How to strengthen brand awareness and grow your business through advertising
Should you advertise your fabricating business? The answer depends on whether or not you want your business to grow.
To advertise or not to advertise?
For many fabricators, the initial reaction to that question is a resounding no. Often their reasoning is rooted in cost and not achieving a return on investment. Why spend money on some ads when you're not sure they're going to result in anything, much less sales? Why should I advertise when I already know who my customers are? Why should I advertise when I'm already doing fairly well?
Of course, if you have no interest in further developing your brand, if you're OK with not attracting any new customers, and you're content with not growing your business, then advertising definitely is not for you. But if you are looking to define, establish, and promote your brand; attract new customers; and grow your business, launching an integrated advertising campaign can go a long way toward making these goals a reality.
The Case for Advertising
The top three reasons your fabricating shop should advertise are:
- To establish brand/product awareness or interest
- To reinforce brand/product preference
- To grow the business
Consider many strategies as you prepare to introduce or further establish a new brand or product to the market. Advertising should be one of them. Ultimately, what will determine the success of your brand/product is how effectively you reach your target audience. The more people who see or hear your message, the more likely it will resonate with them and move them to action. Advertising can help communicate your message to a high number of targeted individuals in a cost-effective manner.
The keys to efficient and effective advertising are reach and frequency. For a campaign to work, your message needs to connect with the right audience. A media outlet can tout a high number of subscribers or visitors to its website, but if the majority of them are not tied to your business or product offering, they won't care. It's important to look at a media outlet's readership and evaluate who the subscribers are. For example, if professionals in coil processing and roll forming are two areas you're trying to reach, but those two audiences are low for a particular outlet's demographics, then it's not going to be the best fit for your advertising campaign. All reputable media outlets have breakdowns of their readers; this information will help you determine those that will meet your goals and objectives, while delivering the best ROI.
For an advertisement to work, audiences need to see or hear it, and it's going to take more than one exposure for the message to sink in. That's why best results are achieved with a media strategy that includes advertisements occurring frequently over a consistent period of time. It is through repeated exposures to a message that interest is generated. In other words, you must first become aware of a product/brand before you can become interested. These are the first two steps in the process all buyers go through for virtually any product they purchase.
Reinforcing Brand/Product Preference
How many competitors do you have? What are they doing to keep existing customers and attract new ones? Customers have no shortage of options available to them when purchasing the products and services they need. But there's a reason why someone purchased your product or services, and you need to reinforce those reasons to your customers as often as possible. Advertising is a great way to help keep your brand top-of-mind with your customers.
Establishing consistent messaging is critical to successfully reinforcing your brand and product preference with your customers. The consistency should be extended to all your marketing efforts beyond the advertisements, such as brochures, sales letters, and your company's website. Making a concentrated effort to hammer home your message continually makes a lasting impact and helps distinguish your product, service, or brand from its competitors.
Many studies have been done on the buying habits of people relative to the advertisements they see or hear. Generally speaking, people need to see an advertisement with a consistent message about seven times before it motivates them to action or to make a purchase. Timing is everything, of course, and you could see a direct sale on the first day your advertisement appears, but that's the exception. The best results are realized from an ongoing media strategy that includes consistent messaging and frequency. This course of action helps reinforce your brand so that when your current or future customers are ready to purchase, they'll be more likely to think of your products or services.
Growing Your Business
Motivating someone to take action is the No. 1 goal of an effective advertisement. If your advertisement can create a sense of urgency to the point that someone needs to pick up the phone or click onto a website right now, then it's working. When a potential customer seeks you out for your products or services, your business grows.
There's no doubt that an advertising campaign is an investment. It's not an inexpensive endeavor, but it doesn't have to break the bank either. An advertising campaign can be crafted to both meet your goals and objectives, while also staying within your budget. To provide the best ROI, campaigns should be well-balanced with a mix of print and electronic advertisements. The reason a mix of print and electronic is recommended is that you'll catch a wider segment of the audiences you're trying to reach. While print trade media outlets are enjoying a resurgence of readership in the past few years, business and industry websites continue to grow in popularity as more readers seek their news and information online.
A well-designed advertising campaign drives results. People will seek out more information on your brand, products, or services. The hurdle for many is the investment: How much is enough? If you're a newcomer to advertising, start out with a modest budget and measure its effectiveness. You can set up special website landing pages or create a new toll-free number to help gauge results. Most media outlets also provide analytics on the campaign. Advertising grows your business; you just have to take action.
Keep Your Brand Front and Center
Advertising usually is one of the first things to be slashed if a company has to trim costs. Removing your presence and messaging to your customers is one of the worst things you can do. How do you plan on engaging your customers if you're not communicating with them?
Advertising is a cost-effective strategy to keep your brand front and center with your customers. Whether you're using print ads in a publication, online ads on industry news websites, sponsoring webinars, or any other number of tactics, an advertising campaign works for businesses of all sizes, and it drives results. And that makes the question of whether or not to advertise a resounding yes.
Steve Staedler is a senior account executive at Brookfield, Wis.-based LePoidevin Marketing. He can be reached at 262-754-9550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.