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ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES are so plentiful that it can be hard to know which method is most likely to generate a strong return. Without a comprehensive advertising plan, you may find yourself making impulsive one-time ad purchases, which are unlikely to produce results. How do you evaluate the various advertising opportunities that come your way? Begin by defining your target audience. If you define your target market as 35- to 45-year-old male homeowners in a particular ZIP code with household incomes of $100K-plus, you’re not precluding others from doing business with you. You’re focusing your ad investment on the segment that provides the greatest opportunity. The more narrowly defined the target audience, the more often you can afford to get your message in front of that group, which will increase the chance of your target audience doing business with your company. Next, determine how to reach your target-audience members by determining which communication channels they use the most. How? Try asking them. Survey existing customers that fit the profile of your target audience. It’s not enough to just know Generation Y is most tapped into digital ad channels. In your market, what specific websites and social media tools do they use the most? Compare these findings to audience demographics provided by each media outlet of interest to determine the ideal mix. Be sure to consider how the surrounding editorial content and mix of advertisers align with your brand image. Crafting an advertising schedule is both an art and a science. Begin by assessing the value of the expense by calculating the CPM (cost per thousand, with the “M” representing the roman numeral for 1000) — a tool to compare advertising expense across channels (e.g., TV compared to print). It’s not an exact science, as it assumes a TV viewer is equivalent to a print viewer, which isn’t the case given how frequently TV viewers skip commercials. Regardless, it does provide you with at least a starting point for comparison. To calculate CPM, divide the total number of impressions (people projected to see the ad as reported by a third-party research firm for the newspaper, magazine or TV station) by 1000. Then divide the total cost of the ad by that number. So let’s say a print ad costs $1500 and will generate a reported 10,000 impressions. Begin your calculation by taking 10,000 divided by 1000, which equals 10. Then divide $1500 by 10 to get a CPM of $150. Once an advertising channel has been selected, determine the appropriate frequency needed to motivate your target audience to take the desired action. There’s an old adage that consumers must see an advertisement seven times before making a decision to buy. In reality, the right frequency depends on subjective factors. If consumers are already familiar with your brand, you won’t need as much frequency to drive consumer action. If customers are unlikely to have awareness of your brand, you will need more frequency to get their attention. Remember, too, that emotional messages tend to drive consumers to take action more quickly, even without as much frequency. Once you’ve selected an advertising strategy, stick with it long enough to really test it out. If you’re considering putting all of your ad dollars into a single ad placement and can’t afford any others, use your money elsewhere. Without frequency, you’re unlikely to gain traction in the market.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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