Absolutely. As a business owner, delivering a stellar service is only the beginning of building a brand that customers keep coming back to. What you really need to outperform competitors and become the most popular service provider in your area is to advertise your brand. It's no use being able to do a great job if no one knows about it. You have to tell your market. Your expertise should be immediately apparent. That's the only way you'll drive more traffic to your storefront and convert more prospects into customers. And that's exactly what this report covers. We'll take an in-depth look at devising and implementing an effective marketing strategy and crafting messages that grab attention. Remember, the goal is to position your business as the go-to authority. Once that happens, the sales will come naturally.
There are three basic steps to have the most effective advertising.
If you want your message to have the most impact, you need to understand your market. You can only craft a message that speaks to the audience when you know what the audience wants to hear. When you define your core customer group and understand what drives them, you can develop a tone that resonates with them. You should develop a profile of your ideal customer and tailor your advertising around that. Consider their values, convictions, background, beliefs, desires and expectations. These can give you unique insights into their mindset, allowing you to fine-tune messages that they will be receptive to.
One way to develop a picture of the perfect customer is to start with a blank slate and gradually fill in the gaps with information. You should prepare questions that, when answered, will narrowly define the customer and help you create a profile. Consider applying the following questions to your "blank slate" customer. As you answer each question, the blanks will be filled until you have a complete picture.
Is my core customer a business or a consumer?
My core customer is a _____________________
What industry or industries do they occupy? Or, what is their profession?
My core customers are engaged in _________________________
What do you know about their personal lives? Are they married? What is their age group? Do they have kids? What are their interests?
Do they rent or own? Basically, anything that gives you some context and background into theirpersonal lives.
What I know about my core customers is ____________________________________________
What is their level of education?What is their disposable income?
My customers have completed __________________ and their disposable income is ___________________
Where do the live?
My customers live in _____________________
These questions are by no means the end-all-be-all of customer profiling. You can come up with many more, such as "how many hours they work per week," or "how often do they take vacations." The point is that you need to know what to ask. The right questions are those that yield information that can help you develop sound advertising messages.
Once you've figured out who your ideal customers are, you can start to think about how best to reach them. In advertising, the most important metrics to evaluate the efficiency of a platform or channel are the CPM and ROI. The CPM, or cost-per-impression tells you how much you're spending to reach 1,000 people, and the ROI or return-on-investment is a measure of how much money you're earning for every dollar spent on advertising. The ideal advertising platform for you then is the one that gives you the perfect combination of a low CPM and a high ROI.
So, what are your options? There are a lot actually. From traditional print media such as newspaper ads and magazine ads to digital media such as websites and social media, from television commercials to radio spots, the options are limitless. You can narrow down your list of possible advertising platforms by answering the following:
What kind of advertising will have the highest likelihood of reaching the audience, and the highest likelihood of having an impact on the audience?
The following information, which includes the pros and cons of some popular advertising platforms, may help answer that question.
Pros - Can be highly targeted; a local newspaper can reach your local market, and a niche-specific magazine can be a viable channel to advertise services in that niche. For instance, a roofing company can take out a print ad on a home improvement magazine. Cost can be low if the print media has a small circulation.
Cons - Print is fast becoming an antiquated advertising medium as newspapers and magazines struggle to cope with declining readership. Advertising in non-local newspapers or general magazines that cater to a range of interests may lead to marketing messages with no focus or target. Can be costly for high-profile publishers.
Pros - Advertising in local television channels and radio stations can be targeted yet relatively inexpensive (compared to national channels.) Television commercials (and radio spots) are a great branding opportunity as viewers automatically associate a name they see on TV (or hear on the radio) with authority and credibility. TV and radio ads can drive customers to take action, such as visiting a website or calling a number.
Cons - Production expenses can be cost-prohibitive for many businesses. Very difficult to pull off in-house, without the assistance of an ad agency or production house. In addition, air-time is priced differently in different regions, and pricing also depends on a combination of many different factors that are out of the control of the business.
Pros - Can be very highly targeted and you are able to advertise to current customers easily and effectively. May be used to promote special offers or just keep the brand fresh in the minds of the audience; doesn't always have to 'sell.' Good way to personalize advertising messages.
Cons - Can be expensive, depending on quality of material used, graphics usage and other factors. Requires the business-owner to create and maintain a database of customer contact information.
Pros - Fast becoming the standard for any small business marketing. A website, much like a television commercial, lends an air of authority to a brand. Highly flexible and can be fine-tuned to the last detail to reinforce brand image. Can be updated at will and set up to take orders and appointments. Coupled with an online reputation management system and strategic social media efforts, can give a very powerful advertising medium.
Cons - Can turn away customers if not developed with a clear purpose. Having an effective website means aligning it with the organization's long-term goals and, and also making it easy for the visitor to do what you want them to do. The website must be developed by a team or agency that understands marketing and who can incorporate the goals into its layout.
Pros - One of the most cost-effective ways to advertise a business. Statistically proven to be one of the best advertising media for the new age. Vehicle wraps grab attention and influence buying decisions more often than other platforms. Leaves viewers with a positive impression about the business, more so than billboards or print ads.Can be stylized according to brand identity for maximum visibility 24/7.
Cons - Business owner must own the vehicle, and it must be in good condition. Can be costly if the vehicle will not be owned for the medium to long term.
After you have determined a suitable advertising platform, the next step is to craft your message in a way that positions your business as a solution to a particular problem. Highlight the pain of the problem and then offer your service as a practical and affordable solution. You should also talk about your key differentiators and unique benefits, that is, what stands you apart from competitors. This "uniqueness" is what makes you the best service-provider for your market.
In developing the message, you should take into account the strengths of the platform you have chosen, to maximize impact. Not all platforms are equally effective for all types of messages, and knowing which type of message suits what type of platform will allow you to develop effective ads. For example, having two or three long lines of copy will be ineffective for a vehicle wrap, as viewers on the street will only get a fleeting glance at a moving vehicle, and will likely not have enough time to read all of the copy. You would be better served with a bold, catchy headline that succinctly says what you do. For example, if you were a pest control business, say something like "Goodbye Pests!" on your vehicle wrap.
Your advertisement should be focused and promise to solve one thing and one thing only. If you're a carpet cleaner, the ONLY solution you offer (for the problem of dirty carpets) may be "make your carpets new again."
If you offer many different services, and each one contributes the same amount to your revenue, you may pool the benefits of each service under one overarching solution. For example, if you clean pools, do landscaping and also roofing repairs, the benefit you offer is a "well-maintained home." In this case, the problem your customer faces is a dirty pool or worn-out roofing, and the solution you offer is "complete home improvement."
The idea is, no matter the platform, your advertising should present your business as the most viable solution for a problem the customer is having. The wording, use of graphics, color and layout can all be tweaked to enhance the effectiveness of the message, according to the platform.
Infinite Graphics is a one-stop-shop for small business marketing. As a service-industry specialist, we can develop proven strategies that are tailored to your industry and market, and execute cutting-edge campaigns that engage the audience and build brand awareness. Our clients include top-performing service-providers from a range of service industries.
We work closely with our clients to design all kinds of marketing collateral. We have expert designers and developers who can create branded websites, vehicle wraps, office stationery, print ads, sales letters, multimedia content and direct mailers.
We our dedicated to helping businesses reach their full potential though educationfor continuous improvement in small business marketing.
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