One of the most glaring differences between large and small businesses lies in how much room for error large businesses have. Many a faux pas have inspired cries of how the latest big company is about to fall, but it rarely happens. Small businesses, on the other hand, can find their doors closing in a heartbeat. No matter what message you’re sending, there are a number of rules you must know and understand.
- It’s All About the Customer
Pretty much everything about the product, from how it’s developed to the price point, is about the customer. The same should be said of your advertising. It doesn’t matter how excited you are about the many features the product offers if you can’t connect those features to the customer’s needs. It’s on you to inform them how exactly the product makes their lives better.
Your advertising isn’t there to talk about how amazing the product is and leave it at that. It’s there to generate leads and attract prospects. While talking about what you have to offer is involved, it must be done relative to the target market’s interests and needs. If you don’t have them at the forefront of your marketing campaign, you’ll never succeed.
- There’s No Replacement for Testing
No marketing plan survives first contact. Until it’s out there, in front of your audience, all you have is an advertisement built on assumptions. It doesn’t matter how much you know about them. They may have changed since you last looked for one reason or another. So what do you do?
You test. You test everything and every opportunity. Don’t assume you’re doing something right — prove it. Measure response rates and discover what is and isn’t working. Look through the responses of previous campaigns and see how they fare when compared against what you’re doing now.
- Know What You’re Advertising
You can’t sell what you don’t know. Emotional music and sad imagery may get your advertisement attention, but it’s not going to sell your product. The mistake many promoters make is trying to write an ad first, and then looking at what they’re actually selling. Unfortunately, that’s not a consistent path to success.
The good news is that everything you need to succeed is right in front of you. Before anything else, learn about your product. The more you know about the product, the easier it’ll be to relate it to your audience. Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens when you see a connection between what you’re promoting and who you’re promoting it to.
- Be Different
With so many options available to the average consumer, it’s hard to imagine anyone being noticed if they’re not making a real effort to stand out. If you want your advertisement to succeed, you must make an effort to get attention. It’s not a matter of showmanship or loudness, although those can play a role. It’s a matter of being distinct.
It doesn’t have to involve fireworks. Even a simple colored package can generate curiosity in those who see it. Clickbait headlines, while usually viewed as unsavory, are an expression of this need to be noticed by the average consumer. Striking pictures can also take on the role of attractor. It may seem silly to think that you need bait to get people to look at an advertisement so you can sell a product, but that’s what you need to do.
- Get Every Aspect Right
Many small businesses have to cut corners. Smart businesses will take the time to study which aspects will have the least impact on their future should they spend slightly less on it. Many marketers take the same approach to their advertisements and promotions. Unfortunately, running a marketing campaign isn’t always like a small business.
Your advertisement is only as strong as its weakest link. A great sales email doesn’t matter if it can’t capture the attention of the reader because you slacked off on the headline or subject. On the flip side, a great headline won’t matter if your copy is poorly crafted or generic. If even one of the parts doesn’t measure up to the rest, that aspect will bring everything down.
- Understand the Target Market
No promoter has ever succeeded not knowing and understanding the target market. You cannot cater to who you do not know. The message changes when you’re delivering it to teenagers as opposed to parents. What works for parents will come across poorly to teenagers. In theory, immersing yourself in their culture should give you an idea of what makes them tick, but this isn’t something you can do in a weekend. There are a lot of movies to watch and a lot of magazines to read, after all.
You can also go out and just interact with them. Questionnaires can work, but there’s something to be said for talking to them directly. If possible, find people you know who fit your target market and just get to know them. Given enough time, you’ll get a better idea of what traits they tend to share. This will make it easier to plan your overall campaign.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling; if you don’t follow these advertising rules, your marketing campaign will fail. No joke or clever piece of imagery will replace solid fundamentals and focus on the consumer. It’s not going to be easy, but the effort is worth it. There’s nothing like seeing a well-crafted and studied marketing campaign come together.