How do you decide where you should advertise your business each year? For some businesses they are working off an old media plan or schedule that was created over 5 years ago and because of the slow economy they have reduced their advertising budgets which has left their strategy outdated and no longer useful. If your marketing is suffering from the “scattered with no direction” approach and you are working off an old spreadsheet of where you “used to” spend your advertising annual budget, it is time to get a marketing check-up and be willing to let go of the “old” to make way for the “new” and more effective approach!
[note: Hiring a Marketing Consultant or Coach to help you with the following process is highly recommended!]
1.) Look closely at your numbers and WHERE you spent advertising dollars in the past and if the rate on investment was enough to consider that media source again.
2.) Consider what your “realistic” current budget is for advertising and commit to that figure, but look for ways to cut costs in other areas of your business so that you can add to your annual advertising budget during a time you need it the most.
3.) Define your “target market” so that you eliminate wasteful advertising and focus on the best media options for your service or product.
4.) Look at the entire year and when it is key for your business to advertise. If you are a retailer who sells more around holidays you must work this in your budget; if you have a seasonal business then consider how many weeks you need to advertise to have the most impact, but still be affordable; and if you are a business who sells B2B, look to see if your clients buying patterns define when you need to advertise more or less.
5.) Take a survey with your existing clients to see what publications they read, networking groups they belong to, radio stations they listen to and TV shows they watch and if they belong to on-line social networking groups like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
6.) Look closely at where your competitors are advertising and make a list.
7.) Think outside the box…..look for new ways to reach your target market in a way that will be memorable, still within your budget and offer you a chance to make enough of a splash so that people notice!
8.) Retire what doesn’t work, but replace it with something new. [Ex. If you have spent $10,000 every year in the newspaper, but your target market is no longer reading the paper…..make sure you put the same $10K in to another form of advertising.]
9.) Match your marketing to your territory so that you are not wasting resources with areas that will not bring in sales. Look at targeting by zip code or zones depending on what you have defined as your target group.
10.) Create a spreadsheet that helps you to organize and coordinate advertising and marketing efforts for the entire year so that you can execute your plan and have more time to execute the ad campaigns and negotiate better rates.
Finally, remember that when your efforts are scattered and with little focus chances are your results will reflect the same!
All my best to your success!