4 Things to do Before You Advertise
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Advertising can be successful and still ultimately fail. Usually, both sides don’t understand why it didn’t result in actual success. The sad thing is it’s often blamed on the campaign or medium when it could have been a number of other disconnects in the execution. So, this week, let’s discuss some of the things you should do before you even consider advertising.
Website – This is the most important element that you need to have in place before you start any mass media advertising. The truth is, people almost always interview your business online first. If your advertising intrigues them, they’ll check your website out before making any decisions. So, if your website is a piece of crap, or (even worse) nonexistent, you’ve lost that customer before you’ve even seen them. But, your advertising actually worked. If you’re running a commercial with an offer in it, make sure the very first page of your website mentions it in a big way. Make it obvious. Don’t make people search for it. I worked on a project recently that had very little perceived success. The commercial itself drove listeners to a website to purchase a limited offer. It didn’t generate many sales in the end. I decided to dig deeper to diagnose the issue. When I went to the website, the offer was buried and extremely vague. We called to see how web traffic was. It turns out; the website had a ton of extra traffic. The sale fell apart when people arrived online. The advertising worked. The website did not. People are fickle. Make it easy for them.
SEO – This is related to the first point. You can have the best website in the world, but, if your search engine optimization is poor, nobody will find you. I recently wrote for a client who was invisible online. I had their URL in front of me, but like most people, I searched for them on Google. They didn’t show up on the first few pages. I had to refer back to my information to find them online. Nobody else will put that kind of effort into finding your business. They’ll just give up. You don’t need to spend a fortune on optimization. Pick up a book and learn the basics. It shouldn’t take much to make your businesses name show up at the top of a local Google search. If you don’t show up in the first few listings, don’t advertise yet (or pay Google to place an ad at the top of the page when someone’s searches for you.)
Educate Your Staff – Make sure your staff aware of everything in your commercials. Give them copies to listen to. If there is an offer, make sure they understand everything about it. Customers hate speaking to someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. It’s an instant turn off. Even if they do ultimately buy, they probably won’t come back. Keep in mind too, people probably won’t remember where they heard/saw the message as well; which is even more reason to have your staff well informed. They need to be the expert.
Give your business a personality – It shouldn’t be up to your advertising professionals to decide the personality of your brand. Creative people are more than happy to help with that process, but it really should come from the business owner. I’ve helped develop brands for flavourless businesses with limited success. It all depends on whether the person in charge adopts the brand and runs with it. I can make something sound fantastic in a radio commercial, but it must be matched at the business itself to be valuable. So, It’s a much easier process if the business has a clearly defined personality beforehand. The brand can be expanded, but it’s more powerful if your creative team has something that you believe in to start with. Allow your business to grow up a little bit before you add mass appeal advertising. Once it “comes of age” free it to the world.
Don’t rush your way into advertising your business heavily. If you miss any of these steps, you won’t see an adequate response. Worse than that though, you’ll probably blame advertising itself and quit on it. Advertising does work. Every form of advertising can work. It’s just an intricate process. It can fail in any number of ways. That’s why you need someone who understands it to guide you through.
As always, I can be that guy if you’re looking for one.