An advertising plan is an investment in your business. How much you put into can make the difference between a written paper and a document, which can improve and expands your business structure. The planning and thought commitment can far exceed the cost and time put into a plan.
The assumption of an an advertising plan is similar to a business plan in that both require you to thoroughly analyze the business, what you want to acccomplish and are you obtaining your goals. There are four questions you should ask yourself.
- What should advertising accomplish?
- Who should be targeted?
- What should be my advertising message?
- What advertising channels should be used?
Develop your advertising plan to support your advertising goals. It is important to be as specific as possible as to why you are advertising and what you want to achieve. The purpose of advertising is to increase awareness and drive demand. Therefore, precision will bring a more effective and successful advertising plan. Some possible goals might include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve brand loyalty
- Attract competitors' customers
- Drive demand
You may want to achieve all of these goals and more if they are specific to your company. However, it is crucial that you prioritize your goals and achieve each one.
Once your advertising goal has been set, it is important to then focus on who should be targeted. A message that is to broad and targets every consumer will be less effective. A sucessful message is written with a specific group in mind. Focus on describing each consumer with the following:
- Geographic - region, country, density
- Demographic - gender, age, income
- Psychographic - activities, interest
- Behavioralistic - benefits, usage
Once you have identified your goals and target group, its now time to focus on the message.
An advertising message should communicate to your target group. It should be clearly defined and convincing. Clearly defined and convincing message successfully explain the important benefits your product or service offers.
Now that you have identified the above three, its now time to decide on where to place you advertisement. There are several channels you can utilize that will be a perfect fit for your message. They may be one or more channel for which you plan on utilizing. The goal is to find the channel that bests meets your expectations while offering a value for every advertising dollar spent. Below are examples of advertising channels that may be utilized.
- Internet/Online Marketing
- Outdoor billboards
- Direct Mail
Internet and online marketing is the latest form of advertising and can be the most effective. More consumers are utilizing the Internet everyday with 85% of households have Internet connection. This can be effective and tricky at the same time. If you are unsure where to advertise, you may be appealing to the wrong group and, therefore, wasting value advertising dollars.
Internet advertising is a low cost inexpensive, creative and interactive way of communicating your message. Search engine, display, email and interactive advertising are handled through your website offering varying degrees of exposure.
Radio and television are expensive tools to use but their reach can be very rewarding. It also requires that some research be committed to ensure that you are not advertising to the wrong target market. Prices can vary depending on the level of impact you are seeking.
Newspaper and magazines are important advertising channels but not as critical as in the past. However, publications that offer Internet sites tend to have larger circulation with a wider reach than print newspapers.
Outdoor billboards and direct mail can be effective but tend to target a wider audience. If a niche market is what you are targeting billboards and direct mail tend to be less effective.