Have you developed your advertising plan for 2014? If last year’s plan wasn’t as successful as you had hoped, then do something different this year. Marketing lays the foundation for future success; therefore, if you want to be successful this year, then do your homework now, before the season kicks in.
With this year’s series of articles, we've gone back to basics. If you have to do your own marketing, and you don’t know where to start, or if what you’ve done in the past hasn’t excited you, then it’s always best to start with the basics. So far, in past articles, we have discussed how to make your assumptions, establish your objectives, develop your strategies, and outline your tactics.
If you can describe your ideal customer, you know the customer’s habits, you know what the customer watches and listens to, and you know where the customer lives, you can use that information to begin to evaluate your options. Typically, you want to reach the largest number of qualified potential customers with the least amount of your advertising dollars.
The technical terms for this are frequency and reach. Frequency is how often your message reaches the audience, and reach refers to the how large an audience you hit. One way to evaluate an advertising campaign is to look at your CPM or cost per thousand. CPM will give you an idea how much you will spend to reach 1000 people. While this isn’t definitive in terms of effectiveness, it can be useful to evaluate actual costs.
When planning an advertising campaign your effectiveness increases with the variety of media used to connect with the customer. For example, a drive time radio commercial might reach thousands of potential customers but it will soon be forgotten as the listeners focus their attention on other messages or arrive at their destination. This is where frequency becomes your friend. It often takes six times or more for a commercial to break through the clutter and for the listener to begin to register recognition of your commercial. The repetition must be close together, five times per week will not be as effective as five times a day, five days a week.
If you combine radio with newspaper ads, it will increase the connection with your company and it will increase your effectiveness because you introduce a visual component to the audio component of your ad. Radio and TV are fleeting mediums at best, you have sixty seconds for radio or thirty seconds for TV to make an impression, and then the listener’s attention focuses on something else. With a print component, you have something the potential customer can tear out and save for later use.
When you put your advertising plan together, consider multiple mediums. Which one you choose depends on what you know about your customer. Older demographics, people fifty years old and older still tend to read newspapers, younger people tend to get more of their news online. These generalizations don’t hold true in all cases but they are good guidelines to use. The better you know your target customer the more effective your selection of advertising medium becomes.
In any advertising plan do not neglect the internet because once a prospective customer remembers your name, they will turn to the Internet to search for you. Make sure that you are easy to find. Insure that your website is current and that you have contact information on your website. Unbelievably sometimes, that information is not present or at least difficult to find.
Ultimately, your budget will determine what you can or can’t do with regard to advertising. If you have a very small budget, you may have to resort to unusual ways to get your message out. Typically, if you want to accelerate your business growth, allocate about ten percent of revenue toward advertising, and use multiple mediums to deliver your message. Using a variety of mediums, such as radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, Internet advertising, and mobile advertising will improve your changes of breaking through the clutter and having your message seen or heard by your target audience.
My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.
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