At this very moment, there must be at least nine other companies competing for your customers. Some are in your line of business, while others may be in an entirely different industry. All are trying to convince your customers to buy their goods or services instead of yours.
How can you win sales in this competitive environment? One way is with advertising. To understand how advertising works and how to obtain the best results, begin by refreshing your knowledge of the marketing basics.
Take another look at the marketing texts on your bookshelf, library, or bookstore - standards such as the Guerrilla Marketing series and others listed in Advertising Books below are helpful. Review the fundamentals of targeting a buyer segment and marketing strategically to that particular niche.
Determine who your existing customers are, and define the target market you want to reach.
Know what you're truly selling, which is probably not only your product or service, but also an intangible such as status, self-enhancement, or peace of mind. These have been called the secret motivators of sales. Once you determine the intangible benefits of your product or service, you'll have a clearer sense of who else offers that intangible and what advertising approach and image you need in order to compete successfully.
Taking into account target market, sales message, images, and competitive environment, determine your underlying objectives in running an advertising campaign - objectives such as expanding the wholesale side of your business or developing a more affluent clientele.
Equally important, establish a realistic advertising budget. By rule of thumb, it should amount to three to five percent of your annual revenues, although you'll need to consider adjusting up or down depending on the extent and spending levels of your competition. This budget should cover any community sponsorships you may provide, as well as your advertising in newspapers, magazines, Yellow Pages, internet, on radio and television, by direct mail, and any other promotional avenues you choose.
Here are some additional issues to consider in developing the right advertising for your business:
- Think Like a Buyer
- Six Essentials of a Successful Ad Program
- What's In an Ad?
- Avoid These Pitfalls
- Tracking Your Results
- How to Create an Effective Yellow Pages Ad