Advertising & Directories
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker
Being found when someone’s looking for your product or service is a great achievement … ensuring your adverts and directory listings catch the eye is essential. In the modern world, the internet is changing the way businesses are sought and found but ‘old school’ marketing channels still work and should still be considered depending on your type of business.
Advertising your business
B2B businesses can often find very focused options to advertise – the digital world has made advertising (on Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc) easy to try but it often fails to achieve the results you seek because of the complex nature of the options you face.
In the traditional world, advertising is mainly done somewhere in print – newspapers, trade publications, posters, banners, even business cards in your local take-away. Don’t forget that radio advertising is also an option to traditional print advertising and worth investigating if you sell to a local audience that is targeted geographically by a commercial radio station.
Remember that advertising costs money … you have to accept this as advertising done on the cheap reflects badly on the business trying to save cash – so spend wisely!
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Contents of a winning advert
As always when working on your marketing, you should start by thinking about your customer – what kind of publications do they receive, where do they go, what do they listen to, what do they read? Should you advertise in national, regional, local or even street-to-street publications – clearly the costs differ massively across all these options.
When you are preparing an advert for print, there are a number of elements you should bear in mind:
- Size of advert – this obviously affects the cost but also determines how much content you can put in your advert.
- Location of advert – generally the ‘better’ locations such as the front / back cover, centre spread, inside front and inside back covers are more expensive because they are seen more.
- Design of advert – DON’T DO IT YOURSELF!!! If you want your advert to look home-made, fair enough, but generally speaking, it’s worth paying a professional graphic designer to help produce a professional advert to make sure your images aren’t blurry and your advert enhances your image and reputation.
- Remember to check that your advert contains your ‘core business message’ or unique selling point.
- Remember to put a ‘call to action’ in your advert … this might be to call for more details, to visit your website, to book in to attend your event, etc – but remember to tell them what they should do.
- Make your advert for your audience, not for you! Think about what your customer wants and needs, not what you want to say!
- Test your advert with friends and colleagues first before committing to their inclusion – better to spot an error before it’s printed!
- Monitor uptake – if possible, display a code, use a unique telephone number or use a specific landing page on your website … measure your adverts to be certain you’re getting value for money.
Listings in directories
The options for business to business (B2B) organisations differ to business to consumer (B2C). The modern ‘digital’ location for B2B listings is LinkedIn where you can create profile pages for yourself and your business. These listings can then be reviewed by others seeking your services but LinkedIn isn’t the only business directory and in the ‘traditional’ world, trade directories, local Chambers of Commerce, Council directories, etc, all provide additional listings where your business can be found.
For B2C businesses, the old classical directories were always the Yellow Pages and Thompsons … these are clearly much less popular than 20 years ago but they still have a place in the modern world for certain types of business – especially if you are selling to a demographic group that is more likely to use these directories (such as the elderly who are less digitally engaged).
In many directories, you have the opportunity to provide more information about your business than simply your basic contact details. The notes above (concerning advertising and advert design) provide guidance to help your message catch the eye … but specifically on directory listings, if you have an option to ‘create a profile’ then do remember some basic rules:
- Prepare your profile so that it tells the client the information they want – not necessarily what you want to say!
- Keep your profile short and snappy – use bullet points instead of paragraphs.
- Get someone else to proof read your words – the author can never see their own errors!
- Don’t waffle or provide irrelevant information. Short, punchy information gets the message across.
- Be consistent across your profiles and, where possible, add images that will draw the eye and paint more than words alone.
Ask for help! If you are going to advertise your business, the organisations selling you their service will often be able to help you with hints, tips and suggestions. Take advice from your graphic designer on how much content is right. And always ensure you list your contact details correctly – an error in a telephone number or website address renders all your efforts pointless!
Yorkshire Powerhouse blunt thinking on Advertising & Directories
Working out who you are selling to and what their problems are (your customer profile) is the first task when writing your new marketing plan. Read >