How to create successful advertising that grows your business
In our last marketing tip, we talked about 4 reasons Why Advertising Fails for Small Businesses. Over the next couple of marketing tips, we are going to look at ways your small business can create successful advertising campaigns and how to use it to grow your business. The first step is to understand the purpose of advertising.
The purpose of advertising
If you want to understand how to use advertising to grow your business, we first have to clear up some confusion about advertising. Most of us, myself included, tend to want to judge an advertisement’s effectiveness based on its ability to increase sales. While this is obviously the desired end result of advertising, there are many factors in between an advertisement and an actual sale. That means that we cannot automatically blame advertising if it is not increasing sales. In fact, the purpose of advertising can really only be defined as a way to generate awareness and interest.
Steps in between successful advertising and the sale
Depending on your type of business (eCommerce, brick and mortar, service-based, etc.), the steps between an advertisement and a sale will vary. But there are three common overarching factors that all businesses share: ease of access, customer experience, and pricing. If you want to use successful advertising to grow your business, all three of these factors must be properly optimized. Otherwise you very well could be gaining awareness and interest through advertising, yet still not see an increase in sales.
Optimizing ease of access
Ease of access refers to how easy it is for customers to get to your business. This can mean making sure that your physical location is conveniently located with lots of parking. It can mean that your website is fast and mobile-friendly. It can mean that when people call they instantly get a real person to talk to. The point is that customers generally do not like waiting, struggling, or jumping through hoops in order to make a purchase. The harder it is for a customer to access your business, the less likely they are to complete a purchase. That means that in order for your advertising to be effective, you first must make sure that it is easy for people to do business with you. Remove as many hurdles as possible – the fewer hurdles there are between an advertisement and a sale, the more effective your advertisement will be.
Optimizing the customer experience
The customer experience includes everything from the layout, speed, and mobile responsiveness of your website, to the cleanliness and organization of your physical location, to customer service and more. Another big factor is the ease of making a purchase. A complicated ecommerce checkout experience or understaffed location with long wait times all affect the customer experience. Remove as many barriers as you can and make the purchase process fun, quick, and easy. Of course, this also includes the product quality, too. Advertising will fail if all the awareness and interest you gain leads to frustrated or disappointed customers.
Optimize your pricing for successful advertising
Obviously, all the advertising in the world won’t help if your products or services are seen as overpriced. This does not mean you need to be the cheapest, but it does mean that your price must represent the perceived value. For more, on this check out Marketing tip #4: Pricing Your Products. However, pricing is not just about the cost. Perhaps more importantly, is the structure of your pricing. Is it easy to understand, straightforward, and honest? A complicated pricing structure, extra fees, even too many options can all scare a customer off. It is all too common that advertising does the job of gaining interest, but the sale is lost due to overcomplicated, unclear, or even fishy looking pricing tactics. Include all your fees in the listed price. Streamline the options and add-ons. In other words, be clear and upfront about your pricing. Not only is this the ethical thing to do, but it also makes it easier for a potential customer to say yes.
This marketing tip really focused on setting a sound foundation before we start advertising. It is important to make sure that our business is ready and able to effectively serve our customers. Otherwise, there really is no point in advertising. In our next marketing tip, we will discuss Three Rules for Small Business Advertising. We will start to examine how to use advertising to grow your business by advertising to the right people, in the right place, without shotgunning our limited budget across too many platforms.