I remember when we owned our very first business taking the advice of every sales representative who came through our doors. One day it was this super nice lady selling the next best space in her magazine followed a few weeks later by some really smart guy selling me radio space and also someone came in selling us advertising space on a tabletop for restaurants. There are many, many other advertising options that can come your way whether it be someone stopping in your office, an email in your inbox or a phone call. Salespeople can be really good, make excellent points, show you some really impressive graphs and make their tactic sound like the next best thing. I’m not hating on any of these. What I am hating on is reactive advertising. Unplanned, strategy-lacking, inconsistent advertising.
In today’s blog post I want to talk to you about how to determine which advertising tactics to invest in, how to know if they’re working and when to make your choices. Something we see very often with our clients, and prospective clients, is that they come to us without one strategic plan. Instead, they come to us having had one group working on their advertising, one group working on their email marketing and social and yet someone entirely different working on their website. It’s a lot to keep up with for a business owner. So let’s dig in and help you solve the puzzle of advertising.
First Things First
If you’re a Stephen Covey fan then you know the very popular book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. If not, we recommend it. :) One of the 7 habits is “first things first”. In this it is important to take care of what is most important first. So when we’re thinking about advertising, before you select where you’re going to spend your hard earned dollars, it is important to think of your overarching goal. What are you trying to accomplish. When possible, set a schedule once a year, actually create a one-year marketing calendar then break it down into quarters and even months and weeks, when applicable. When you back up and look at your company’s marketing efforts in that way it will be helpful in selecting your advertising placement. Know what it is you are trying to accomplish:
- Brand awareness
- New product/service launch
- Company culture promotion
- Award or Certification recognition
- Event promotion
When you know what you’re trying to accomplish you’ll be better at taking the next step, determining placement.
Pick the People and the Place
Now that you’ve got your goals determined it will be more logical to start thinking about the audience who will need to receive your message. Will you share your message on social? In email? On a billboard? Magazine? An integrated plan will help you determine the best place to share your message. If the audience who needs to see your message will be on Facebook, then Facebook ads will be the best choice. But, if it is a targeted group of professionals who specialize in a specific industry then maybe their industry professional organization has a magazine you can choose as your source of advertising. See where I am going? It is also possible, and often recommended, to share your message across multiple platforms. An integrated, planned, proactive approach is what will likely help you achieve your goals. If you have a holiday special you want to share, then in your marketing calendar possibly starting in October you will include advertising on social, in email, radio and with some strategic partners who can place your message directly in front of your target audience. All of your marketing efforts are consistent, planned and have an integrated strategy.
All the Pretty Words and Pictures
Now, it gets fun! You’ve got your goal, your placement and now it is time to put the words together and the graphics. If you’ve got one person from the radio station, one person from the magazine and one person from the social media advertising company all working on this one promotion, be sure to communicate the same message to them all. You don’t want fragmented or random advertising happening. Lay it out in an organized fashion so that all parties are sharing the same consistent message. The Rule of Seven is a tried and true marketing motto that suggests customers need to experience a message seven times before they will act. So sending out one email, creating one Facebook post or magazine ad will most likely not be successful. Create your message and share it more than once. We highly recommend following the StoryBrand Framework when creating your message. Words sell and when they’re confusing, use your industry jargon or terminology it can turn people off. They need your marketing message to be clear, simple and easy to understand. Work with your graphic designer to ensure that not only do your words matter but also your images. Who is the center of your story? Your company or your client? (The answer is: your client!) Don’t forget that it is critical to include some type of tracking in your ads. It might be in the form of a tracking phone number, a link with tracking code built in, or maybe it’s a text to join the email list or even a promo code. Whatever you do - include tracking! Your results depend on it.
Did it work?
Once you’ve done all of the steps already mentioned and your ads have launched now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Hopefully your direct call to action in your ad has created some new business for you. But how do you know?
- Are you tracking?
- Are you asking your customers how they heard about you or why they called that day?
- Have you taken a look at your Google Analytics?
- What about your social media and email marketing insights? Are you reaching people? Are they engaging? Did they join your email list or unsubscribe?
The details matter and they’ll guide you in what is working and what is not working. As you look into the statistics, make notes for future reference. If the wheel is not broken, don’t fix it. But, if it is, don’t use that wheel again, or, if you do then be sure to tweak it to ensure you get better results next time.
Haphazard advertising. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money most of the time. Rarely do we find that advertising done without a plan, goals and an integrated strategy works. It must involve planning, strategy, execution and analysis. We can help with all of this. You work really hard for what you have. When it’s time to spend your money promoting your business, let us help. We have the team of professionals ready to do all the hard work. Whether it’s determining the audience, the placement, the pretty pictures or the crystal clear StoryBrand message, we specialize in getting it done. Call us at 985-662-8419 to plan your advertising dollars so that you get results.