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Understanding Lures and Limits of Advertising

January 25, 2010

Advertising can be a valuable marketing tool for any small business.  But don’t assume that creating and placing an ad will immediately translate into more sales.   

Successful advertising requires a lot of research into the various options available—print, broadcast, Web, email, mobile, direct mail, etc.—and whether their potential results are worth the investment.  In other words, will the right people see your ad, and will they respond to it?  Before you spend your hard-earned money on advertising, understand what to realistically expect from ads. Only then should you draw up a plan for moving ahead. 

Ads can do the following: 

• Attract new customers, prospects and leads.

• Encourage existing customers to spend more on your product or service.

• Build credibility, establish and maintain your “brand” or unique business identity, and  
  enhance your reputation.

• Inform or remind customers and prospects of the benefits your business offers.

• Promote your business to customers, investors or others … and slowly build sales. 

But here’s what advertising probably cannot do: 

• Create instant customers.

• Solve your cash flow or profit problems by producing an immediate sales windfall.

• Cure poor or indifferent customer service.

• Create benefits that don’t really exist or sell products and services that nobody wants. 

In short, advertising won’t guarantee quick sales for your product or service by itself, but it will get you noticed, if you do it right. That means you must know, as precisely as possible, the demographics of your target audience and craft a precise message about your product or service that will engage them. You must give customers a compelling reason to call, visit your Web site or stop by your business.  What’s your hook?’ Why should they buy from you? 

Other considerations include what your ad looks like, and the context in which it appears.  Attempts to be clever may back fire, while something too simple may be overlooked.  How often your ad appears is also important.  Depending on your goals, a one-time placement may not be enough.  When your ad appears many times in many places, there’s a better chance your prospective customers see it.  Just make sure the cost of multiple placements fits your advertising budget. 

To learn more about advertising your small business, contact Lancaster SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 50 volunteer mentors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call us at 717-3997-3092 or find us online at www.scorelancaster.org.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 9:11 am

    Visit any of the sites below and look for the post your ad link. You can start with any of the sites that are in bold. We recommend setting up a separate email account for posting ads.

    Step 1. Visit the classified site.
    With Classifieds for Free, you can start posting ads without an account, but you will have more options if you register. You can post different ads to different cities, states or countries.

    Step 2. Most sites will require an account to post ads. It is a good idea to use the same user name and pass for each site. You should also download Roboform to make life easier. Roboform is a software that remembers your information and automatically fills out web forms when needed.

    With Classifieds for Free registering an account is optional.

    Step 3. Post your ads to the relevant categories. Some sites will allow you to enter a separate URL or webpage. This is where you paste your hoplink. Otherwise, the link can be included in the body of the ad. If posting ads for our site, it can be posted to the Business Opportunities, Home Based Business or Work At Home categories.

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