7 Questions To Ask Before You Advertise
By Michele Pariza Wacek
Most business owners and managers keep a fairly close eye on their
And nothing throws a budget out of whack faster than
Advertising, or paying good money to get your message in
front of your target market, still has a place in your marketing mix, although
it's not quite as effective as it once was.
If you're going to
advertise, you need to be smart about it -- or you can quickly find yourself
with a blown budget and not much to show for it. Below are seven questions to
ask yourself before writing out that check.
1. Do you need to generate
customers / traffic/ leads/ etc. right away?
If so, then you better pull
out your wallet. Advertising is hands down the fastest way to get your message
of your target market. (You're paying for placement after all.)
2. Do you
have another way to get the word out about your business?
do you have a customer database or an e-zine list? If so, then you might be
sending an e-mail (assuming you have customers' e-mails). Although technically
e-mail announcements fall under advertising, I'm not counting it in this
particular case because it's more or less free (or very low cost).
Perhaps you have a good news angle and a good relationship with a
reporter. Or you have a high-traffic Web site and/or blog. Or maybe you're an
active volunteer with a large organization and can use networking to get the
But if none of those really apply, then you'd better take a
closer look at advertising.
3. Do you need to augment your other
Maybe you have articles featured on a Web site targeted
to your customer base. Great when your article is front and center and not-so-great
when your article is buried in archives. A little advertising on that site can
keep you in your target market's sight all the time. Or maybe you struck gold
and got a big article written about your company in the perfect trade
publication. Fantastic for that month and not-so-fantastic for the other 11
months of the year. Or maybe it's taking you longer than you'd like to drive
traffic to your Web site. Advertising is good for speeding things
Frequency is king when it comes to marketing -- if you're out of
your customers' sight, you're probably out of their mind when it comes to buying
time. Advertising is a good way to beef up or speed up what you're already
4. Are other marketing methods not appropriate in this situation?
Let's say you
want to have a sale. But your customer database is small (or nonexistent). Your
Web site has minimal traffic. And you aren't going to get any
bites from the media since having a sale isn't news. What do you do? Run some
5. Would you rather save time than money?
Let's face it. Running an
ad is easy. Other marketing methods are more time-consuming. If you want your
marketing to be easy, then advertising is about as easy as it's going to get.
(Now there is a caveat to this one, because you can hire people to do some of
those marketing tasks, such as updating Web sites, running PR campaigns, etc.
However, not everything can be hired out so you still might be stuck spending
time you don't have.)
6. Are you planning to test a new campaign or a new
Running small, inexpensive ads can be a good way to test
certain marketing aspects before launching big, expensive, time-consuming
campaigns. If you want to penetrate a new market or if you have a new product
to launch or a new marketing message to try, buy some ads and see what the response
rate is. Another strength of advertising is control -- you have total control
over your test.
7. Do other marketing approaches never quite measure up?
It happens. Advertising
in one or two specific media outlets seem to generate more sales and more leads
then anything else you've tried. If that's the case,
then don't mess with it. As the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix
Creativity Exercise -- Advertising and your business
advertising right for your business? Try this exercise and see.
your biggest marketing challenge right now? Write it down.
2. Go through
the above list of questions and ask yourself each one. Does it apply to your
situation? If it does, write that down too.
3. Do some brainstorming. In
what ways can you use advertising to solve your marketing challenges? What media
would work best? Online? Print? Radio? Television? Direct mail? Something else?
Make up an ad for a variety of media.
Now do the exact opposite. Think
of ways advertising WON'T work for your business. Brainstorm at least 25 reasons
why advertising won't work for your specific situation. Be silly. It's a good
way to loosen you up.
4. Go back and re-read both your pro and con lists.
Now read your ads. Do you like what you came up with? Do any of them resonate
with you, even now after coming up with your list of objections?
have just come up with your next advertising campaign.
Michele Pariza Wacek
About the Author:
|Michele Pariza Wacek is
the author of "Got Ideas? Unleash Your Creativity and Make More Money." She
offers two free e-zines that help subscribers combine their creativity with
hard-hitting marketing and copywriting principles to become more successful at
attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. She
can be reached at http://www.TheArtistSoul.com.