Focus efforts where they’ll make the biggest impact
For campaign rollout, consider both online and offline advertising and public relation activities to increase visibility with prospects. Don’t be afraid to consider unusual tactics to raise awareness for your business. Generally speaking, your budget will dictate where, when, and frequency of ad placements. PR, on the other hand, is a low cost alternative and is something you can help expedite if you can write and submit articles for publications in local newspapers or trade magazines, or for online industry venues.
Different options to consider for offline or print advertising may include flyers, direct mail, catalogs, signage, billboards, and advertisements in magazines or trade publications. Online advertising, on the other hand, typically includes banner ads, PDFs (electronic files from a sponsor/promoter), ads appearing in e-newsletters, email campaigns, or on websites that appear on desktops or mobile devices.
Note: Radio and television advertising tend to be device dependent; both can be on the web (or online) or on their native devices like a car radio or television set (or offline). If incorporating different mediums into your campaign, be sure to think of the different devices playing your ad, and your ad’s ability to influence your target audience from that device.
Improving campaign effectiveness
Creative elements have production time associated with them and deliver their own message or connotation. Give proper attention to layout, graphics, video, and voice elements incorporated into your ad. Together, these elements tell your prospect about your company – its values, quality level, timing, and ability to execute. Some elements take more time to develop and cost more to produce.
- For video productions, write a script detailing whose speaking, what they’re saying and how, location specifics, and camera angles, if important. Depending upon the size of your organization, multiple drafts and reviews will be needed to finalize it.
- If implementing an online advertising campaign, add social context to show prospects other ‘fans’ they may know liking your product or service. Prospects are more likely to buy a product or service when they see friends like it too; it builds their trust in your product/service.
- To encourage news articles on your business, contact editors from the publications you would like to be mentioned in and pitch your story. Offer to draft the article for them, understanding they will have full editing control and will determine where and when the story is displayed. By drafting the article for them, you’re helping to speed time for publication while providing some messaging that may be beneficial to your business. You will also be offsetting resources the publication spends on writing and researching the topic, which will often appeal to smaller publications with lean editorial staffs.
- Be sure to track effectiveness, which can be done by adding QR codes directing to designated URLs, redemption codes, or special phone numbers. These corresponding codes and web pages have back-end processes and branding aspects that also need to be coordinated with the timing of your campaign.
Messaging should be customized for the communication channel’s target audience. Ideally, the messaging should be personal, include a call-to-action (call, send, buy, etc.), and be focused. Keep in mind: Each communication channel has its own limitations to control who sees, hears, or reads their message. TV, for example, reaches a broad audience, so the message can’t be as focused on one segment’s needs. E-announcements, on the other hand, can reach a very targeted list of individuals so the message can be specific to their interests.
Pay attention to ad timing
The time frame for when the ad appears in print or in other media (television, radio, newspaper, magazine, etc.) may impact effectiveness. Keep in mind that special holidays or deadlines with social significance may impede or drive promotion campaigns. The time frame should be evaluated during the campaign development stage.
Frequency of placement is key to ensuring the prospect recalls your message. Ideally, your ad is placed is multiple communication channels (television, websites, direct mail, email newsletters, etc.) simultaneously, each reaching the same audience around the same time, for the best impact on recognition. Consider venues where your ad is given increased or special exposure like interstitial ads enabling a captive audience. Also, increasing the number of ad placements will increase costs, but obtaining bulk rates can help.
Submission deadline for creative materials to the publisher’s advertising department is typically well before the time frame that the ad appears.
Take advantage of all advertising opportunities
Be sure the ad size and placement within the publication, website, or mobile application along with any merchandising credits are known and accounted for upfront in your planning. Merchandising credits are incentives given by the publisher to encourage more business. (Examples: money back for certain amount of advertising committed; coupons; online banner ads; inclusion in list of advertisers; complementary direct/email campaigns; etc.) You’ll want to make sure to leverage all opportunities you can to reach target customers cost effectively.
Assess mobile advertising challenges
Being able to target customers in a certain location may help inspire in-shop purchasing. Consider ad platforms based on behavior traits and location data collected over time. While it may be difficult to time offers coinciding with a target customer’s needs, your ad can help build brand loyalty since 80% of purchases are planned as opposed to being made by impulse.1