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6 Advertising Mistakes That Will Cost You Big
Advertising, when used correctly, can launch a business, grow a brand and fill the sales funnel. Unfortunately, many businesses fall victim to common advertising mistakes that result in a major waste of time and money. They either get frustrated and give up or ignore the warning signs and continue to throw good money after bad.
The challenge is that technology, though it has revolutionized the advertising industry for good, has also made it more complicated for businesses or organizations to weed through all the options out there and find the right ones to meet their goals. Let’s take a look at six common advertising mistakes businesses make, so you can be sure to afford falling into the same trap!
Starting Without a Strategy
Foremost, businesses make the mistake of rushing into creating and placing advertisements without first sitting down to determine their strategy. What are your goals? Who do you want to reach? What is your message? Without a strategy in place to guide your ad placement, you are far more likely to fall short of reaching your goals – mostly because you don’t know what they are to begin with! Always start at the drawing board, collaborate with other decision makers in your business and determine your strategy for advertising. With this in place, everything else can begin to come together.
Buying Month to Month
The next most common mistake is not sticking with your advertising long enough to make it effective. Often businesses run something a couple times, expect immediate results, and when those results are not apparent they stop advertising altogether. Like anything, advertising takes time to be effective! When you approach your advertising with a month-to-month mindset, you’ll never see the full results you could if you remain consistent with your placement. While this also means committing to investing in your advertising continually, the money spent will yield far greater results in the long-term and help create residual sales for your business.
Not Setting a Budget
When businesses fail to set a budget for their advertising, things can get out of control quickly. You may start by spending some money on an advertisement here and there, and before long your business is bleeding cash on ad placement that may or may not be working for you. Furthermore, you need to make sure your budget is appropriately sized to meet your goals. Not only should you set an overall budget, you must break this down into a budget for the various types of media you plan to use. The percentage you spend on each type of advertising should be reflective of your goals and target audience.
Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Another common mistake is spreading your advertising too thin. If you have a limited budget, don’t try to do a little advertising across many different media. Instead, focus your advertising on what you know will be most effective to reach your target audience. For example, maybe radio is the best way to reach your particular market. Pool your funds into placing a robust amount of advertising on radio so that you benefit from the repetition and brand awareness. Be smart about what you can accomplish with your particular budget. You may need to prioritize your goals for what you can afford at this time. It’s better to do less, but do it exceptionally well, than to spread yourself too thin.
Businesses often want to squeeze every cent out of their advertising budget and use it to buy the actual media placement. While this will certainly make up the lion’s share of your budget, keep in mind that you need to dedicate money to your creative as well. After all, if you’re paying good money for a commercial or billboard, you want it to represent your business in the best possible light. Give yourself a healthy budget to hire a professional graphic designer, videographer or script writer who can make sure your creative and messaging is polished and engaging.
Falling for Every Sales Line
Finally and most dangerously is the mistake of getting sold more media than what you need because your media sales rep says you should buy it. Keep in mind that it’s a media sales rep job to push their product and they often get paid exclusively on commission. While they may have the best intentions of helping your business, you can also expect that there’s an underlying motive to sell, sell, sell. The best way to avoid this mistake is to bring in a third party, like an independent media buyer, who can cut through the smoke and mirrors, tell you what you need and steer you away from what you don’t!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of managing your business’s advertising strategy and making sure its successful, the good news is there is more help out there than you might realize. The best thing you can do is your homework! It doesn’t have to eat up hours of your time, but learning about the basics and best practices of advertising will help you to know whose advice you can trust. Most importantly, align yourself with people who have knowledge and experience in the industry. Choosing to work with an independent media buying firm will help eliminate the bias you might receive when working directly with a sales rep at a media outlet. In doing so, you will also gain an ally who can guide you every step of the way and help you avoid costly mistakes!