9 Sins of Advertising

Are you advertising as effectively as you could be? Learn how to avoid these advertising blunders.

9 Sins of Advertising

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“Advertising must generate more in business profit than it costs,” says Tom Egelhoff, president of Eagle Marketing and author of How To Market, Advertise & Promote Your Business Or Service In A Small Town

If that’s not happening, something is wrong with your advertising strategy. Egelhoff identifies nine ways you’re screwing up your advertising plan, and top strategies to help you avoid those advertising errors. 

1. Track your advertising

“Don’t throw out advertising and pray it works,” Egelhoff says. “Track results so you can adjust advertising to be more productive.” 

He recommends you key your ads so that you know customers are responding. If customers come in to redeem a unique coupon placed in a newspaper ad, for example, the advertising is working. 

“Advertise to customers to call, write or stop in for a free brochure on an important topic,’” Egelhoff says. “See how many people ask for the brochure and how many are converted to customers.” 

2. Stick with an ad strategy that works

“An ad that may seem old to you may not be old to others,” Egelhoff says. “Chances are, many people are seeing it for the first time, because they only look for your ad when they need you. 

“Use advertising to test new products and services from time to time, but keep the look of advertising consistent when you do.”

3. Know when to advertise

“Don’t spread your advertising dollars evenly over the entire year,” Egelhoff says. “That’s how we budget expenses, not investments.” 

He recommends retailers maintain an advertising reserve fund for emergencies, such as combating negative industry publicity, or to go toe to toe with a competitor’s successful promotion. 

4. Advertise in the right place

“Construct a profile of customers in your target market,” Egelhoff says. “Find out which newspapers they read or which radio stations they listen to, then let advertising media match you up with the right stations or section of the newspaper.” 

5. Advertise your uniqueness

“Advertise what made you successful,” Egelhoff says. “Instead of changing focus, strengthen the niche that’s gotten you where you are and position your business away from your competition.” 

6. Create a consistent visual image

“Logo, colors, and even the language of your advertising messages should have a consistent look and feel,” Egelhoff says. 

7. Don’t sacrifice loyal customers for new ones

“It takes far more effort to attract new customers than to keep existing ones,” Egelhoff says. “Don’t spend significant amounts on advertising to attract new customers, if you’re ignoring the loyal customers who made your business successful.” 

8. Find out what works for others

“You can’t call direct competitors,” Egelhoff says. “But you might consult with other businesses in a related industry or find similar businesses in comparable markets and ask what sort of advertising works best for them. 

“Also, see what advertising works and doesn’t work in your market. What are others doing that you can adapt to fit your business?”

9. Concentrate on benefits

“Evaluate every service you offer to identify the real benefit to the customer and highlight those benefits in your ads,” Egelhoff says. 

“Nobody cares about your new gunsmithing equipment until you tell your customers how the equipment will benefit them by making your service faster, more accurate or less expensive.”


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