Friday, November 14, 2008

Advertising Stepping Stones

Recently I met with a client and noticed on his desk a list of 7 individual advertising efforts that he had paid for and been involved with. Most of them were one-shot deals and he was wondering what to do.

The truth is almost anything can work if you do it correctly, but to try and maintain seven advertising outreach programs, you can either go broke, or toss up your hands in frustration and conclude that nothing works.

I have a more sensible solution that I have seen work repeatedly over the past 20 years.

Focus on building relationships with your advertising and marketing.

Instead of seven paid forms of advertising, pick one or two and work with them. Invest in them, develop a relationship with the people that see or hear your advertising message.

Let's start with radio. Where I live there are about 15 local radio stations and all of them have loyal listeners. The ones with the most listeners usually charge the most to air advertising.

But you don't need the "biggest audience", you need to form a relationship with the listeners of a radio station that you can afford to advertise with consistently for the next 52 weeks or more.

Who buys what you have to sell?
Do you know your customers?
What type of radio station do they listen to?
There are often more than one or two, but you only need one (or two if you can afford it.)

The first advertising step is to reach the same group of listeners every day or every week.
Run your commercials in a specific "day-part", say 10 am to 3pm, every day on one radio station.
Air between 10 to 15, up to 25 commercials a week during the same time every day.

This builds a relationship, name awareness, branding, top-of-mind awareness with those listeners and over time, you will get business directly from those listeners and their friends and family, because you have formed an advertising relationship with them.

In most cases, I advice my clients to expand when they can afford to grow more, but do not stop or move the original schedule to another time of day, or worse yet another radio station or advertising venue.

Take the next step when you can, but add to what you are doing, or else you risk losing the relationship with those potential customers that may want to buy from you in the near and distant future.

Take it one step at a time.

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