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Do You Have an Advertising Plan?

Is advertising part of the marketing plan for your business? Advertising is used to persuade an audience (your potential or current customers/clients) to take action with respect to your product or service. And that action, if you mean a purchase, can take some time. I’ve read numerous studies that it can take anywhere from 13-17 times for someone to see your ad before they purchase. Much of the initial viewing of your ad puts your name in the mind of the buyer. They begin to recognize your name or brand. Once your name becomes familiar, the prospect moves along a continuum to become a customer and hopefully a long-term client. I think some form of advertising belongs in your marketing plan. When I think about advertising I often go back to the basic questions I learned in journalism school: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Here are my thoughts on how they relate to advertising:

1. Who are you trying to reach? The more you know who your ideal customer is, the better. Before you can decide where to advertise, you need to understand your customer. Often people just think they are trying to reach all quilters. If you really look at your customer, you might find that you are trying to reach beginners or appliqué lovers or avant-garde artists.


2. What is the product you are selling? Remember when you look at your product to look at its benefits, not its features. Benefits tell the customer the problem you are solving for them.


3. Where will you find your customers? It’s easy to look at all the quilt magazines and online advertising opportunities and get overwhelmed thinking you need to advertise in all of them. Take time to figure out where your target market hangs out. Are they traditional quilters who read traditional quilt magazines? Are they more art focused and read art-focused magazines? Do they get most of their information from the Internet? Once you determine where you can find your customer, it lets you narrow down where to spend your advertising dollars.


4. When will you advertise? It’s valuable to set up an advertising schedule outlining how often you will advertise. As I noted earlier, it takes time for people to find you, and you need to advertise on an ongoing basis to expect results. Sure you will get customers from your first ad, but you’ll get more as you advertise more. Your customers will begin to recognize your name and your brand.


5. Why are you advertising? I like looking at this from two standpoints – yours and your customer. You know why you are advertising: name and brand recognition, more sales, etc. Consider your customer’s why, too. Why should they care about what you are advertising? Why are your products or services different from the other products or services they already know about?


6. How will you advertise? You have lots of options with advertising  these days, and you will have to answer a lot of “how” questions once you get through the “W’s.” How will you connect with your customer – print, online, google adwords, etc.? How will you structure your ad: with lots of information, lots of visuals, testimonials, etc.? How often will you change your ad? How will you know if your advertising is effective? You need to create a system to track your results. In the end it’s all about your ROI (return on investment). You can’t make decisions about future advertising if you don’t.

If you spend time considering these questions, you’ll be well on your way to an effective advertising plan. Sometime in the next month I’ll look at ways to create an effective ad.

Please share your thoughts and experiences on advertising below.

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