Don’t Have A Marketing Or Business Advertising Plan
Please think about this. Marketing is probably your company’s only source of income. In turn, your marketing plan is probably the most important document you have.
Bad Offer Or Advertise The Wrong Merchandise
Your customer’s opinion is the only one that ultimately counts. Your offer should match their needs and wants. Ask for their opinion, and tailor your offer to their desires. And feature well-known, branded products in your business advertising that are in high demand. This will bring in the customers.
Don’t Advertise With The Correct Frequency
You will waste more money in business advertising by running ads too infrequently than by running them too often. Don’t try to save money by reducing advertising frequency. You must stay in contact with your customers.
Don’t Advertise The Benefits Your Customers Want
Everything must be relevant to your customers. Always talk customer benefits, not product features.
For example: “Saves three hours” is a feature. “Three hours to spend with your kids” is a benefit. “Three hours to pay your bills” is not exactly the benefit your customers want. Ask them what they want. Talk to them about the benefits they want with your business advertising, not about features that you have.
Don’t Provide Enough Information In Your Ads
This can be deadly. In the yellow pages, for example, if you don’t specifically list each product or service you offer, customers will assume that you don’t have it.
You must list every category of goods or services that are important revenue sources to your company. Essentially, you want to give all of the relevant information required in your business advertising so that the customer will respond in the desired way. This holds true for every type of media.
Don’t Set Goals For Your Business Advertising
Advertising is an essential investment, and it is hugely expensive. Without a clear set of goals for your investment dollars, your return will be limited. Remember – You only get what you measure. An extra 1% compounded annually makes all the difference over time. Goals and objectives will help you to maximize your business advertising return on investment.
Don’t Create A Business Advertising Budget
This is a major reason why marketing fails. Your advertising message must stay in front of your customers on a regular basis. Your budget must be sustainable.
Purchase your most important media first, and make sure you budget for it over time. Don’t buy anything else until you fully fund your primary media. Do not spread your business advertising thinly across different media. Do not try one-shot ads. Do not sporadically advertise. These are formulas for failure.
Set Unrealistic Expectations For Your Ads
Consistent, long-term business advertising builds a clientele. Running a few ads will not bury you in new customers. You need patience and determination. As a general rule, look for your advertising to impact on your business after six months. This is reality. Business advertising is an investment, not a miracle.
Advertise To A Non-Existent Market
A little research can go a long way in determining the actual demand for your products or services. If there is no demand, advertising cannot create it. Business advertising can make people aware of solutions to their problems, but people will not buy solutions for problems they don’t have, no matter how much you advertise.
Think Of Advertising And Selling As Unimportant Or Undignified
You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you thought selling was unimportant. But let’s say it anyway: All of the business advertising in the world won’t help you if you don’t close the sale. You must sell, you must be good at it, and you must respect it.
Lack The Commitment To Sustain An Ongoing Program
Management needs to agree on the marketing and business advertising plan. And don’t let the accountants select your business advertising unless they are well grounded in marketing principles. If your company can’t give your advertising the time, resources, and effort it requires to succeed, don’t even start it.
Don’t Use A Business Advertising Calendar
This valuable tool helps you to visualize your advertising frequency distribution. It keeps track of your business advertising schedule. Use it. See The Advertising Calendar for more information.
Don’t Commit Enough Time To Marketing Activities
Marketing is a resource-intense part of your business. To be successful, it needs your time and attention. Remember, marketing = customers, and you need customers.
Miss Your Target Audience
This is targeting and media selection and planning. A vital question is where do your clients get their information? What do they read? What do they find believable and influential? It could be the newspaper, or the mail, or their friends.
Match what your customers tell you with the demographic information your media company provides. See Market Targeting Strategy and Using Media More Effectively for more information.
Position Your Product Poorly From The Customer’s Perspective
Think like the customer. Think like the customer. Think like the customer. Give them what they want, and you will get what you want. If you don’t know what your customers want, ask them. Do not guess, do not assume. See Market Targeting Strategy for more.
