How to Advertise Your Business Effectively

Updated: April 20, 2010

Know your audience

Who is your target market? What do they do for a living? What do they read or watch? How old are they? What is their personality? Don't know the answer to this? Call your best customer and ask or send out a survey. These answers will help you figure out what your brand personality is and in turn how they like to be marketed to.

Know your competition

How do you differentiate from the competition? What makes your product or service better? Why should a customer choose you over your competitor? The answer to these question, should lead you in the correct direction of how you should promote yourself.

What's in it for them?

Make sure you are answering your future customer's question, "What's in it for me?" In other words, why should people pick your product or service over another? Keep your messaging simple. Don't list 12 benefits - focus on one key benefit.

Make contacting you easy

Is your web address and phone number clear? Or is it cluttered in too much copy and gets lost? If your future customer can't easily find contact information right away, they will most likely move onto a competitor.

Be Consistent

Use the same logo, color palette, fonts and images in all online and print promotion. If you are flipping through your local business journal, does your ad match all of your other branding? If you hand your business card to someone at a networking event, does it match your other materials? Does your website match your business card? Consistency over time creates trust.

Logo & Name

While having a great logo & name is only one part of a brand, it will be the one item that repeats itself the most in your advertising. Does it send out the message you want? Does it appeal to your target audience? Is the name easy to remember? Does it stand out from your competitor?

Keep it simple

The philosophy I use at my design company, is that simple is most often better. Don't try to cram too much information into your advertising. You normally only have seconds to appeal to your customer, so keep it simple. Focus on these four basics: 1. "what's in it for me" message/headline. 2. logo 3. contact info 4. branding elements (the same color palette, fonts, and images that hit your target market).

Have a marketing strategy

Do you normally advertise at the spur of a moment when opportunities come your way? Or do you have a marketing plan in place? A key to measuring your ROI (return on investment) is to have a plan to begin with. Without having a solid plan from year to year, you can't tell which combination of advertising gave you the biggest return.

Use social media

No matter what type of advertising you end up using, don't forget to incorporate social media. Where else can you interact with your current and potential customers daily? But remember, social media is not a hard sell. It's a gradual building of trust as they get to know your brand. Make sure your blogs and messages are directly related to your goals and keywords. To learn more about keywords, read 10 ways to increase your web traffic.

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