How do you know your advertising works for you?

It’s so easy to spend money on advertising – admit it, we all love seeing our faces or our business advertised in our favourite magazine, on our Facebook timeline, or during the ad break on your local radio station when you’re driving to work – but how do you know what advertising actually works for you?

In this blog I’ll cover the key things you need to consider when deciding what advertising to do and how to measure it. The key thing is keep repeating three basic steps; Plan – Implement – Measure.

Plan

Planning will help you focus on what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do this. When working on your plan, there are several things to consider;

What do you want to achieve?

The answer isn’t as straightforward as ‘sell more products’! Do you want to increase your network of potential customers, show people why you are the expert in your line of work, or increase the number of website visits? You can have any number of objectives, but just remember that 1 ad (campaign) should have 1 objective – don’t try to be everything to everyone!

Target market

Who are they? If you don’t know who you’re advertising your products or services to, you can bet your advertising is a waste of money. If you’re unsure who your target market is, or how to define them, have a read at my last blog here.

What media do they consume, who are their influencers?

This is where you really have to do a ‘360’ of your target market’s world. Gone are the days where you only advertised in one medium like a newspaper, radio station or only on Facebook. When I started working in media sales a decade ago my boss said ‘people need to hear about your business in at least 3 different places before you start building trust and eventually become a preferred choice for them’. There’s still a lot of truth in that statement but that research was done back in the 60s and our day-to-day world and media consumption has changed dramatically over that time.

In the 60s it was perhaps enough to advertise in one medium and be successful. These days, people are inundated with impressions, all day, every day. Watching breakfast TV, driving to work with the radio on, billboards along the road, daily newspapers, weekly community papers, magazines – and that’s just the ‘traditional’ media, let’s not forget the digital world! Online there are news site, company websites, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the list goes on.

I’m not saying you need to be everywhere, but you do need to consider where your target market is most likely to ‘consume’ media.

For example, if your business is in windscreen repairs, your target market is highly likely to be listening to the radio when they are in the car and realise they really need to do something about that chip in their windscreen. Radio is pretty bad though at communicating phone numbers (do you ever have a piece of paper handy when they give you a phone number in an ad?!), so you want to direct people either to your website or your physical location. In addition, you want to make it easy for people to find your phone number, so you may decide to run an ad in the yellow pages or the local paper (tip; go for the classifieds so people will always find your ad in the same place!).

In order to become a ‘preferred choice’ ahead of your competitors, you want your customers to get to know you and connect with you, so you need to consider where best to tell your story so your target market will read/ hear about it.

Implement

Once you’ve completed the planning stage and are clear about your message, your media and your target audience, you’ll be ready to implement your advertising. I call this the ‘fun but scary’ part where you actually spend money and are not quite sure yet it’ll achieve the results you’re after!

If you have planned your campaign and follow these steps, you’ll quickly find out how well your spending is paying off.

I always recommend doing up a marketing calendar so you can work out what the year will look like and what you’ll be focusing on throughout the year.

Measure

This is the part many people forget about but it’s so important to measure the results because you don’t want to throw money away on advertising that simply doesn’t work (well enough). In my opinion measuring advertising results should cover 2 things; reaching the right people with the right message, and return on investment (ROI).

Right people, right message is all about building your profile and becoming a preferred choice. This is hard to express in $$ but is all part of building your brand and staying top of mind. I was always conscious of those results of advertising which are hard to measure – I call this goodwill. For example, when my partner and I had our custom-made furniture business most of our work came from repeat customers and referrals and while we knew advertising helped keep us top of mind this was something we struggled to put an actual return on investment on.

ROI is more about the cold hard $$ – how much money do you make when you advertise and is it worth it? In order to determine whether an advertising campaign was successful I generally used this simple formula;

I knew our average sale was $1500 and our average Costs of Goods Sold (COGS) was 30%, or $450. When we spent $300 per month on advertising we generally achieved 2 new sales so the formula is as follows;

It’s generally accepted that 5% is the minimum and 10% pretty darn good so I was happy with our 6%. And keep in mind also we did about 4-6 jobs per month and I only ever counted those I could directly attribute to the advertising so in actual fact the ROI would have been even higher.

Now that you’ve measured the results you have the knowledge to plan ahead and make adjustments where needed and tweak your campaign so it will perform even better going forward.

If you want to plan your advertising and measure the results better, give us a call today to schedule a meeting. We’d love to hear from you.

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