It's the goal of many businesses, perhaps even all of them. It's the Holy Grail, the advertising campaign that brings you the maximum sales for the minimum investment. But make no mistake; the smart money is on a planned approach using the key points listed below. Even if advertising is still as much an art as a science, don't let that put you off digging for the facts and using a rational approach.
Your marketing plan is the first step. Don't have one? The now is a good time to make one. Your marketing plan will essentially say what kind of customer you want to attract, what your offering will do to gain that customer's interest and how you will promote and fulfill the sale that you make. It doesn't have to be complex. Some of the best marketing plans get written on the back of an envelope and it's this simplicity that helps them drive business success.
Next up is your advertising strategy. It's a bit like betting on horses. And if you've ever placed bets on horses, you'll probably know at least one thing: intuition and hunches are dangerous things! Advertising, like horses, need a careful look at the facts and the statistics so that you can then put your money on the option that really is the best bet.
The amount of money you want to spend also needs to be defined. It can differ widely from a few percent to almost half of the revenue. It'll depend on your business and the return that you can get on your investment. Consider aspects like repeat sales that you might make with customers. If they are likely to come back to you time and time again, you can justify a higher ad spend to get them on board.
Advertising copy has to be top notch as well. Let's not confuse top notch with super expensive. It may be a case of clearly and simply articulating your business philosophy (for example, “We make and supply superb art reprints that are guaranteed to fit in with your home". Resist the temptation to get tricky, at least until you've got some solid advertising working for you. Tricky or obscure advertising appeals to a very limited market at best.
Finally, track what you do and the results that it brings you. This is why you wrote your marketing plan, you defined your advertising strategy and you laid aside your hunches. Tracking is what will let you see where your money is working and where it is not. That means you can switch your expenditure to the advertising that works.
People who may have the best intentions in the world will often offer their opinion about what advertising you should do. Compare what they say with what you see going on around you, but always come back to the facts that you know to be true. That way, even if there is no “one size fits all" solution in advertising, you'll at least be pointed in the right direction.
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