Advertising is one of my things. It's what I have my degree in, it's what I've done for so many years and it's one of the things I really want to share with you. I started to write a blog post about advertising for mompreneurs and quickly realized that I had so much information to share, more than one lonely little blog post could handle, so I've decided to break it up into a series. Today will be part 1 of that series and we'll be talking about the first step of embarking on an advertising campaign-understanding what you're getting into!
Every once in a while, I get someone emailing me with their disappointment in their advertising efforts, either with us or with another source. More often than not, I find that these ladies have unfortunately gone into their advertising campaign with no knowledge of what it really means to advertise and what they should expect to receive from it. This is disheartening because the one thing I hate to see the most is moms throwing their precious dollars into something that may not be of much benefit to their business. So, it's critical that before a mompreneur begins any type of advertising relationship that she fully understand the process, knows what is effective and knows what to expect from the campaign. Advertising is a critical piece of the business building puzzle and is necessary to see your business grow, but you must know what you're getting yourself into in order to receive the maximum benefits. Here are some key points to remember when embarking on an advertising campaign.
- There are no guarantees. The first thing to remember about advertising is that there are absolutely, positively NO guarantees that you're going to get a particular result. The effectiveness of a particular campaign depends on multiple factors, which we'll describe below. It's important to remember, however, that you need to go into this not having any kind of expectation whatsoever. Having expectations set you up for disappointment, which can sour your relationship with a particular advertising source that may actually be good, or, it may send you into a funk about your business, leaving you unmotivated and taking the passion out of your business.
- Button ads must be visually appealing. When advertising online, the goal is to design your ad so that it attracts attention and makes people want to click through to your site. Many times, I see ads that are much too complicated and don't do much in the way of "wowing" anyone. In the case of most internet advertising, less is more. When designing your button ad, just pick out a few words to include along with one image. It can be your business name, a call to action, or a promotion. Just keep it simple. The fewer words you have, the larger your text can be, thus the more readable it becomes. As for the design of your ad, look at what other advertisers on the source you're looking at are doing. Do the opposite. For example, if most ads have a black background, use white. If they are all square, make yours circle. The goal is to stand out so you don't get lost in a sea of other ads like yours.
- Text ads must be exciting, creative and professional. If you're placing a text advertisement for your business, like in a directory or on a forum, you'll also need to make yours stand out. First things first, make sure it's grammatically correct with no spelling errors. Next, be sure to use creative wording. For example, instead of "New business opportunity available," you can say, "Exciting ground floor opportunity to own your very own business." Finally, use the features & benefits formula for creating ads. Explain the features you have to offer, then describe how those features will benefit the reader.
- The end point is just as important as, if not more important than, the ad itself. You could have the most beautifully designed ad in the world, totally visually appealing with just the right message, but it means nothing if the website you're directing people to isn't as beautifully designed and displaying the right messages. Your end point (which is likely your website) is what will make or break your ability to convert traffic to a sale. You must make sure that your website is professional, free of errors, visually appealing, easy to navigate, and most importantly, that your ad reflects the content of your website. For example, if your ad is about 50% off of a particular product, make sure that the page the ad is linked to is the page with the discounted product. If people are taken to another page with no mention of the discount, they'll get confused and just click away.
- You must be targeting the correct audience. You should already have a marketing plan in place (and if you don't, click here) that highlights your target audience. Your advertising efforts should be directed to places that audience frequents. It would be unfruitful to advertise on a sporting blog if you're selling jewelry. There's no need to waste time, even on free opportunities, if they're not going to reach the audience that may purchase your products.
- Any exposure for your business is good exposure. First off, having a link out in cyberspace to your website will help boost your search engine rankings. If you have a link on your ad, make sure it's a "follow link" that will help your SEO. Secondly, you're putting yourself out there for visibility, so even if a customer comes across your business but isn't ready to buy something at that time, she may recall your business when she is ready to make a purchase. Had you not had that advertising, you wouldn't have that sale later. It's not all about sales, it's about putting your business out there for everyone to see so that you can build your brand and achieve increasing success, not just immediate success.
- Budget 5% of your sales for advertising. It's important to follow a budget when advertising. You don't want to spend too little or you won't see any results, but, it's also important not to spend too much or you'll go over budget and put your business in jeopardy. A good rule of thumb is to spend 5% of your monthly sales on monthly advertising. So, if your sales are $1,000 per month, spend $50 per month on advertising. Remember the old adage, it takes money to make money. This is very true, and without putting a little out there, you'd be setting yourself up to fail.
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. There are so many options for advertising out there and it's important that you try as many as possible. Don't waste your money buying 10 ads on every page of a particular website. Place one ad on 10 websites. You want to reach as many people as possible. Once you've been at it for a while, you can see what works best and stick with those, but in the beginning, try as many different sources as you can.
- Understand the "lingo." When you're in talks with a particular advertising source about advertising with them, it's important that you know what they're talking about. Here are a few explanations of terms that might come up...
- Media Kit: This is is a document package that contains a snapshot of a particular website. It will include their traffic, demographics and available opportunities.
- Ad Sizes: Internet advertising is measured in pixels. A common button ad size is 150 x 150. When you see dimensions like this, they're referring to pixels and you should design your ad accordingly.
- HTML Code: Some advertising sources will have you send your image with a link and they'll code it for you while others want just the HTML code for your ad. If that's the case, upload your image to a photo hosting site like Photobucket. When you do, you'll be given an HTML code. Replace the first link in that code with your website and send the full code to the source.
- Above the Fold: an ad placed on a web page in such a way that you do not need to scroll to view it. This is considered prime real estate.
- Copy: this is the text of an advertisement
- CPM: Cost Per Thousand. This is the universally used form of measurement in the advertising world. Essentially, it's the cost to have an ad displayed to 1,000 people.
I hope you find all of this information helpful to get you started with your advertising campaign. Knowing what you're getting yourself into and having realistic expectations will get you off to the right start with your advertising campaign.
The next part of our series will be about how to select the right advertising source. Look for that next week! Be sure to sign up for our RSS feed and you'll get it, along with all of our blog posts, straight to your inbox!