Advertising refers to the practice of purposefully influencing the decisions and behaviors of buyers. It involves creating and delivering a persuasive message that aims to sell products or services that a company offers, attracting new customers and encouraging existing customers to make future purchases.
Description: Advertising is a process that involves creating and delivering messages that attract customers and encourage them to purchase products or services. Merriam-Webster defines advertising as “the action of calling something to the attention of the public, especially by paid announcements.”
In other words, advertising refers to attempting to influence the decisions and behaviors of customers or clients for business owners. This attempt is made by creating and delivering persuasive messages that aim to sell the products or services that a business offers. The goal of advertising is to define a target audience and attract new customers by developing messages that pique their interest and encourage them to purchase products or services.
Why Advertising is Important
Advertising is important because it provides business owners with a means of directly communicating with their customers – both existing and potential – about the products and services that they offer. Through advertising, businesses can:
- Promote awareness of the products or services that they offer
- Convince a targeted audience that the products or services they offer are better than the products or services competitors offer and that those items will meet the needs of their existing and prospective customers
- Establish more of a desire for the products or services that are offered
- Establish their authority in their industry
- Become more visible
- Influence the purchasing decisions and behaviors of customers
The goals of advertising can vary from business to business. Examples of advertising goals for different types of companies include:
- Start-up enterprises. To grab the attention of consumers, establish a presence in their respective industry, and create a customer base.
- Growing organizations. The brand has been established, but it needs to be differentiated from the competition in order to convince people that their products or services are the best.
- Established companies. Retain their authority and position in their industry, keep their brand fresh, and introduce new products or services that they are offering.
While the goals of advertising may vary for different types of businesse, in general, the ultimate goal for all organizations is to encourage their potential audience to make a purchase.
Target Audience: What is it and Why is it Important in Advertising?
The first step and one of the most important aspects of an effective advertising campaign is defining the target market of a business or client. In order to persuade people to purchase products or services that a company offers, the people who would be most inclined to purchase those products or services must be identified.
A target audience refers to the group of people that would most likely be interested in the goods or services that a business offers. For example, if a company offers plumbing services, the target audience for that business would be those who own residential and commercial properties. If a company sells children’s clothing, the target audience would be parents, grandparents, caregivers, and anyone else who may have children in their lives.
Identifying a Target Audience
There are many ways a target audience can be identified; however, the best place to start is by identifying the specific benefits a product or service provides. Once you determine those benefits, you can then determine what group of people would benefit the most from the products or services that are offered.
You can also examine the current customers of a business that you are developing an advertising campaign for. Determine what it is that those customers have in common. Loyal and repeat customers can offer excellent insight into the demographic that should be targeted via advertising. Furthermore, you can also assess the customer base of the competition. Find out what type of audience they are targeting and determine ways in which you can target the same type of demographic.
Methods Used in Advertising
There are several different methods used in advertising. Some of the most common forms of advertising include:
- Online marketing. This includes any type of marketing that occurs on the Internet. It can incorporate various aspects, such as:
- Email marketing, which involves developing a list of emails of existing and potential customers, developing newsletters and other pertinent advertising information, and delivering that information to the email addresses that have been obtained.
- Social media marketing, which includes developing and delivering marketing messages via the various social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media sites are highly effective marketing tools, as they provide access to a large audience. Social media platforms also offer advertising tools, such as Facebook Ads.
- Print advertising, which is one of the original forms of marketing. It involves developing advertisements that are intended for use in printed materials, such as newspapers, magazines, and brochures. Though print advertising has been declining in recent years as a result of the declining use of print sources, it can still be a highly effective way to reach customers.
- Direct mail, a method that involves delivering various types of advertising materials, such as flyers, brochures, letters, and other printed materials directly to the residences and businesses of the targeted audience.
- Television advertising, which involves developing commercials that are visually appealing and provide useful information about a product or service and delivering them with programming and at times when a targeted audience would be most likely to view them.
- Radio advertising, a method that is similar to television advertising, but instead of using visual ads, it involves creating and delivering auditory messages that appeal to a target audience on stations that they are most likely to listen to and at times when an audience is most likely to be listening.
- Cold calling advertising, which can be done either over the phone or in person. It involves physically visiting or calling a residence or business and promoting the products or services that are being advertised.
Steps to Developing an Advertising Campaign
Establishing an effective advertising campaign involves completing the following steps:
- Identify your target market. Figure out who your market is (as mentioned, these are the people who are most likely to be interested in or have a need for your products or services and purchase them).
- Set your budget. Advertising requires an investment. Determine how much you can comfortably afford to spend in order to reach your target market and attain your goals.
- Determine which method you will use. Once you identify your market and determine your budget, you need to figure out which method of advertising will work the best for you and will allow you to reach your target market so that you can attain your goals.
- Develop a strategy. Work on creating a messages and visuals that will effectively influence the decisions of your audience in terms of purchasing.
Tips to Improve Your Advertising Efforts
Though every business and every target market is different, which means that the needs and goals of advertising will also differ, there are things that you can do in order to enhance your advertising efforts and improve the success of your advertising campaign.
Here are some tips that you can use to improve your advertising efforts:
- Accentuate your competitive edge. Even if you have a highly specialized business, there’s a pretty good chance that you have competition. In order to encourage your target audience to choose your company over the competition, it is important to identify your competitive edge. You can do this by highlighting the specific benefits of the products and services that you offer and ensure that the messages that you deliver also highlight those benefits and appeal to your target audience.
- Create eye-catching images. The most well established and well known businesses use imagery to draw the attention of their audience. For example, the red target symbol used by Target is unmistakably associated with the retailer, and the golden arches used by McDonald’s are automatically associated with the fast food giant. Your image matters. Create imagery that the general public will automatically associate with your business to establish yourself as an authority.
- Realize you have to spend money to make money. In the business world, if you want to be successful, you have to spend money in order to make money. If you are a bootstrapped start-up, there are plenty of places where you can cut expenses, but advertising shouldn’t be one of them. If you want to see real results, stand ahead of the competition, and attain success, you should plan on making a serious investment in advertising.
- Figure out where to advertise. Find out where the best places are to reach your target audience. Is it television? Is it radio? Is it on social media? Is it via email? By figuring out where to best reach your audience, you can then develop and deliver advertising strategies that will catch their attention and encourage them to purchase the products and services that you offer.
- Don’t forget to diversify. Though it is true that you want to figure out how to best reach your audience, you shouldn’t simply rely on just one advertising method. Remember that there are several methods available and it’s very likely that your audience interacts with different methods. In other words, when it comes to advertising, don’t put all of your eggs into one basket; instead, diversify. Make use of different methods to expand your reach and catch the attention of a larger audience.
- Manage and monitor your advertisements. It’s important to keep tabs on your advertisements. Use analytics or other tools to measure the effectiveness of your ads. With this information, you can make changes, as needed, and improve your advertising success.
In order for a business to succeed – no matter the size or the industry – implementing an effective advertising strategy is an absolute necessity. Through advertising, you can reach your audience, make your products and services known, set yourself apart from the competition, and boost your overall success. The bottom line is this: without advertising, you could be leaving a ton of cash on the table.