Advertising, one fourth of any good marketing plan, requires planning and focus. The following elements are the minimum essentials to consider. An investment in deep planning within each element will pay off as you gain feedback and information along the way.
Step 1: Define yourself, your company, your product or service.
Your advertising can’t be creative and remarkable if you are not sure about what you are promoting or selling. You might spend millions of dollars on brilliant special effects images of a fish piloting the space shuttle over an ocean of blueberries, but it will not help you if you were intending to sell furniture to people who live in the city near your furniture store. You can waste an enormous amount of money and time on advertising that does not meet your most basic objectives. To understand the objective you have to fundamentally understand what you are trying to do.
Step 2: Choose your audience
Who do you want to reach with your advertising messages? Who are you targeting?
- Knowledge or awareness level
Step 3: Choose an objective
Ask your audience what they need. What do you hope you audience will do with the information your advertising is providing?
- Are you defining your brand? Answer the ‘who’ question
- Are you building awareness? Answer the ‘what’ question
- Explaining how to take an action? Create a call for action
- Changing a perception? Answer the ‘why’ question
- Introducing a new feature, program, or initiative? Answer the ‘how’ question
Step 4: Develop your message
Ask your audience what is important to them. Using your defined target audience outline the basic things you want to say.
- Consider what your audience is asking for
- Align your message with your objective
- Keep it brief
- Be specific
Create a website for your audience to see next as a follow-up, a place to learn more, or a place to take the first action step. Choose a URL that your ad will point to based on the content for the ad(s). This is a landing page.
Step 5: Choose words, then sounds, then images that support your message
This is where so many people want to begin. Media is the creative, exciting stuff of advertising. For obvious reasons it should be the last thing done, informed by all the previous steps.