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How to Generate an Ad Campaign that Actually Works

As you can imagine, after 13 years of running The Local Directory magazines, we have a huge wealth of experience when it comes to advising on your adverts.

Here are some tips that we suggest you consider before you place your ad with us – or with any other publication.

Appearance

  • Have an engaging header/strap line that catches attention
  • Company logo and contact details should always be at the foot of the page
  • Clear copy with high quality images and easy to read fonts
  • Uncluttered and one message is better than several
  • Call to action – why the reader must act now

Tracking sales enquiries

The most important aspect when marketing your business is to track where the new sales are coming from. This can be quite difficult to do and quite often advertisers forget to ask as they are too busy trying to service the enquiry that has just come in!

The best and easiest way to set up a tracking sheet on a piece of paper or an excel spreadsheet.  Simply note the date of the enquiry and who it was from in the first two columns. The next few columns should be headed according to what marketing you are doing such as:

  • Word of mouth/recommendation
  • Local newspaper
  • Local magazine
  • Internet search
  • Social media
  • Sign written van
  • Poster/advertising board 

Simply tick under each column where the enquiry came from and keep a record. Most people are used to being asked “Where did you hear about us?” but be careful if they say “I got your details from the internet” and check if they went directly to google or they saw something like an advert that led them to search for you on google. But don’t give them the third degree! You may only get a vague response but that’s enough to give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

Using coupons and tracking numbers to measure sales enquiries from an advert

There are a number of ways to measure the effect of an advert by placing a tracking tool in the advert.

  • Use a virtual telephone number (which we can provide you with): this will tell you exactly how many people called that virtual number every month.  Some customers have a different number for every magazine they advertise in.
  • Use a coupon that they need to cut out and present to qualify for the offer.
  • Use a code they have to quote in order to qualify for the offer.
  • Run a competition and monitor how many entries received.
  • Remember that some people will contact you but not quote a code or bring a coupon in.  They just are not bothered about the offer contained in your advert, they simply saw your ad and contacted you.  If there is no immediate way of telling where the enquiry/customer came from don’t be afraid to ask them.

Do advertorials or just plain adverts work better?

Advertorials are a great way to showcase your knowledge and expertise on your sector or industry.  However you need to have good writing skills or we can source that for you.  Also an advertorial needs to be a full page with some pictures and at least a half page if budgets are tight.

By writing a good and regular advertorials you will build a following and people will look forward to reading your articles every month. An advertorial article should be more about what information you can provide that will be of value to the reader and position you as the industry expert of your sector in your area.

For example you may be a solicitor and want to write about divorce in one month, wills and probates in the second month and say drink driving convictions in the third month and so on. 

Similarly a veterinary surgery could write about dogs one months, cats the next and rabbits the month after. Another example is if you are a gardener you want to write about you should be doing in your garden for every month or season of the year.

However if you do not have much to write about then its best to leave your advert speak for itself.

Placing special offers in adverts to get more business

In today’s world its hard to get your message across with all the information surrounding us just walking or driving down the street or indeed via social media like Facebook, Twitter etc.  Statistics on the internet will tell you about something known as the magic 7 where a customer has to see your logo or advert at least 7 times before they start to remember the advert or message and what you do!

Therefore in your call to action in your advert if there is a special offer you are likely to receive a good response to your advert.  Some tips to of what details to put in your offer are as follows:

  • Easy to understand offer
  • Make the offer irresistible
  • Make it stand out on the page
  • Clear expiry date
  • Any conditions such as available Monday to Thursday
  • Do not put too many restrictions in the advert

Why do Businesses need to advertise at all?

Businesses need to always be looking for ways to get in front of their target audience. Just driving down the street you are hit with so many messages advertising or selling you something. As soon as you start surfing the net you will find pop up adverts all trying to get your attention.  To top it all almost every few minutes there is a whats app or text message or a Facebook post or your twitter feed kicks into action!

With the plethora of information and messages we are all receiving it has become increasingly difficult to grab the attention of a consumer, let alone a highly relevant customer for your specific type of business.

There are also more specific reasons such as:

  • The obvious one is new sales enquiries or new business
  • Increase short term sales with a one off message – e.g. special offer
  • Remind existing customers about your business – provide basic facts such as website address & contact details
  • Change peoples attitudes & perceptions of your business
  • Tell customers about changes/improvements to a service / new product
  • Help to develop a distinctive brand to stand out from your competitors
  • Create more awareness – put your business at front of peoples minds, ahead of your competitors

The key ingredients required for advertising

Most businesses are simply not looking for the next sale but are focused on building their brand presence in the local community they wish to serve.  This helps to grow their businesses long term and provides a good foundation going forward once a business is established in the area.

However this does take a considerable amount of time, persistence, patience and a budget. 

Just think how many times you have seen the Coca Cola sign or the Nike tick! Those brands weren’t built overnight. It’s taken millions if not billions of pounds investing in their brand as well as a lot of trial and error finding out what works

So advertising with Local Directory will definitely help to grow your brand and create more awareness, locally.  A one off advert will not do the job.  It may bring in one or two enquiries.

Consistent long term advertising will build familiarity with you and your brand and also build trust which is the most important ingredient.

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