Advertising and marketing are the same things to me. While marketing does encompass a bit more of the front-end work, it all starts with having a good plan. Without a plan, your advertising is a shot in the dark and potentially wasting a lot of time and money not reaching the right potential customers.
The first key to good advertising is a good plan. "Wanting more customers" cannot be the plan or goal for your advertising. Rather, it should be more like "I want 10 new customers that buy full-color black shirts in quantities less than 12 in the next three months." This type of goal is SMART, which means it is:
Another critical element is knowing your customer inside and out. Who are the current customers you have that you love working with and can’t wait for them to call again? Who are the customers that you cringe when they call and hope everything goes well? Define your customer in detail based on the customers you love to do business with and make sure you also understand what qualities you don't like based on the cringe-worthy customers. I even go so far as to name them, as you would a new child. What name sticks out to you like the name of the person you want to be your customer? This trick helps you visualize your message, and puts you in their shoes while you decide how to get in front of them. You can then create your marketing message with your niche in mind, as well as what your ideal customers needs. You only want to spend time and money attracting the right business, not anyone and everyone you can and later needing to qualify them or turn away customers you don't want.
The last piece of good advertising is making sure you have set and placed a clear call to action (CTA) in the message. What would you like your potential customer to do once they see or hear your advertising message? Do you want them to call you? Do you want them to buy something? Do you want them to get a quote from you? Do you want them to go to your store? Finally, once you have the call to action, you want to fit it into your advertising message up to three times. You want it once at the beginning to capture those people that are ready to buy right away and want to be first in line. You want it again in the middle of the message for those that need a little more details first, and then again at the very end. The CTA at the end is for those potential customers who need all the details and might be on the fence. Give them one last chance to take action.
With those three pieces, you should be able to spend the least amount of money possible and have the best return on investment for your marketing dollars.
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