Send Out Confusing, Contradictory, Or Inconsistent Messages
Your fundamental advertising message should be communicated clearly and consistently to customers, employees, the public, investors, partners, and suppliers at every point of contact. Your well-articulated message should go forth loud and clear to everyone, every time, in every marketing message you create.
Design Bad Advertisements
Your ad represents your company to the customer. It is all they have to judge you by. Your ad is the first, and maybe the last impression you make. It’s simple: poorly designed ads make you look bad. Professionally designed ads make you look – Professional.
Advertise Merchandise That You Don’t Have Enough Of
Your advertising expenditure will be wasted if you don’t have the products people came in for. And you get unhappy customers.
Don’t Get Attention
Remember Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action? Well, attention is first in business advertising. If your customers don’t notice your ad, your chance of success is exactly zero. Conservative ads are conservative, and they don’t get read. You must get attention. Please read Attention if First for more information.
Write Bad Copy
Avoid copy that is too obscure, witty, technical, or full of jargon. Don’t hide your benefits in your copy. Write copy that sells, and ask for the sale. Remember that professional copy writers get paid for a reason.
Allowing the Media Graphic Artists Create Your Business Advertising For Free
First, how much do these folks know about your business?
Second, it is a simple fact that graphic artists do not have extensive training in marketing, copywriting, business law, or advertising. They may be great artists, but that does not make them great advertisers. We continue to stress the importance of creating the very best, most professional advertisements that you can. That means hiring a professional.
Third, newspaper and yellow pages graphic artists are commonly required to produce 10 – 20 ads per day. Perhaps they do not have enough time to do their best work for your business advertising. Maybe free is not a good deal after all.
Select The Wrong Media
It is true that the media IS the message. In addition to your ad, the form of media you choose also represents your company. It should be a good fit.
Your choice of media should make you look professional. [This does not mean to go and buy television time.] You want to match your advertising to your clients. Where do your customers go to get information? Don’t guess – ask them. Make the media company give you their audience demographics. Does it match your clients?
Pay Too Much For The Media You Use
Often there are discounts available when buying business advertising space. There will be free listings, free color, volume discounts, etc. Ask for discounts and negotiate hard, or have a professional do it for you.
Copy Your Competitor’s Advertisements
If you want customers to notice you, you must stand out from the crowd. Blending in gets you nowhere. CONTRAST gets ATTENTION.
Don’t Copy Your Competitors’ Business Advertising
As a general rule, you need to match your competitors’ level of business advertising as a percentage of gross sales in order to maintain your current level of business.
If you want your business to grow, you need to advertise more than, or more effectively than, your competitors. If you are up against much larger competitors, you will need to spend proportionately more than they do to grow your sales.
Don’t Respond To Your Competitors’ Business Advertising And Promotions
You have to watch your competitors. If they radically change the playing field, they could take your customers overnight.
For example, they might start offering free technical assistance for life, or a free loaner car. If they get their business advertising in the yellow pages, and they beat you badly with their offer, you will have to wait a whole year to get them back. You want to do that to them. Sometimes you have to match your competitors’ offerings just to stay in the game.
Don’t Preempt Your Competitors With Ads And Promotions
Same thing – different angle. Don’t chase your competitors. Make them chase you. The public will see you as the leader, and everybody likes a winner.
Feature Yourself In Your Ads
In general, this is a bad idea. Seldom is the owner of a company the most effective advertising spokesperson for that company. Advertising is about getting the best results possible.
This is also a consideration when you choose the name of your company. Your name should reflect the business you are in. Saying “Johnson & Sons” says nothing about what it is you do. Stick to “Johnson’s Construction Company”, or better, “Dream Home Construction”.
Get Bad Ad Position Or Poorly Time Your Business Advertisements
If your business advertisement is printed on the inside fold of the newspaper or the yellow pages, you will lose half of your customers. Bad placement can mean a 50% loss of readership.
And people look at different parts of the newspaper to get different information. Ever notice how ads selling the same things are grouped together? If you place your business advertisement in the wrong location in the paper, your customer will miss it. If you place it on the wrong day of the week, your customer will miss it. Does that sound silly? It’s not. It is very, very serious, and it’s your money. See Using Media More Effectively for more information.
