Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Which Form of Advertising should I Use?

As a business owner, this is one of the most critical decision you need to make.

The number of options continue to grow, but not all options are created equal.

Let's come up with a measuring stick to determine what you should do.

The first question is, "How Long will I be in business?"

Some businesses are seasonal, like a Christmas Tree lot, or a Snow Cone stand.

For them, it would not make sense to advertise when they are closed.

But most businesses are open year round, and so if you are open 12 months a year, you need to advertise 12 months a year.

Your advertising needs to have both reach and frequency to the right people with the right message.

Let's use radio as an example, but you can apply this to billboards, television, paper, the web, anything really.

Reach refers to the number of different people who will see/hear your message. A radio station might have 50,000 listeners per week, but all of them will not hear your commercial.

Perhaps the average number of listeners at any one time is 1000. Only a percentage of those listeners will be in the market to spend month with you if they hear your commercial one time.

This is where Frequency factors in. Because our brains filter out most of the information we see and hear, I have a better chance of winning the lottery than you do of getting a new customer with just one commercial. And I have never even bought a lottery ticket!

Frequency is repetition. Think about the toddler that asks for a cookie, repeatedly until Mom or Dad give the kid a cookie just to stop the noise! If the kid asked just once, he would be ignored.

But repetition doesn't have to be annoying. That's where the right message comes into play.

So, what form of advertising should I use? One that you can afford to stick with with enough frequency to consistently reach and invite people to do business with you. Perhaps it's not the biggest radio station, maybe a more targeted station with a lower cost per commercial will allow you the right combination of reach and frequency for your budget will work better.

One last thought on this subject, take a look at the motivation of the person who is sitting across the table from you, trying to sell you advertising. Do they care more about their success or yours?

Ideally, they should care about both.

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