Marketing is more than advertising, but a good marketing plan almost always includes some advertising. Webster defines advertising as “the action of calling something to the attention of the public, especially by paid announcements.” The key word ispaid.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like parting with any more of my hard-earned cash than necessary. But, sometimes itisnecessary. Sometimes we have to invest in paid advertising, and if we’re smart about it, we’ll see a decent return on that investment. The best way to see a nice return is to avoid overspending, and here are a few other suggestions that should help you get the greatest results:
Share ad costs with another non-competing business or referral partner. You can include links to each other’s websites on your own website, split the cost of a direct mail piece, or share a booth at a local trade show. If your referral partner isn’t up to it, ask a local trusted supplier.
Reduce the size of your print ads or length of your radio spots. It's generally better to get your message in front of your target prospect daily with a small ad, than monthly with a big, flashy one.
Run your ads during off hours or in unusual locations. Quite often, your message will still be seen or heard by your target market and for a lot less cost.
Establish positive relationships with your local ad sales reps for newspapers, radio stations, magazines, etc. Persuade them to alert you of last minute deals. You may have to pay full price from time to time, but do it just enough to stay on their “hot list.” However, you must be ready to act quickly when an opportunity presents itself.
Don’t overlook the classifieds. As long as you do it consistently, classified ads can draw as many prospects as more expensive ads. It’s all about consistency and persistency!
Concern yourself less with the style and aesthetic of your ad and more with the message. Remember: You’re in this to generate sales, not win design awards.
Consider running an editorial style ad. They’re the ads that look like stories in a newspaper or magazine, but are marked "advertisement" in small print. These ads typically draw far more eyes than other ads of similar size. A good headline is critical for this approach, so take time to get it right.
Consider pay-per-click advertising with search engines like Google AdWords and Yahoo! Sponsored Search, or social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Done well, the value is terrific and can be targeted precisely to your niche.
Deliver your message wherever you go. Put your agency name on a customized license plate, license plate frame, or window decal. It’s easy to do this tastefully and affordably these days.
Set aside a portion of your advertising budget for surprise opportunities or current events that may trigger interest in your agency.
Most insurance agents and financial advisors have no idea how much time and effort they will need to spend on marketing when they get into the business; not many entrepreneurs do. It’s critical to have a plan. Know your goals. Set a budget. Be consistent, persistent, and multi-channeled in your efforts.
Invest, but invest wisely. Sound familiar?
Written by: Paul M Mallett SVP/COO Postema Marketing Group, LLC
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