If you are pondering an advertising campaign for your company, you know you are going to have to do some work to prove that the investment will be worthwhile. Many marketers are increasingly supporting the belief that social media marketing (including content marketing) is more cost-effective (as an example read this post from Content Marketing expert Heidi Cohen), and then of course there are the articles and blog posts suggesting that print is dead (see this Huffington Post article from March 2013). Fear not, advertising is not really dead, nor is social media marketing or content marketing necessarily more effective (cost or otherwise). However, there are some steps you can take to lower resistance to a proposed advertising campaign. Our five tips today offer advice on how to do just that.
1. Have clear objectives
We hate to sound like a broken record, but it bears repeating. In today’s era of accountability, no marketing tactic should be considered until the company knows what it hopes to accomplish. When planning an advertising campaign objectives come to the fore almost immediately. If you want to drive traffic to your website, print ads are not going to make as much sense as online advertisements or even a Pay-Per-Click campaign. If you want to generate leads, you may want to tie your advertising to a webinar your company is hosting or to white papers you are making accessible. That way you can track the success of the integrated campaign by noting how many people are registering for your content. If you aren’t setting the bar for success, how can you achieve success?
2. Use audited publications and websites
We have touched on this topic before, but we feel it is worth reiterating. One of the commonly cited arguments people use in recommending social media marketing over advertising is the idea that you can more easily target specific audiences online. This is not necessarily the case. In fact, one of our earlier posts this year was focused specifically on how to review publication audits. Again, if you do not have set objectives first, reviewing the circulation will be a fairly pointless activity. Know what you want your campaign to accomplish.
3. Make sure the environment is right for your message
Often times publications approach us with deals for our clients that would place banner ads on the publication’s homepage. Our contacts usually make the case that these ads get a lot of impressions (also known as, “a lot of people may see your message). Sometimes these are good opportunities, but often our clients’ messages won’t be relevant to every single person who visits that publication’s homepage. Additionally, if our client is looking for a higher click-through rate, homepage banner ads usually do not deliver as well as e-newsletter text ads. For print, we like to receive back issues of the publication so that we can get a feel for the editorial, for which of our clients’ competitors are there, and more. Due diligence on the front end is always worth it.
4. Have a plan for tracking ROI
It’s true that on occasion a single advertisement, from production to media placement, can represent an investment of thousands of dollars. Even though investment in social media channels seldom tracks the time spent on the individual platforms, it may seem on the surface that advertising is a far more hefty expense. To alleviate these concerns, make sure there is a clear and direct path to track a lead from your advertisement to a sale. There are ways this can be done – if you want to learn more we can help you out with that at your leisure!
5. Make sure your ad reflects your objectives
This may sound obvious, but often it’s difficult to tell what an advertiser wants you to do when you see their ad. If there is not a clear call to action this problem only is exacerbated. Sometimes it can be helpful to show your ad to people not involved in the development of the ad, just to make sure they read your message the way you intend and that the call to action is clear and easy to understand. Advertising lends itself sometimes to being too “cutesy” or clever, and that can get you into trouble.
These are just five tips that come to mind when thinking about an advertising campaign. One point should be clear, however. The process of planning, implementing, and tracking an advertising campaign is more involved than what you might think, and it can be just as worthwhile as a social media marketing campaign. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shoestringtheband/1281391101/ via Creative Commons