Know your advertising goals

This may sound like a silly question, but do you know specifically why you are advertising?

This may sound like a silly question, but do you know specifically why you are advertising?

Is your purpose to build an image or to attract customers directly to your door? Your intentions – purpose for advertising – helps to design the message and even determines which medium to use. Knowing your objectives focuses on the outcomes and drives your results.

The purpose of advertising usually falls into two categories: a) to make a profit now – sales from an ad covers the ad’s cost plus the cost of the product or, b) to make a profit later – create a new customer who comes back again and again. Ideally, a business tries to fit into both, to create a new customer at a profit and to have become a repeat buyer.

In recent weeks, my articles have focused on Creative Advertising, the specific, print advertising format designed to send out creative messages about your product or service. The headline, offer and call to action targets your business demographic but can also catch a prospect’s attention that may be interested in buying.

Phone directory advertising is called Directional Advertising. An ad is designed to reach prospects when they are ready to buy and they are selecting a company to deal with. Is your business built on existing customers or a constant supply of new ones? If it’s new customers, it’s likely that phone directory ads will work for your business. The key is to have your ad stand from all the rest.

An effective phone directory ad is similar to other print advertisements and must include a dynamic headline. It must include a powerful statement and all the benefits to let the reader know why they should do business with you rather than another company.

Consider this example. An individual is shopping for air conditioning in the local Yellow Pages. The first ad they see has ‘George’s Cool World’ in big letters across the top. The second says ‘Air-conditioning City’. The third has a headline that says ‘7 Ways Harry’s Air-conditioning will SAVE you money’. Which ad is more likely to be read? Keep in mind that most people that call a phone directory ad are shopping around for the best price.

In today’s digital world phone directories are offering up to three platform search engines – print, online and even cell phone application. Link these platforms with your web site to show the prospect a more complete and current view of your business as well as the chance to collect more of their details.

To bring the topic of “advertising” to a close, I want to address the benefits of Radio Advertising.

For many businesses, the medium of radio is beyond their marketing budget capabilities. However, there is no better method to reach a broad market. Using a combination of print and radio advertising is ideal.

The key to a successful radio advertising campaign is to choose the station where the listening audience matches your target market. Don’t advertise on a station just because you like the music format. The station that plays your favorite music won’t necessarily attract your ‘perfect client.’ Interview the creative director to learn which defined demographic their programming is aimed at.

Creative sound effects and music are an important part of any radio commercial. The spot needs to grab the listener’s interest immediately. Music should appeal to your target audience but also compliment the product and service you’re selling.

Audio effects gain the listener’s attention, but the message must convey specific information in a clear, believable and easy to understand fashion. Trained radio announcers guarantee a professional-sounding commercial, but if you have a unique voice quality and are confident in your ability to ‘animate’ the message, you could consider doing the ad personally.

Radio is an effective way to be “top of mind” as the format is designed to repeat on a regular basis on a designated schedule. Work with a commercial specialist to produce quality ads that will be played often, at time when your target audience is listening.

Radio advertising, supported with print advertisements in your local paper and phone directory, will ensure broad, complete coverage and can produce excellent results.

If you’d like more detailed information on the different marketing strategies, just put in a request through the contact page of my website. www.actioncoach.com/johnmackenzie.

ActionCoach is published on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month in the Business section of the Advocate. It is written by John MacKenzie, whose Red Deer business ActionCoach helps small- to medium-sized organizations in areas like succession planning, systems development, sales and marketing, and building/retaining quality teams. MacKenzie’s blog can be found at bprda.wpengine.com and he can be contacted by email at johnmackenzie@actioncoach.com or by phone at 403-340-0880.