This is a big, important question many of us face as we promote our businesses. Whether your business is small, mid-size or large, you’re probably not interested in wasting money on advertising that does not produce results.
But this is a loaded question.
Before you answer this question, you need to ask yourself, what do I mean when I say “my advertising works”. Or, to put it another way, what do you want from your advertising?
Advertising can produce different benefits. The most common are a direct response, awareness and education.
In my experience, most small business owners focus on direct response as their desired result. If you design your ads right, you can easily see what results they produce. And the results are usually quick. This gives a fast, tangible return, making it easier to justify the cost of the advertising.
But, what if your ads don’t create a quick obvious stream of customers to your business? Have you wasted your money on useless ads?
Some people think so. I disagree.
Direct response is just one of the benefits good advertising can produce. There’s much more though. Depending on how your ads are designed and delivered, they can produce substantial awareness of your business, your product or your service. And, I’d pick strong awareness over direct response 99% of the time because it builds value for your business.
When you evaluate your advertising, remember the old saying, “Easy come, easy go.”
The less your customers know about your business the lower your odds are of getting them to try you or to come back. Sure, you can entice some people with sales, discounts, coupons and other price-based offers. And in some industries this is the norm.
But customers who choose you on price will also leave you on price.
If you want a long-term customer who stays with you, give them an opportunity to get to know you. Show them how you help them get what they want. Let them see what kind of business you run, so they can decide if it fits who they are and what they’re looking for.
If your customers choose to do business with you because you have exactly what they want, or they trust you or they have heard good things about you, then they’ll be less likely to leave you. Every customer relationship is, at it’s core, a relationship (even if it doesn’t seem like it).
The way you develop a better relationship is by helping your customers learn who you are, what you do and how you do it. You can do this in many ways. Advertising is just one.
If you use advertising for this, let it work. Don’t expect it to generate a quick flow of people walking in throwing money at you. It won’t. (Remember the Magic Marketing formula).
But it can help build awareness of your company so you become known as the first choice in your market. It can help you develop your brand so people think of you first when they want what you do.