When Will My Ads Work?

This week's article comes in two forms, feel free to read, Listen or download the podcast version below ... 

Download here -> Air Support - Radio Recon - Dec5 (When Will My Ads Work)

Good for you! You’re ready to advertise. Now, it’s best to know what to expect. Everybody wants their ads to work from the first time they play. Unfortunately, that’s not always they way it works. Actually, it’s pretty much never the way it works... unless you run this scenario.

“Free cars, no strings attached. Just come get one from XXXXX”

That one might not even work on the first try because people have grown to become skeptical. You get the point I’m trying to make though.

So, what are the variables?

There are many variables. So, let’s start the flow chart. The first thing to examine is the style of your ad. Most commercials can be categorized into either “Branding Ads” or “Transactional Ads.”

  • Transactional Ads – Most businesses start here. These commercials are usually run as a limited engagement (a week here and there.) For these to be successful they must be backed by a good offer. These are absolutely sales ads. If you don’t include a relevant, surprising, or astonishing offer to make people act right now you will waste your money. A transactional ad should be played often. If you run for a week, try to run it 8-12 times a day. People need to hear the message multiple times to be influenced. Make the offer strong, make the message pop, and make the frequency heavy to get quick results. Your ads should work by the end of the campaign.
  • Branding Ads – A branding ad is a commercial that doesn’t have an offer. It’s played consistently (every damn day.) It describes your business through its personality, the personality of the clientele, the beliefs of the brand, and ultimately by the one extraordinary thing you do better than anyone else. Branding is scary. It costs a lot of money and it requires a lot of composure on your part. Your branding ad will be a financial drain for at least 3 months.  It’s likely that your branding ad will need to air for one full year before recouping costs. But, from that point on, it becomes more powerful, and more valuable than any other advertising form you’ve ever tried. You build equity in a branding campaign, and results are driven much like an RRSP. The value is realized in the compound interest. Branding with mass media is the best paid exposure you can give your business. But, don’t begin unless you can afford to see it through. You will walk long in the desert.

Other variables.

  • Strength of message – Your results will absolutely be tempered by the strength of your message. You can offer your entire product line for free and nobody will show up if the commercial is not delivered in a way that will make people LISTEN UP!
  • Strength of station – All radio stations will work for you. But, they all offer different things. Every station targets different groups of listeners. Every station attracts different amounts of listeners. Every station offers different scheduling packages. Each of these will influence the effectiveness of your advertisement. It isn’t a disadvantage to buy a small station. It just requires you to have a different set of expectations. Obviously less listeners means less fish in the pond. In general, any station will begin working on the same timeline. A large station may result in droves of people, and a small station may result in a trickle of people. It all depends on how many people you’re talking to. So, watch your budgets. A station with 100000 listeners is worth more than a station with 10000 listeners. But, they both hold value. An inexpensive small station may be the perfect place for you to start.
  • Purchase Cycle – This relates to the industry you’re in. The purchase cycle for a restaurant is 2-3 times a day. People need to eat every day, so your business is relevant often. The purchase cycle on cars is around 3 ½ years (depending on brand/model.) The purchase cycle for shingles is 15-25 years. Each of these has a different affect on how quickly your ad will work. Any item can be sold quickly with a transactional campaign, but less people will be in the market as the purchase cycle gets higher. A branding campaign is affected in the same way. Industries with low purchase cycles will begin to see an affect quicker than ones with long purchase cycles.
  • In Store Experience – Advertising ends when the client walks through the businesses door. It’s up to you to convert at that point. No amount of advertising will help a poorly operated business. In fact, it might have an adverse effect. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. It’s possible for your ads to work really well without you noticing a financial boon. This is always related to your commercials selling something you can’t deliver. If you’re going to run advertising, make sure your business is ready to shine.

Many things influence the effectiveness of your advertising campaign. But, I’ll leave you with a quick thought on when you should see results begin.

A great transactional ad with an intriguing offer should work with 3 days.

A unique branding campaign with a truly original message should begin working in 3-5 months. It will become irreversibly valuable in 9-12 months.

Happy advertising! As always, I’m ready to help whenever you’d like to begin your journey.