Directories: Online marketing and address finder

Media: The Common Sense Guide to Modern Advertising - Part I

By Oleg K. Temple, April 2014.

When planning to invest in an advertising campaign for our business, some of the considerations are: who constitutes our target audience, how should we reach out to them and when or how often. In a perfect business world, the short answers to these questions would be: everyone, effectively and constantly.

This sounds impossible in our imperfect world of commerce, but striving for perfection is what nets us long-term success. Consider this simple truth: even if someone is not directly a client, or even eligible to ever become a client, (with the exception of extreme circumstances) it is better that this person knows about your product or service. After all, this person may become a client at a later time or convert other people who have never heard of you into future clients. Ergo, being noticed is the ‘bull’s eye’ of the advertising business.

Most concepts that concern social media are as commonsense, as they are mysterious. Two people, in the same sphere of business, employing the same strategy could easily come away with completely different results. But like everything in business, one must consider the point of diminishing returns and not ‘flog a dead horse’, overextending on time and resources, while pursuing a dead-end marketing or corporate strategy.

Essentially, it all comes down to long-term planning, which for ease of comprehension and progress-monitoring should be broken down into monthly, or even weekly goals. All advertising, from media stunts, to sponsorships, to loyalty programmes, is aimed at engaging the target audience, directly or indirectly. So clairvoyant strategy-planning is key.

First thing to consider is: WHO is your target audience

It would be great to promote your company globally, cheaply and simultaneously. However, if this was an easy task, everyone would be doing it, meaning that no one would have the edge. So identifying your primary audience, based on your marketing goals and budget, is the essential first step in planning a successful advertising campaign. Once you have locked on your target, consider auxiliary or support campaigns to enhance your collateral reach beyond your primary audience to your secondary audience and beyond. Without losing sight of your short-term objective, dedicate a small part of your budget to sustained advertising through business directories, local press, loyalty programmes and other conventional advertising means. These will provide vital engagement and awareness, as well as support for your ‘major marketing offensive’ ensuring that while you are off seeking new clients, the clients you already have do not lose interest and wander off to the competition.

Cost is a major concern of a campaign, but fortunately for SMEs, business directories such as this one, offer excellent value for money, offering a fully-equipped corporate profile, bristling with social media links, photos and much more for as little as $3/month! Thanks to this incredible value for money, you can really spread your nets wide, raise awareness about your business globally and engage potential clients on multiple fronts. Diversification is the lifeline of business—the same applies to advertising and promotion. Those standing on one leg get tired quickly.

What, Why and How

Think before you leap—lemming mentality does not bode well in business, that is how bubbles and busts are engineered. Just because everyone is jumping on the band wagon, does not mean that it is not an utter waste of resources and time.

Outline your ultimate and short-term goals, as well as the perceived benefits of attaining them. For example, many businesses buy ‘Likes’ on their social media, corporate pages, by paying the website that hosts their page an advertising fee to show their advert to other users. This sounds like a very wholesome, endorsement strategy, but before splashing out, consider the following: how much real money is a statistic worth to you and how many ‘Likes’ is enough?

Before exchanging your real, hard-earned money for a number on your screen, you need to be sure that you fully understand the ‘value’ you are paying for. In this day and age, when obscure blogs somehow accrue more ‘page Likes’ than the BBC News Service, simply by buying their stats (by the million) from shady third parties, is your advertising dollar being spent wisely? Who guarantees that your stats come from real users and potential customers and not a click-farm in Calcutta? The simple truth is: no one. So, in effect, what are you paying for? These days, making a banner with any digit followed by as many zeros as the page can take and calling that the number of satisfied clients carries as much authenticity as the ‘Like-train’. Where is the VALUE and return? How many of these ‘Likers’ precipitate into buyers?

Essentially, we advertise with the aim of attracting people to our good or service and ultimately recouping our investment, in one way or another. We advertise to spread awareness and trust in our product or service. So before picking and paying for a specific strategy, consider the cost and have realistic, educated expectations, as to the return on your investment.

Part two of this article, will discuss how to make an advertisement that sticks in people’s minds and how to safe-guard your campaign against failure by planning ahead.

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