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“CHOOSE WISELY” …spoken by the Templar Knight in the Indiana Jones movie the “Last Crusade”

As important as marketing is to a business, a good percentage of business owners hate making decisions on which medium to advertise with. Their rational is that it’s too expensive, they don’t want to get tied into a long term contract, they don’t know if the ad …or which ad is bringing in customers, everyone tells them their advertising medium is the “best” (and has a dozen data points to prove it). Some delay the decision, some take the sales persons word that their medium of advertising will work for them, some advertise everywhere (print, radio, tv, yellow pages, coupon magazines, direct mail, etc), and some, not wanting to throw money away, just simply don’t advertise at all. All those decisions are wrong, and could be costing you money, a lot of money!

Do not stop marketing your business or yourself; …even in the worst of times. I tell my clients that just because others stop advertising doesn’t mean they should. Because others do stop, is precisely the reason that you should continue. Two things to remember 1) advertising works, and 2) the consumer is fickle. They may see the same ad for years and not have a need for that particular product or service, and then one day, bam; they need that service, see an ad (anybody’s ad), and pick up the phone. Whose ad did they see, yours or your competitor’s? When your competitors stop advertising, it’s time to pick up market share!

But… (you saw the but coming didn’t you?), you may have to learn a few things to put your marketing budget to its “biggest bang for the buck” use. So that’s the subject of this article. Not whether you should or shouldn’t advertise (that’s a no-brainer), rather it’s about where, when, why, and how to advertise. This article is GOLD, read it “CHOOSE WISELY” then, put it to use.

First, let me say that I am not here to “bash” any advertising medium. They all have their pluses and minuses and if you familiarize yourself with which mediums work for your business; your service or product, your location, your target market, your vision for your business, and your financial situation, you’ll be farther ahead of the game than 98% of your competitors.

So let’s look at the different types of advertising mediums around. We’re not going to talk about marketing methodologies such as Joint Ventures, Host Beneficiaries, Networking, Social media, radio TV and so on, we’re going to focus on print ads (yellow pages, newspapers, coupon magazines, direct mail, inserts, flyers, brochures, etc).

20 questions you should answer before signing on the dotted line:

1) Who is your target market?

2) What is your advertising budget?

3) What advertising mediums are your biggest competitors using?

4) Does the medium you’re considering reach your target market at a cost you can afford?

5) Do you have to tie yourself to a contract and if so, are you comfortable with that?

6) What size ad is appropriate for what you intend it to do?

7) What return do you expect on your investment?

8) Is your ad easily seen or is it “in there somewhere”?

9) Do you have any say as to the location/positioning of your ad?

10) How many customers does the ad have to bring in to pay for itself?

11) How do you know which ad is bringing in the customers?

12) Can you make changes to your ad? When? Is there an additional cost for that?

13) How many consumers does it reach? Are they your target market?

14) Does it cover all your area of service, or will you need to take out add’l ad’s to cover more area?

15) How often does the ad run?

16) How long will it run?

17) Is the advertising medium you’re considering easy for the consumer to use?

18) How many customers has this medium brought you in the past? Did it make you a profit?

19) Do you use that medium to find products or services you need?

20) How often do you see or hear from the person that sold you the ad? When it’s time to renew?

Do they call occasionally to see how the ad is pulling for you and offer suggestions? Go figure!

Tip: Try two or three advertising mediums at a time, but change only one thing in your ad (headline, body, special) at a time. Track everything. Track the number of clients each brings in and how much profit the ad is generating. And, if a specific medium isn’t MORE than paying for itself …kill it!
You’re not in business to break even.

Tip: Ask your customers where they found you, and why they use your service or buy from you. You may be surprised.

Tip: Ask your friends and neighbors what they do with the advertisements they get. Do they look at and use them, trash them, stick them in a drawer; …kitty litter? ?

Tip: Shop around. Get at least three quotes from similar providers. List the benefits of each (use the questions above as a guide) before making your choice. In other words “CHOOSE WISELY” …it’s your money.

Your accountant will tell you advertising is an expense. I believe it should be a profit center.

...on your side,

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About the Author

Sieg Weber, SRW Business Consulting
PO Box 7333
Redlands, CA 92375

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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