Top Ten Mistakes In Advertising
and How To Avoid Them
...and importantly, some key fixes to make sure you improve your chances of
a successful campaign which sells.
#9 Giving Up Too Soon. Yeah we tried Radio last year and it didn't work.
Really? How long did you advertise for? One week.
Here's How You Fix This: Make sure that whichever media you choose, you do your testing and coding and tracking, but you also give the campaign enough time to do it's work. We are a forgetful group and need consistent reminders about everything. Put enough money into your media -
even if it's just one media to start. Put enough money in it to give it a chance to work. Remember, you are competing with anywhere from 250 to 3,000 other messages per day so you want to give yourself a chance to be heard and acted on.
Advertising is usually effective or inexpensive. Rarely is it both.
#10 Running Lousy Ads. There is no way to put it delicately, but most advertising (as high as 89% by some reports) fails. Why? Because they don't excite the reader. The don't pique curiosity. Then don't tell the reader to pay attention. They blend into the background and become invisible.
Here's How You Fix This: Write Better Ads. It all has to start with the words. So whether you write it yourself or you have an agency or professional writer do it for you, you want ads which are informative, get the prospect eager to have more of 'this', whatever you This , is.
To get them into the ad, you need to create a Great Headline - A good headline is responsible for 80% of the success of the ad.
It has to Stop you and pull you in. You want to sell to them? Get their attention. If you want to get their attention, STOP THEM WITH A HEADLINE!
1. The single biggest mistake I see repeated over and over again is the Failure to TEST and MEASURE your ads.
Too many advertisers write a cheque for ads in the Newspaper, On-line, TV, Radio, etc., and hope for the best.
You wouldn't put your own product - table lamps, lawnmowers, keyboards, posthole diggers, floor tiles, into the marketplace without putting them through an extensive battery of tests to see if it can live up to your standards. Test the ad that sells the product
Here's How You Fix This: Identify every ad. Yes every single ad in any and all media. Code them with a coupon exclusive to that campaign or magazine. Create a different url or 1-800# which can be tracked and monitored for every ad. You want to see how each ad is doing. Only then can you tell if it's working and giving you a Return On Investment.
Here's a strategy you might like: One enterprising client treated it this way. Because he came from a financial background,each ad, to him, was considered a different Mutual Fund in his portfolio. He named them before they went in to the media. Because they were coded in names he liked, he was able to soon see how well each of his 'Investments' was performing and he put more money against the ads which were working, and changed any underperforming investment to a new one to keep testing. To make sure of more money coming in, he watched very carefully all the money going out. Track every single ad. It's the only way to accurately measure what's working.
2. Far too many advertisers are jumping in at any time, without rhyme or reason or thinking if this is the best seasonality to be in front of your target. Very few advertisers can afford to be there ALL THE TIME, running their campaign at full throttle.
You will quickly make yourself broke if you keep marketing but not testing to see if your ads are working.
Here's How You Fix This: Map out your entire year on a spreadsheet, look at a January to December calendar. Pick two key sales periods. The times where you have some sales history showing your best months. Your product's seasonal applicability will determine your key sales potential period. Let's say April & May for Spring, then November & December for Winter, are your best sales periods, then devote up to 50% of your annual ad budget to support these two windows. They are the times product is moving, they get the most attention and support.
The remaining eight months will share the remaining 50% of the budget. Perhaps 30% to six months, and 20% to the remaining two months.
This gives you sustained presence to have some modest exposure so you are always on your prospects' radars. But it allows you to ramp up presence in the 4 heaviest months split between Spring and Winter. You have six months which are second tier that need some increased support, but not the same intensity of your key seasons. Then your lightest months can just be a sustaining presence. This is only one of many deployment strategies. You don't have to spend more than your competition. You just have to spend smarter, at the right times.
3. Chances are pretty good you are not your product's target group.
You might be. But in the majority you are selling a product/service to fix someone else's problem. Do not rely just on your 'gut', 'instinct', or your own tastes in media for where to place the ad. Too often advertisers pick the wrong place or the wrong target group- or both, and then they wonder why there is such a lacklustre response. They put the ad on a sports radio because that's what they listen to, but their primary audience is younger females.
Here's How You Fix This: Do the proper research to find out who is really buying your product/service.
