19 Jan Making the Most of Your Advertising Budget
Advertising is crucial to growing your customer base and in turn, your business. Knowing how to spend your advertising budget so that you get the best possible return on investment (ROI) is a task that many business owners don’t feel prepared to undertake. There are so many different channels through which to reach potential customers and it seems like new ones appear every day. Deciding where to place ads and determining their size and frequency, let alone figuring out what their content should be, can take up valuable time and energy that you need to run the rest of your business. We would like to share a few tips to help you make your way through the maze of your advertising options:
Determine your audience
Are you trying to reach retailers that you want to carry your product or are you trying to sell directly to consumers? You may be interested in reaching both markets, which will help you decide where to allocate your ads. If you’re trying to reach retailers, you probably want some of your print budget going to trade publications, but if you want to reach consumers, you’re going to want placement in appropriate consumer-oriented publications. The actual dollars you spend in each area will vary based on the number of titles you target and the frequency of their publication.
Create partnerships for editorial exposure
Let’s say, for example, you run a yarn company. Supplying yarn to a designer whose pattern is going to appear in a popular knitting or crocheting magazine gives you great exposure at minimal cost. You can calculate how much it is worth to you by figuring out the publication’s page rate for an equivalently-sized ad and comparing it to the cost of the yarn that you sent to the designer. Or, if you’re introducing a new product, try to get it covered as news in the editorial section of the magazine; you can always augment your editorial presence with an ad in a different issue of the magazine or in a sister publication.
There are all kinds of ways to get the name of your company and your products into the hands of potential customers. You may want a sample of your product placed into the “goody bag” given to registrants at an educational event or trade show – it’s a great way of having a presence at a major industry event without the expense and effort of staffing a full booth or sponsoring the entire event. You can’t personally show your wares to every attendee at the trade show, but there’s a very good chance that they will go through all the items in their goody bags, and there your product will be, ready for them to touch, try and read the label. You can reach your customers in a more virtual way by sponsoring a giveaway on an audio or video podcast: your company and products are named and featured to an audience that is self-selected to be interested in what you’re marketing. It’s a very low-cost way to get your name in front of potential customers. Or consider working with a designer for a craft-along. Getting a group of crafters to use your materials and share their results on social media broadens your exposure for the cost of supplying materials to the designer. With your products recommended by the designer to get similar results, new sales are guaranteed.
Choose your channels strategically
In the classic ‘80s movie “Working Girl,” Melanie Griffith’s character knows she can get Trask Industries into media via radio at a much lower cost than TV. It’s the same thing with your advertising budget: it’s a lot more expensive to go to the major annual trade show in your industry than it is to go to a smaller regional show. While you may not want to keep it too local, you can employ a little strategy by choosing to display at a regional show where you’re trying to expand your market. In the same way, you may want to buy space in a digital publication or on a website rather than the marquee print publication for your particular craft. Starting with the smaller venue or publication may also expose your products to a different audience than the mature traditional channels. Plus, you may be putting yourself at the cutting edge of the Next Big Thing, which is never bad.
Size and Seasonality
If you’re working with a tight budget, consider the size of your ad as it relates to seasonality. Everyone knows that yarn sales are more robust in the colder months. The same is true for magazine sales. Consider placing a smaller ad in the Spring or Summer months so you can still take advantage of frequency discounts and be seen throughout the year. Always choose SIP’s (special issues) that will come out in the colder seasons as well as these typically tend to be newsstand only and will have less “eyeballs” on your ad anyway.
Get to know your ad manager
If you are committed to placing your message in print publications, there are ways to stretch your advertising dollars. For example, you may be able to get what’s known in the industry as a “remnant” ad in the publication just before press time. Space that remains unsold as press time approaches goes for a discounted rate, putting you in your chosen publication at a lower cost. Many times, only the best advertisers are offered these spaces. Your ad manager can also help you with size and placement. Did you know that a right-hand page is always more desirable real estate than a left-hand page and “outside right facing” keeps your ad out of the seam–otherwise known as the “gutter” of the publication. You can also request “competitive distance” so your ad is not on the same page as your competitors.
Stitchcraft Marketing can help you plan an advertising campaign that delivers the best return on your investment. We can recommend the most influential channels for your message and help you create compelling content that will engage your potential customers. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can maximize the impact of your advertising budget.