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Top 10 Advertising Mistakes

The goal of advertising is to cost-effectively reach a large audience and attract customers. If done correctly, advertising can enhance the success of your business. Here are 10 advertising mistakes to watch out for.

1.     Not going after your target audience. An advertising campaign should be geared to your niche market. It is a common mistake to create generic ads that do not speak the language or grab the attention of your potential customers.

2.     Not accentuating your competitive advantage. One of the keys to all advertising is accentuating what gives you the competitive edge. Too many ads are clever but do not sell the benefits of the product or service.

3.     Not establishing an image. You can recognize the McDonald's arches while whizzing by on the highway. Likewise, there are plenty of products you recognize from the packaging or logo. Image counts when it comes to advertising and promoting your business. Too many advertisers do not build a consistent image.

4.     Being too thrifty. There are ways to save money, but typically advertising is not the place to cut corners. It will affect sales, and that affects the bottom line. Successful advertising may cost some money, but that is because it works.

5.     Advertising in the wrong place(s). Your favorite magazine, radio station, or even television program might not be a favorite of your audience. Know what they read, watch, and listen to and advertise in media that reaches your target market.

6.     Letting your budget run your advertising campaign. If you budget $5,000 per month for advertising, that makes it very easy from a bookkeeping perspective. However, if like most businesses you have seasonal highs and lows, you are spending too much money advertising at the wrong times and not enough when you want to attract customers. Too many entrepreneurs do not budget based on their seasonal advertising needs.

7.     Diversification. It is common for business owners to choose the best place to advertise based on pricing and potential rate of returns and then not to look elsewhere. As is the case with investing, you do not want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Spread your advertising dollars around.

8.     Trying to be everything to everyone. No product or service will appeal to everyone. Many business owners, including corporate executives try to come up with ways to reach every market. Typically, this does not work. It can spell disaster for small businesses, who cannot afford to spread themselves too thin. Therefore, find your market and be everything you can be for that audience.

9.     Not testing your ads in advance. If you have the time or money to invest in focus groups, you should test your ads on other people. See if they get the message that you are trying to convey. There are other less-expensive ways to test your ads as well. Try questionnaires.

10.  Monitoring your ads. It is very easy to ask new customers or clients where they heard about you. As simple as this is, many entrepreneurs do not bother to do so. It is advantageous to know which ads are generating business.





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