Every business is different and every business has a budget that dictates advertising and marketing. It’s not really a question of how much to spend as how to spend it. Here are some ideas to help part the clouds.

Your Ideal Customer

Somewhere in the world is a customer whose the exact match for you. They desperately need your product or service. They are valid customers with the finances to do business with you today. The challenge facing you is, “Who are they?” How old, what’s their income, education, marital status, kids. What radio stations do they listen to, what TV shows do they watch? What lifestyle do they live that makes them your ideal customer?

Your Ideal Message

Once you find your ideal customer you need a message speaking only to them. Your advertising should speak to one entity not a mass audience. Just because the customer has traits that match up with your business, doesn’t mean they are going to immediately see the need for your product. Many people don’t think they need an iPhone, others line up days in advance to get one. The question is, “What are they really lining up for?” A cell phone? No, they are lining up for what they see as the benefits to them of owning that particular cell phone. Apple pushed the “hot button” of their ideal customers with their advertising message about their cell phone.

Your Ideal Communication Medium

Radio, TV, Newspapers, Magazines, Direct Mail, Billboards are all common ways of reaching your target market with your advertising message. The most often asked question is, “Which one is the cheapest?” That is definitely the wrong question to ask. The right question is, “Which one pays for itself?” Yes, advertising must always be an investment; it can never be an expense. The right advertising medium is always going to be the least expensive no matter how much it costs. If you have correctly identified your ideal customer, have a strong message with benefits then one or more advertising mediums will stand out as the best one to reach that customer.

Some Final Thoughts

Most experts use a rule of thumb to spend around 20% of your budget on advertising. A car dealer will do more advertising than a funeral home so keep in mind the size of your market and your customer base. A great way to find out if your ads are working is to “key” them. Some little clue is dropped into the ad to let you know how that customer found your business. For example, a newspaper coupon might have a code in the corner to let you know what paper or magazine it came from. Mention a radio ad and get a discount or special gift. Bring that postcard in or call our toll free number to get a deal. The more you know about your ideal customer, the more successful you will be in spending your advertising dollars.

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