One of the biggest questions I have asked of me is , “ Rick, where should I spend my advertising dollars?” While this is a loaded question, I have formulated a few ideas which should point you in the right direction. Let me first say this; Every business is different, has different personalities, approaches and dynamics. I have seen this slight differences even within franchise systems where individuality is stymied, so with an owner/operator type of business, you can imagine how one business can be completely structured differently and have different needs.
One further dynamic is the approach that the business owner takes in putting together their message. A Bad message in a great resource is about as good as a great message in a Bad resource. Again, you are dealing with several live, moving parts that are as different as a Honda and a Ford- both are cars, but require different parts, manuals and in some cases, mechanics.
There are about 4 main factors that should go into whether or not you should put an ad in a magazine, buy a booth in a bridal show, or space on a website (and any other form of advertising that comes your way)
1. Effectiveness. This is a broad topic as again- a Bad ad, booth or listing on a great magazine, show or site simply is a bad measurement. One of the ways I suggest you find out effectiveness is through your peers. They will concur or steer you away- ask people who have been involved for more than one time though- those who do the one and done may not have measured or performed well.
2. Reach and penetration. In marketing, there is reach which is measured by how far or how many people the site, show, or magazine reaches. Penetration is the actual effectiveness of that reach. In other words- if all you hear about is how far a magazine reaches, but when you do your due diligence and find that while it has far reach, nobody is getting results, that will help your decision. Measure reach by asking your brides if they have used the source also.
3. Control. How much control you have in your ad copy, your booth presentation or your listing on the web is important. If there is a “standard” listing and you have to pay extra for a “premium” listing where you control the content better, your flag should wave. It does not cost more to print, lay out the booth space or host your listing (there are legitimate reasons for things, such as you cannot have things flying around a Bridal show for safety reasons). You are ultimately responsible for your advertising, so you need to have control. One note: if you are putting up a suggestive ad, an attacking ad, or an ad that is simply not in good taste, you may not be successful- I would protect my other advertisers and I bet you would want to be protected.
4. Cost Comparison. If an ad costs $10,000 but gives you $1,000,000 in return, it would be worth it. If however the ad costs $1,000. And it brings you nothing, than your money was wasted. You need to look at a whole strategy rather than piece meal it. In other words, look at all potential advertising sources together. One word of caution- price rarely has anything to do with end result. Measuring on price alone is similar to a Bride measuring what you do on price alone- look at all dynamics.
Get really good at your message and converting suspects into prospects, and you will get more customers!
Until Next Week, Here’s to your Success!

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