Advertising campaigns really should come with a set of directions. Something like the directions your pharmacist gives you with your prescription drugs. Some pills will help you, but if you take them the wrong way, you may end up worse. Also, if you use them with other prescriptions they may interact poorly. All that can be said for advertising campaigns. So, why don’t your ads come with directions? Here’s a rough guide for your campaign. Follow these guidelines and your campaign should work.
Branding Campaigns – This style is the worst offender. Generally, business owners get excited about branding their company. The big boys do it, so they should as well. Here’s what should be on the label before they swallow the pill...
- Results may take a full year – This is where most campaigns die. If the client expects immediate results (or even slow results) they will cancel their ads. They absolutely need to know that a branding campaign is the RRSP of advertising choices. You need to pay into it for a long time before you see results. It can take up to a full year to show any benefit. But, once it begins to work, it gets stronger every day.
- Must be used constantly – Go buy yourself a pill box, because your branding campaign is going to be with you for the rest of your life. It can evolve, but it must air every day. One sweet day you’ll start to feel the effects of your campaign. That doesn’t mean you should quit your prescription. Which means it...
- Must be used consistently – Stopping your branding campaign kills it. To be successful, you need to run your message every day of the year without changing it. You can have different messages within the brand, but make sure not to step away from it. It’s common for companies to abandon their brand for a sale, or for Christmas. When those situations come up, just build it into your brand, because when it stops, it loses steam at an alarming rate. Keep your foot on the gas pedal.
- Must not be used with conflicting campaigns – Much like certain prescriptions, there are conflicts within your campaign. When you’re running a branding campaign, everything you run should fit under the same umbrella. That means you shouldn’t run campaigns that are incongruant with your brand. Don’t mix campaigns!
- You need a good plan – Some drugs are too expensive for some people to take. The same is true for advertising campaigns. If you don’t have enough money to run your branding message every day, you probably shouldn’t run full branding ads. To be successful you need to hammer your brand into people’s heads with repetition. Repetition is really expensive, so you better have a good “health plan.”
Now let’s talk about “Sales Ads.” These can be any type of ad that requires people to use your services right away. Most businesses run these. It’s less expensive and you’ll see immediate results. You won’t become a market leader by doing these, but you can certainly grow your business.
- May cause side effects – The worst side effect you will encounter with a sales ad is the type of customer you’ll attract. For a sales ad to work, you need an enticing offer. Therefore, by running them, you train your customers to only buy you when you’re discounted. The clients you bring in will only want you if you’re cheap. If that’s ok with you, go for it. If you want them to buy you at full price because you’re awesome, you may have some lingering problems.
- Should be taken in small amounts – If you can afford to be on the radio every day, don’t run sales ads. When sales ads become your brand, your business becomes cheap. It’s like my previous point. You’ll only get deal hunters. But, since you’re running the message like a branding campaign (constantly) it will be very hard to break the trend. In fact, you may need to burn it to the ground to break the habit. Sales ads are the heroin of advertising campaigns. Which means it...
- May become addictive – Immediate results can be a fantastic thing. Ultimately you want the phone to ring right? That’s where you get hooked. But, it can be a very slippery slope. You can only discount your product so far, and then you’re just eating your own lunch. It gets harder and harder to make your product interesting to the public. Once your business has grown to the point that you can afford a good advertising campaign, begin flirting with branding.
There’s an evolution to advertising. You’ll probably begin with a small budget. At that point, you can run an interesting sales ad here and there. As business grows, you should adjust your mix to include a branding element. Once your business is doing well, invest heavily in branding. Be patient! It won’t feel like it’s working, but it will all be worth it in the end. The best news is, it’s almost impossible to overdose.
Feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more. I can help you no matter what stage your business is in.