The business world has never had so many advertising channels at its disposal. Going back just 10 years there were only a handful of tools and medias to choose from. Now the world is a little more chaotic. From online to print, radio and television the choices are becoming endless. They all have their uses, but determining which channel to put your time, effort, and money into is a very important decision. Here are 5 tips to help you make this decision.
1. Begin with What You Are Comfortable With
If you don’t understand all forms of advertising or how it can help your business begin by analyzing the channels you do understand. If you know about print flyer advertising begin writing down pros and cons while always considering the dollar value. Think about your target audience as well. If the cons seem to far outweigh the pros look into alternative forms of advertising and find information on them. Always weigh your options, but start with what feels comfortable.
2. Ask Yourself Who You Want to Reach
Almost all types of advertising hits at different audiences and demographics. If you’re target audience are males between the ages of 35-55 you probably won’t be advertising in a women’s magazine or website. Your target audience should drive your advertising channel. Most advertisers should be able to provide a great deal of data on their viewers/readers demographics. If they can’t provide the information stress the importance of it in making your advertising decision. You can’t get to where you want to go without knowing roughly what your destination will look like.
3. Advertising Online isn’t the Only Way to Go
With social media and website banner advertising becoming the norm for many advertising ventures, by no means are they the only effective advertising forms out there. Print advertising, specifically print flyers, is still a popular and effective advertising option. The reason is that many people fall into an almost sacred routine of flyer shopping that is not easily replaced by online means. Countless people also listen to the radio for hours during the day. These types of advertising don’t work for every industry or sector, however. Simply remember that online is not the only option.
4. Always Think About ROI and Tracking Effectiveness
Try your best to establish a form of metrics tracking regardless of your advertising platform. You need to be able to track how your ad dollars are being utilized. The hardest forms of advertising to track effectiveness are print and radio. While these are two highly effective advertising and branding tools there are traditional issues with showing “results” outside of anecdotal stories from potential customers. There are ways to facilitate tracking for print by using tools such as QR Codes, SMS Messaging, and unique URLs that should be considered. These tools won’t give you exact metrics, but surely will be more useful than using nothing at all.
5. Branding is a Type of Advertising
Owners of small and medium sized businesses often want/need to see a direct return on their advertising investment in a very short amount of time. These types of expectations need to be slightly mitigated. Branding is a very important part of advertising. Today’s consumers, from B2B and B2C business models, require multiple advertising impressions before customers consider making a purchase. Branding is a part of advertising that breeds long term success. Few pieces of advertising create instant success and even fewer create sustainable success (i.e. Groupon model creates instant success, but not necessarily sustained success). Branding through advertising is an investment in the future that can pay dividends.