If you run a successful shop, you advertise, period. Whether it's a "full court press" in local media, the piggyback effect of a banner program, or just positive word of mouth, you have to let people ...
If you run a successful shop, you advertise, period. Whether it’s a “full court press” in local media, the piggyback effect of a banner program, or just positive word of mouth, you have to let people know you’re out there if you want to succeed in business. So how do you start? You have tons of options, but here are a few basics that will keep you from wasting your ad dollars:
Plan ahead. Do you want to use local media or the Internet; direct mail or flyers; print or broadcast? You have multiple options; but the key is to start simply and build from there. If you have the budget to start with radio spots, great; but don’t stay on the sidelines just because you’re limited to flyer delivery to start.
Don’t advertise where you can’t measure the results. You need a method to determine the impact of your ad program. Here at SSGM Magazine, for example, we’re independently audited so advertisers know how many subscribers receive the magazine. If your advertising vehicle can’t show you stats to let you judge effectiveness, how do you know if you’re winning or losing? At the very least, measure sales before and after the campaign, over a long enough period and ideally in the same season. Your productivity software has lots of unused potential to correlate sales to advertising.
Don’t forget the creative. “Creative” is the actual ad that runs in the space or the time that you buy when you sign the contract or insertion order. That’s usually not included in the price and unless you have creative on hand, you need to budget for it.
Don’t DIY your ad. There’s a difference between a backyard DIY “mechanic” and a trained tech, and it’s no different in the advertising world. It’s not as easy as it looks and the difference between an ad that works and a dud can be invisible to the shop owner. If you can’t afford pro creative, at the very least keep it simple. DIY ads are notorious for trying to do too much with too little.
Go big or go home. This doesn’t necessarily mean large or expensive ads. Frequency is the key to ad success, so you’re better off with smaller, simpler creative that runs regularly and long enough to “burn through” the ad clutter and leave an impression. How much is enough? You’ll know when you see results on your bottom line or no change after a reasonable run. This requires careful measurement “before and after” to know whether you’re gaining or losing.
There are lots of ideas and suggestions around effective advertising. Sometimes the best solution is the simplest: ask someone who knows. This can be another business owner, a paid consultant or an expert from an industry association or local chamber of commerce. Advertising works … if it doesn’t for you, you’re doing it wrong!