In today’s fast paced business environment, marketing is often neglected until there is a crisis. As long as things seem to be working and the sales seem solid, marketing can wait. But when the phone stops ringing, business owners go into panic mode. They will turn to a comfortable go-to solution like advertising and run ads in local papers or periodicals. Some will even turn to online display ads or paid search on Google or Bing. Unfortunately this “shoot from the hip” approach often fails to address the underlying mechanism that is the key to successful advertising. Successful advertising must be a campaign.
Merriam Webster defines a campaign as: a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result. This is exactly what’s required for successful advertising. As a society everything we are exposed to works to actually decrease our attention span. Commercials are rarely more than 30 seconds and conversations are often conducted via short texts or tweets. So advertising has to capture attention incrementally in short steps. In other words it has to be a chain of engagement that allows people to absorb specific information that is designed to address a need they have. This can be as short as two steps or can involve several more.
The bottom line is, whether it’s display advertising, search ads, or traditional media like radio and TV, you cannot rely on a general ad as the sum total of your advertising.
Successful advertising includes a series of steps and elements designed to provide the maximum opportunity to convert attention into business.
So what are these steps that should be included in an advertising campaign and what do they involve? At the basic level, there are four steps in any advertising effort centered on a campaign.
- Design the Message – You have to know who your target audience is and what problem you can solve for them. All advertising is about selling ideas. Identify the group you are after and the problem you can solve for them. Your goal is to convince potential buyers that they should consider buying your product or service and motivate them to take the next step in the process towards making that transaction.
- Select Advertising Channels – What are the best sales channels to get your message in front of the right people? Select the media channels that match your target audience and budgets.
- Produce Ads and Landing Pages – Segment the pitch into elements; a brief, powerful message that will pique the viewers interest for the ads, then flesh out the proposition in a landing page with elements that make it easy for the viewer to contact you or purchase directly.
- Monitor Results and Adjust – The key to maximizing your return is to monitor results. Run variants of ads and see which performs best then adjust and keep moving forward.
This basic framework can be expanded upon and adjusted to accommodate most advertising efforts for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). By segmenting both the approach and the delivery, the message can be fine tuned to maximize the return on investment.
In upcoming posts we will address each element in much greater detail and include examples that make the concepts more vivid. In the meantime, start thinking about your business advertising as a campaign and see what opportunities are out there for you to grow your business.