“I’ll place my ad in this popular magazine and I’m sure to get several calls from it, so it will be worth the money in the long run.”  Have you had this impression about advertising before?

Many businesswomen are seeking ways to get the word out about their business and increase sales.  Sometimes in a need for immediate income they take a high risk in purchasing an expensive ad placement only to get no or little response.  Not choosing the right type of advertising is one of the mistakes that many businesswomen make.  Women often look at what’s “pretty” and “popular” and sometimes figure that their ad placement should work, because they are attracted to a particular publication or display.  But, that shouldn’t be the factor in making a decision to spend money with that venue.

Advertising your small business is an important part of successful marketing.   Different  methods of advertising include: Internet, radio, television, billboards, magazines, display signs, e-newsletters, and directories to name a few.  The most important aspect of advertising is to know which form of advertising will best attract your target customer.  This requires market research and learning more about your industry’s trends.

To determine where to spend your advertising dollars you will first need to figure out the amount of money you can set aside for your overall marketing budget and out of that amount the percentage you will be able to spend on advertising.  Most small businesses spend on average between ten and twenty percent of their net revenue in marketing.

Placing an ad in a publication just one time will not give you a good measuring tool to determine if your advertising will be effective. The key to effective advertising is to place your advertisement in the same publicatoin or media outlet for at least 3 to 6 times, unless you are running a sales or event campaign that is date specific.  This can get costly, so it’s important to do your homework before you make the investment.

Below are 5 areas to consider when thinking about advertising your business:

    1. The advertising venue that will reach your target customer (i.e., radio, TV. magazine etc.)
    2. The purpose of your advertisement.   Is it to promote your product or service, focus on a sale you are having or is it to brand your company name?
    3. Advertising Budget.  This is the driving factor to where you place your advertisement and it will help you to determine if you should place an ad at all or wait until you can increase your budget.
    4. The length of time you can keep advertisement running.  Remember, placing an ad just one time isn’t long enough to provide a good measurement of its effectiveness.
    5. Your advertisement’s reach.   How can you reach the largest amount of your target customers with your advertising dollars?

While advertising is important, proper research and knowing your target customer will help you in minimizing your risk and get you better returns on your investment.  Never advertise simply because you are attracted to a particular marketing style.