Marketing: Advertising Do & Dont

Do’s and don’ts of advertising

Such a lot of people think that advertising and marketing are the same thing, but they aren’t at all.

Advertising can turn out to be the fastest way to waste money on your marketing.

There are ways to get the best out of your advertising and today I’m going to share the best of these secrets with you.

To start I need to tell you that advertising is not the best way to effectively market your business, there are many better ways to market. Advertising may be the most popular method, but far too many people stop there. Since advertising is often the most expensive marketing option it’s not surprising that many businesses get bogged down over marketing. Wouldn’t it be great if there were other, more cost effective ways to market your business?

Well there are, like Direct Mail, Internet, Telephone, Email (with permission), etc, and I’ll get to them later, for now, if you are advertising already, here are some important do’s and don’ts.

First make a decision to stop any current advertising that isn’t working for you. I have to say that first because, although it may seem obvious, many businesses keep on advertising in the same places year after year, whether they know its working for them or not!

Next work out a way to measure whether your advertising is working for you. Far too many businesses use up their advertising budget every year, without testing to see what is working for them. This doesn’t make sense! If an advert is working then fine, you want to keep running it and maybe even expand that particular advert further and spend more on it, but if an advert isn’t working you need to stop running it now, and instead allocate the money you would have used on it to other marketing methods, which have a much higher chance of success.

Then you should choose adverts that are designed to bring in a response. That is ‘direct response advertising’. There is a lot of talk in marketing circles about ‘brand’ advertising, but unless your company is a household name, brand advertising will have very little chance of working for you. Those large companies which use this method have spent thousands if not millions establishing their brand. If you are a small business then brand advertising will be a waste of your money.

This means that the purpose of your adverts should be to obtain a response. The bonus of this is that response advertising is easier to measure to see if its working for you.

So how do you put together a direct response advert?

Here is the proven formula for success: –

The most important part of the whole advert is the headline. If you don’t have an actual headline then it’s the first few words of the advert itself. It MUST capture the reader’s attention.

Tip if you have been using the name of your company here, stop, you should use this important space to lead with an exciting statement about your product or service.

The main body of your advert should speak to the reader personally and tell them about the benefits they will get from your product or service.

Don’t forget to include a call to action. This is where you tell the reader what they should do to follow through and get in touch with you or place an order etc. When you book an advert you should insist that it is placed on the right hand page, which is where people’s eyes are drawn first, so statistically more people will actually see, and have a chance to read and respond to, your advert.

Don’t book a long advertising run, or a large advert, until you have tested the advert first, and then only re-book if its working for you.

So, don’t waste your money on ineffective advertising, you could get much better results for less money using a mixture of other marketing methods. And meanwhile, only use adverts that have proved profitable for you.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Emailing Press Releases From A Media Veteran

I’m a big believer in EMAILING press releases. Not only is email dirt cheap, email can often get you in front of editors a lot faster than regular mail or fax.

Here’s why. Media outlets like radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers get a TON of press releases. During my 20 years working in radio and TV, we got bag loads of mailed press releases every day.

Probably 90 percent of them came from politicians and local college athletic programs. Their publicity people are told to send out a release several times a week–whether they have any real news to tell or not. Consequently, media get a release every time a congress person helps someone or an athletic field house gets a new folding chair.

Are these mailed press releases ignored? You bet they are. Most go straight from the mail bag to the trash. Who has time to open 150 envelopes when most of them are pushing some story you will never be able to use? I know I’ll get some notes from a media workers who will say “WE don’t do it that way at our place.” And you can be sure a few news rooms are very organized about opening, reading, filing, and using releases.

Faxed releases work better, but not that much better given the expense. I worked at one station where the manager got tired of the fax machine burning up cartridges printing releases. Faxed releases were routed to the receptionist’s computer where she deleted them.

At another media outlet, faxes, ads, and all the other things that get faxed spilled out on the floor. Some were read, others were used for scratch paper, and most were trampled on until somebody bundled them into the trash.

But wait a minute! If nobody is reading press releases, why do studies claim that 75% of the stories you read in newspapers originate from press releases?

The answer lies in email. Email makes it easy to receive a release, forward it to the staff person who covers that particular topic, then store the release in an email “futures” file where it can be pulled up as needed.

It’s incredibly easy for newspaper people to import the email release into their writing program, change the headline, tweak a few things, and run it as a story. Editors don’t like to admit they do this, but we’ve seen big city newspapers run our releases as articles with very few changes.

You can’t blame journalists for doing this. Media outlets have cut staffs over and over again during the past 15 years. One person now does the work of three staffers.

Here are some tips for making your emailed release the starting point for a media report:

1. Start your subject line with RELEASE. Then follow with the most newsworthy/titillating part of your story.

2. Make your headline the first thing in the body of your email. I like to use two headlines, the second adding more information the first didn’t have room to mention. The media person should be able to tell what your release is about just by reading the headlines.

3. Include your contact information after the body of the release. This is becoming the standard way to do things on the Net. Journalists are now used to looking at the bottom for contact info.

4. Keep your release under 400 words. Make sure you have good information the media audience wants, otherwise you don’t stand a chance of getting coverage.

5. Take time to send your release to your local media. They are more likely to use your story than out-of-town media. You can find their email addresses by searching for their sites on search engines.

6. Send your release to trade publications covering your field. Even small developments can be of big interest to others in your line of work. One photographer client sent her release to photographic magazines and got coverage in almost every one.