurant special. A banner ad on a website may last for just a day. All work when used as a part of a clear strategy with a measurable outcome.
What about online advertising like Google ads, Facebook ads or banner ads?
Online advertising in its many forms can be both highly effective and budget friendly. Depending on the medium, there is no charge until and unless there is an interaction with the ad like a click even though the ad displays and is viewed. Online advertising also has the wonderful characteristic of being trackable to allow you to see in real time how the ad is doing - something very hard to do with traditional forms of advertising. The trade off lies in the vastness of the internet. While the cost may be relatively low, if not managed properly, your ad - no matter how inexpensive - may never ever be seen. Key words like "hamburger" or "women's shoes" also are competed for aggressively and are likely very expensive and possibly out of reach budget wise.
How do you know what to spend on advertising?
Think of ad budgeting as though you were going to a bank to ask for a business loan. Before granting you the money, the banker would ask for your projections on how you intend to use the money and how your expenditures were going to return more money to the company. That is how an advertising budget starts. This can be a specific dollar amount or can be derived from a percentage of sales or can be tied to a necessary outcome. Using the banking analogy, you can't just guess at what will happen once you spend the money. You need to research, test, monitor and track to be sure the dollars are doing their job. These are the factors that go into determining the advertising budget. Feel like skipping all of this? Then just allocate 20% of your gross annual sales to marketing and you will be close.