I don’t want to see you making some of the more common (and critical) mistakes most small business owners make when advertising their businesses, so I thought I’d make you aware as to what they are and why you want to avoid them. This way, you can make better informed decisions the next time you do invest time, energy, or money in “getting the word out” about your business.
Targeting “The Masses”
There’s no such thing as a universally appealing message, so you’re better off crafting a message that is targeted to your best, most profitable prospects. But targeting isn’t just a matter of who you want to reach and what you want to say, it’s also a matter of how you’re going to reach them. Don’t advertise on websites or newspapers or magazines they don’t read. The more you know about the who, what, and how, the better your advertising will do.
No Valuable Measurement
You probably want to know how effective your advertising is, so you’ll need to track numbers. While there are a variety of metrics to track, the most important will be the measure of how many people took the action you ultimately wanted them to take. So, if your ad was meant to generate leads or build your contact list, how many new people are on your list as a result of your running the ad? If it was to sell, how many sales did you make?
No Clearly Communicated Objective
This one ties into the measurement mistake – ads that are meant only to build “brand awareness” and not direct a prospect to take an action that advances them toward the sale are a waste of money. If you want leads, offer an incentive for people to give you contact info. If you want a sale, make an offer right there in the ad. In either case, offer clear instructions to complete the action you want them to take.
Rolling Out An Untested Ad
How do you test an ad? There are a couple of ways. I won’t put an ad in a print publication unless it’s first tested with direct mail. Why? With direct mail I get to pick the people I’m most sure want what I have to offer – if I have a loser of a direct mail piece, it never makes it to a print publication. Conversely, if I have a great direct mail piece, I’ll try it in a small publication and check the results against what I expect based on direct mail results and what percentage of that publication’s readership I feel matches my target.
You’d test based on your budget (as this dictates how many people see it) – only investing more in winners.
Join me here next week as I discuss even more advertising mistakes to avoid!
What’d you think of this post? Let me know in the comments below! I also welcome your questions.