Get as specific as you can by gender, age, income, lifestyle, and a host of other demographic details which will help you zero in on them as much as you're able. Do not rely on a 'Universe of One' sampling. You are looking for some characteristics which consistently define your audience.
Then you can create your message, using the right radio station, website, outdoor media that reaches them efficiently and effectively.
Equally, take the time to test an ad, or multiple ads on a small scale to see what works. You'll have a lot of coding in place, but it will pay dividends when you hit the sweet spot of the ad(s) that bring in customers.
By the way, many of your local media sales reps should be able to give you detailed profiles from multiple media sources to help you get a clear handle on who you're after. This is time and perhaps some money, well spent, to hone in on your best candidates.
4. Stop Changing Your Look. Customers are expecting you to have a recognizable colour scheme, logo, typeface.
You want to build that brand. If you keep changing your image, you'll have a hard time being remembered.
Here's How You Fix This: Be Consistent. Keep your look the same across all media. You are trying to establish an identity
which is exclusive to you. If you don't do anything to distinguish yourself and keep your uniqueness, you become inconsequential.
You are relegated to commodity status. You will be consistently challenged on price and not on the value your product delivers.
THAT said, it's okay to refresh and update the look and the brand once you've gained a foothold.
But too frequent changes will compromise your sales, impact and memorability.
5. You Gotta Dance With Who You Brung. Grammar notwithstanding, you have to remember to take care of your existing clients before you clamour and devote all your energy to getting more or new clients. Did you know that the biggest reason people change suppliers is: Not because of your prices, not because of your product, but a whopping 68% leave because of your indifference to them.
Here's How You Fix This: No-one expects you, as a business, to have only one client. That's a precarious business position to be in. Neither do they expect to be courted and won by you and then forgotten for a newer, shinier client you land the next week. Your existing clients are who pay the bills. They need you to show them the same attention and affection you had for them as a prospect now that they're a client. When their needs are consistently met, they will be your best testimonials for you to win new business.
6. Don't open your wallet to any ad sales person who ambles in the door. They are mostly very nice people.
But their intent is to separate you from your money as regularly as possible without having to prove their media is working.
Understandably, they want to sign you up for as many ads as they can, as fast as they can, and convince you that theirs is THE absolute best place for your sales message to be. Don't be so quick to sign that cheque.
Here's How You Fix This: Before you commit to a campaign of any length or substance, try it out on a small scale.
If your ad has the right appeal, provides a solution, gives a call to action, then you should see results quickly and not have to be out there months on end to initiate trial. This is where testing and coding and tracking your ads pays for itself. If the magazine, website, TV spot, radio commercial isn't triggering responses, then it's time to try something else. But you have to test it.
7. Spreading yourself too thin and not doing a good job anywhere. It's happened too frequently where an advertiser has 'bet the ranch' on this next campaign only to hear crickets. Unless your pockets are very deep, don't try to appear everywhere when starting out.
You will dilute your own brand by a having a lackustre presence in everything rather than a strong robust presence in one or two media to start.
Here's How You Fix This: Build a strong foundation of media platforms, one at a time, and build out from there as your resources allow. It's okay to have only a couple or few ads to start with. You are testing them without mortgaging the future. If they work- FABULOUS, and you can repeat that success. If they tank, you haven't lost everything.
Remember this, it will cost you the same in ad costs whether the ad works or not. Spend small to start.
8. Unrealistic expectations of your ad campaign to transform your business overnight.
Too many advertisers have Delusions of Grandeur that this new ad is going to suddenly trigger an avalanche of new revenue overnight. Now it may transpire that yours is the 'million to one shot' that everyone plunks down their hard earned cash or credit card number and you are suddenly in the money.Reality usually says otherwise
Here's How You Fix This: Write down ahead of time what you want the ad to do. Is it to stimulate sales right now? Is it to sign up for a free report on the website? Is it to call you to set up an appointment? Is it to cut out this coupon and save on a trial offer? How are you going to measure if it's successful. Right now you have a benchmark of zero awareness and zero sales. By spending $500, or $5,000, or $50,000 on your campaign, WHAT do you hope to achieve? What is your metric for whether it performed well or not? Certainly you want the ad to bring back at least what it costs. But clearly identify upfront what you want or expect the end result to be. Your ad can't deliver to your expectations if you don't know what they are aead of time