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10 Biggest Mistakes People Make with Their Advertising Budget
It’s a new year and a fresh start for your business. This is the prime time to hit the ground running with an effective advertising strategy, backed by an appropriate budget. Unfortunately, it can be easy to get trapped in some common mistakes when it comes to setting your advertising budget. Here is a list of the top 10 mistakes that are often made – and how to avoid making them!
1. Trying to spread the budget too thin
A lot of businesses think they can get big results with a very small budget. Unfortunately, much like any other type of investment you make, you get out what you put in. A conservative budget can still have a big impact, but it’s important to not spread your resources too thin. If you’re starting with limited funds, you should focus on the 2-3 most effective placements to reach your target audience, and invest in frequent and long-term advertisements there.
2. Placing a single ad here and there, without a real plan
Another mistake is shooting from the hip with your ad placement. Spur of the moment advertising without any consistency or regularity is often a big waste of money. It’s important to have a long-term plan in place and to have a clear understanding of your goals. Placing single ads here and there are not only more expensive than investing in long-term placement, but they will hardly give you a noticeable return on that investment.
3. Placing ads based upon relationship with the sales person
It’s a sales person job to sell you advertising, so of course they will work hard to form a relationship with you. Just because you consider your sales person a friend, doesn’t mean they’re selling you what you really need. You need to keep an unbiased approach to your ad placement, or hire a firm who can provide you with an objective viewpoint.
4. Buying into deals and gimmicks that don’t fit your advertising goals
Again, we will emphasize that it’s a sales person’s job to sell you advertising. Often, they will approach you with the latest “deals” that aim to sell you on placement you very well don’t need. Always keep in mind your target audience and communication goals and compare this against the placement they are offering you. Don’t hesitate to say no if it doesn’t fit your plan. Even a “deal” is a waste of money if it doesn’t hit your target audience.
5. Placing the same ads with the same outlets year after year
Just like you need to frequently review and adjust other areas of your business to run most effectively, you also should review and adjust your advertising budget and strategy. From year to year, your business changes, so does your target audience and the reach of your current ad placements. At least on an annual basis, be sure to review where your ad budget is going and make changes accordingly.
6. Trying to “outspend” your competition without a strategy
If you’re in a highly competitive industry that tends to spend a lot on advertising, be aware that it can be a dangerous game to try to outspend your competition. Just because a competing business puts up a big billboard down the road from you, doesn’t mean it’s in your best interest to purchase a bigger billboard next to it. Always compare your ad spending to your communications plan and your target audience. If it doesn’t fit your strategy (or your budget), don’t do it!
7. Decreasing ad budget because of not seeing immediate results
When an advertisement first starts running, it takes time to see the full scope of the results. Too often, businesses will get frustrated and pull down an ad because they don’t feel like it’s bringing in customers. Pulling the plug too soon will cause any money you invested to be essentially wasted. It takes time to build brand recognition and to ultimately move customers to take action.
8. Decreasing ad budget when business is slow
Similar to the mistake above, businesses make the mistake of slicing their ad budget when times get tough. While it’s important to conserve funds to stay afloat, advertising is what will help to bring more business in. Pulling down all your advertisements will undo any progress you have made thus far and cause you to be out of sight and out of mind with customers.
9. Spend every last dollar just because it’s there
On the flip side, should you have a surplus in your advertising budget, don’t spend it just because it’s there. It’s okay (and smart!) to reinvest your excess ad budget into other areas of your business that may need it. You can also apply it to next year’s budget to do even more. Don’t frivolously spend up your ad dollars just because they’re there. Only spend money if it fits your strategy and reaches your target audience.
10. Not asking for professional help when needed
Finally and most importantly, seek out expert advice when you feel lost. An advertising firm will provide a fresh, unbiased look at your current advertising placement. They can offer a full audit to ensure your ads are truly reaching your target audience. An ad firm can also negotiate on your behalf to help you get the most for your money and will manage the media sales reps so you don’t have to!
Which of these mistakes do you feel are most harmful for your advertising budget? Or do you have another mistake to share? Leave us a comment!