Advertising your business is most often perceived as a grudge purchase; in other words, you pay for something but you really don’t like it. You incorrectly feel that you would rather spend the money on something you actually do want or need which will bring you instant gratification. In your heart you know you have to do it but your logic reasoning tries to convince you that you would be okay without it; even though you know you won’t….

Part of your biggest problem with paying for advertising is the feeling that the rewards and benefits cannot be measured quickly or directly. This is precisely why it’s called ‘an investment’ because you will definitely reap the benefits later.

Marketing is unfortunately a necessary ‘evil’ to stay in business and you cannot afford to believe that it is a waste of your hard earned money. You need to think of advertising in the same manner you think of paying your taxes, insurance, wages, your rent etc. It is an extremely crucial part of your business sustainability. Advertising is a solid contribution in your business’ long-term survival!

The biggest benefit of marketing is to constantly remind your existing customers that you are in fact still in business and doing well; people tend to forget quickly. Marketing your company gives you a distinct advantage over your competition who doesn’t advertise and your competitor isn’t going out of business. One of the major benefits of advertising is its ability to strengthen your business image; to market your own brand, and your unique way of doing good business. Advertising allows you to stay in business in a market that is constantly changing and it maintains your organisational morale. If you don’t allocate money solely for advertising then you are going to regret it later. It is just plain, simple, common sense; advertising pays every time, all the time!

We are fortunate to live in an age of technological wonder and the diversity of marketing mediums available to us is absolutely delightful.  So making the right decision of which platform to use, can be quite a challenging and daunting task. But if you are not yet a corporate giant with a huge marketing budget who can easily afford very costly television and or radio ads, then you should opt for the lesser expensive online advertising.

Advertising is business and as a small business owner myself, I can tell you that I quickly pick up when a competitor starts using the same advertising medium that I do. Needless to say, I also notice with a smile when he doesn’t advertise anymore. You know if your competitor cannot afford a simple ad, then he’s in trouble and that is good news for you. This is exactly the same way prospective customers and your existing clients pick out your business ad published. They have a need for something and recall seeing your ad last week; so they go and look for your ad and you’re not there anymore … Now they go to your competitor! This is exactly why it is so important to keep on advertising once you do start.

So how do you measure if your advertising is working? First off, if you are investing in marketing your company then you are on the right track because you are visible; you’re being seen and it does get stuck in someone’s mind somewhere. Obviously this is way better than not being noticed at all! Feedback from new and existing clients is just as important. When they contact you, briefly ask them how they found you and if time allows, get a little more details on what exactly attracted them to your ad and why they decided to contact you specifically. Test your ad with friends and family; get their opinion as well.

The look and feel of your ad needs to be designed properly and you will have to spend time to get it right. If you are going to spend money on advertising it is advisable to get a professional to design your layout as they have all the software tools to get it ‘print-ready’. Look at the publication that you are going to advertise with; run your eyes across the pages and see which ads attract your attention. Look at their content and their use of white space. Notice how colours and pictures make the right impact; big, bold letters that steal your eyes. Special offers and discounts can also sweeten the invitation. You may not get it a hundred percent correct the first time but that is why customer feedback is so crucial.

Persistence is key and you have to stay at it! Religiously book your ad and get client feedback. Ensure you get a proof-print from your advertising designer and publisher as well as check every single word and item before you approve the design. You would be surprised how negative some small incorrect detail can affect your ad. A common mistake is they get your contact details incorrect. One digit missing or extra number on your cell phone means no-one will contact you! Double check all the spelling; you’d be amazed at how quickly your brain reads the the same word over and over again without realising its spelled wrong; it’s just how our brains work (did you see it? I spelled ‘the’ twice in the last sentence). It helps to have someone else also view your ad before approval as they look at it with fresh eyes and may even give their opinion as to the effective use of your content. Eventually you will be at a stage where you know your ad does what it was designed for and then you can relax and just keep running it persistently.

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