Fail To Close The Sale After Your Business Advertisement Brings In Prospects
The job of an advertisement is to get a potential customer to call you or to walk in the door. With the exception of direct mail, that is all a business advertisement can do. It’s up to you to close the sale.
Advertise To New Prospects And Not To Your Existing Customers
Marketing experts claim that it costs five – eight times the amount of money to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer. And it takes at least three exposures to your business advertising just to get a new customer to notice you. Your existing customers already know and trust you. They are your best, first prospects. Direct your business advertising to them first.
Don’t Coordinate Your Marketing For Economies Of Scale And Synergy
Synergy in business advertising is a real thing. It comes from the cumulative effect of all of your marketing messages and materials working together. Being consistent with your marketing is the biggest factor in building synergy. Create a solid plan, and stick to it. Read Integrating Your Marketing for more.
Don’t Test Your Advertisements
In one test, marketers changed just the headline of an advertisement, and they achieved a 500% increase in response. You only get what you measure. Test your ads. Please read Testing and Tracking Ads for more information on improving the response to your business advertising.
Don’t Test Your Media Channels
Often a small, local newspaper will offer a much better response for your business advertising investment than a large regional newspaper will. There are community newsletters, the yellow pages, coupon mailers, bulletin boards, direct mailers, and dozens, if not hundreds, of other types of publications to place advertising in. Test to see what gives the best return.
Don’t Test Different Marketing And Promotion Methods
A trade show may get a better return than a mailer. Coupons achieve very high return rates. A poster may out-pull a flyer. A catalog may beat your brochure. One brochure will beat another. One ad will beat the next ad. Test, test, and test your business advertising. And test some more.
Hire A Great Graphic Designer Who Doesn’t Really Understand Marketing And Business Advertising
Graphic design is only one part of professional business advertising. Graphic artists study artistic communication design – not marketing – not copywriting – not business law – not advertising. If you choose to use just a graphic designer, carefully study all of the other aspects of advertising, or get a professional to help you. You are going to need to help your designer if you want good results from your ads.
Don’t Do Any Advertising Or Any Promotions At All
Business advertising is expensive, and it can be scary. The truth is that some advertising doesn’t work. But if you are careful, and you advertise in the most professional way you can, the odds are with you.
If you don’t advertise at all, the odds of financial success are a million to one. You could give away your services, and your reputation will grow like wildfire. But it you want to earn a profit in a competitive marketplace, you need to advertise.
Look For A Business Advertising Miracle With A One-Shot Advertising Program
Business advertising is a long-term process of building recognition and trust with the public. Miracles rarely happen, and one-shot ads are just a waste of money. Expect to stick with an advertising program for at least six months just to measure the initial impact.
Change Your Business Advertising Too Frequently
You, and everyone around you and close to the business will get tired of your ads. But only the customer counts. It takes a long, long time for your customers to get tired of your ads.
Many companies never change their business advertising. Create professional advertisements that really work, and then stick to them until they no longer generate the sales response you want. Don’t change ads that are working.
Slow Down Or Stop Your Business Advertising When The Economy Slows Down
The golden rule of business advertising, if there is such a thing, is stay in touch with your customers. If you are inconsistent, they won’t trust you. If they can’t find you, they will go to your competitor. And if they forget who you are, you have to start all over again.
Continue To Advertise After The Return Drops Below The Profitable Level
This is tracking of your return on investment. When your $1 in business advertising expenditure does not generate enough sales to pay your expenses and provide a profit, it’s time to change your advertising.
Don’t Use Direct Response Advertisements
Direct response ads are designed to get your customers to respond now.
They get attention with design, size, placement, and timing. They stimulate interest by touching on human emotions, desires, and needs. They create desire by offering solutions [benefits] to emotions, problems, or needs. They get action by making the solution highly desirable, yet affordable and easy. And they command your customer to take action immediately.
Don’t Tell The Truth
The Federal Trade Commission monitors business advertising in the United States. If ads are misleading or untruthful, penalties can be very severe. Please read Print Advertising Law for more information.
Ask For Help
Unfortunately, there are many more possible mistakes to make with your business advertising than are listed above. Going wrong with your ads is easy to do, and expensive to remedy.