Believe it or not, branding, marketing, advertising and promotion are all different and necessary components of a successful business. Many, many people think they can just interchange these words (which drives us nuts). Long story short, branding is your voice and identity, marketing is your game-plan, and advertising is the action of publically communicating your product or service to consumers through creative positioning and paid media spaces. Advertising should be a part of your overall marketing and awareness strategy, not in a category on it’s on! Is you’re head already spinning? Don’t worry, we’re going to walk you through how to make the most out of you advertising campaigns!
Brand Before You Expand:
Advertising is ineffective without having already established your brand/branding/logo. You will undoubtedly do more harm to your business than good if you decide to advertise before you have a solid logo and branding strategy in place. If you have an advertisement (or an ad that directs to a website) with a poor logo, low quality images, and/or no general direction, you’ve already lost any potential customer who sees it. First impressions are vastly underestimated. You have to grab your audience’s attention from the start, or they’re just going to move on to one of your competitors.
RELATED: Brand Before You Market
Use Calls to Action:
Your advertisement should be directing your audience to go somewhere or do something. If your ad is about a specific product, then you should be directing them to a place where they can purchase and get more information on that product. If the ad is about your business as a whole and you’re attempting to brand yourself, direct your audience to an ‘About Me’ or ‘Testimonials’ page so they can find out what you’re all about.
Targeting Your Audience:
Figure out who your target audience/demographic is and tailor your advertisements to appeal to them.
- Targeting Young Adults: Advertisements for young adults need to be unique and frequent. Adults ages 18-49 are voracious consumers of media with frequent exposure to myriad marketing messages. Most adults ages 18-34 own a computer, and young adults are 68 percent more likely to make an online purchase than the average Internet user. Over 80 percent of young adults use social media. Digital advertising is a solid medium for reaching young consumers. Paid search, such as search engine optimization or pay-per-click, Facebook ads and email marketing are all effective ways to reach an audience 18-49. Don’t count out television and email marketing, though. According to a 2012 report by the Barnes & Noble College Marketing Division, young adults say email and TV commercials are the best way to reach them over other advertising mediums like coupons or radio ads.
- Targeting Females: Businesses like fashion boutiques or hair salons that primarily target the female demographic can turn to effective advertising mediums such as local magazines and newspapers, television advertising and community outreach efforts to connect with their audience. Local magazines that focus on or have subsections pertaining to home, style, fashion, family or household topics hold a strong presence with the female demographic. Television advertising is a good way to reach a large female audience by placing ads on talk shows, sitcoms and reality TV. Effective advertising can also be accomplished through community outreach with other women in your community. Example: Apparel boutiques can host a fashion workshop for women entering the workforce. Salons can offer free makeup demonstrations to high school students. Book stores can arrange a reading by a popular female author or introduce kids’ reading programs to the community.
- Targeting Males: Reaching the male demographic through advertising is highly dependent on which age group your business wants to target. Ages 12-24 spend a great deal of their time playing video games and playing sports. Solid advertising mediums for this demographic includes online advertising on the most influential video game websites such as PlayStation or XBOX. Billboards in video games are also effective. Males ages 25-44 spend a lot of time on the Internet and watching TV; advertisements on these mediums make sense to reach them. Older males ages 45-64 also can be engaged through these two mediums. TV and search ads are an effective way to reach this age demographic, but don’t rule out advertisements on the radio or on video games as even mature men participate in these leisurely activities.
Creating an Advertisement
People see hundreds of ads everyday. Do something that will make yours stand out from everyone else. Consider factors such as colors, images, placement, arrangement, fonts, sizes, shapes, wording, target demographics, etc. There are endless possibilities, but it’s not an easy task. Don’t rush your ad! Make sure that it accurately and strongly represents what your business is about. This is your first impression for a lot of people; make it a good one!
Do a SWOT Analysis:
– S is for strengths. Assets that give your business a competitive advantage. Skills that set your apart
– W is for weaknesses. Areas where competition has advantage over you.
– O is for opportunities. Areas to pursue to grow your business. Ex. A particular strength, to correct a weakness, capitalize on something going on in the marketplace.
– T is for threats. Factors that could be detrimental to your business.
- Strengths and weaknesses refer to internal factors.
- Financial resources: Funding, sources of income, investment opportunities.
- Physical resources: Location, facilities, equipment.
- Human resources: Employees, volunteers, target audiences
- Access to natural resources, trademarks, patents, and copyrights
- Current processes: Employee programs, department hierarchies, software systems
- Culture and image
- Operational efficiency and potential
- Opportunities and threats refer to external factors.
- Market trends: new products, new technology, shifts in audience needs
- Economic trends: local, national, and international financial trends
- Funding: Donations, legislature
- Demographics: Target audience’s age, race, gender, and culture
- Relationships with suppliers and partners
- Political, environmental, and economic regulations
*Do a SWOT Analysis for both specific products and your overall brand.
Running Your Ad
Set an advertising budget:
Figure out how much money you can allot to advertising for the year, and don’t go over your budget. Decide what you think the most effective forms of advertising will be for your business, and dedicate a specific amount of your advertising budget to each form. If you see that something isn’t working, then take the remaining budget for that form and invest it in something that’s getting results.
- Be aware of the various advertising platforms and be selective based on your goals and audience:
- Blogs & Websites
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc)
- Magazine (Print and Online)
- Radio & Podcast
- Television & Cinema
=) Shameless Self-Promo: Want to advertise with us? Check out which spots are currently available here!