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How Should You Allocate Your Advertising Budget?
31 Aug 2016

How Should You Allocate Your Advertising Budget?

4810954845_13f12b6948_m“Hey, you! We need to advertise! Get that started, ok?”

Does this make you break out into a cold sweat? A hot sweat?

There is no doubt that getting the advertising mix right incorporates a bit of magic, kind of like making that perfect cup of coffee. Everybody has pretty much the same ingredients at hand, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will be successful.  A lot of questions pop up when you are trying to figure out where your advertising money should go. You might wonder whether you should advertise more in print, online, or maybe you should mix them 50/50. Print advertising alone raises questions like how many publications you should focus on and which publications you should choose. How can you make sense of all of this stuff?

Focus on the Goal, Not on the Stuff

The most important piece of advice I can give you about setting up an advertising program is to focus on your objectives first. Before we talk to any publications about anything, we try to garner from our clients what they want to achieve. Do they want to build their brand, or is there a specific increased sales objective they want to reach?Answering these questions will help lead the way to choosing an advertising path.

How About Those Clams?

The next step is to determine a budget. We often get into a “chicken and the egg” conversation about budget. Clients will often say, “Well, show us a program and then we’ll let you know if it’s in line.” There are a few problems with this approach. First, when we work with publications we try to work with them to get the best rates possible. Coming back and saying, “OK, can you cut the program by three but also lower our prices” doesn’t go over too well. Additionally, knowing your budget on the front end can help you determine how many publications you should approach. You can set more realistic program guidelines if you know what you have in your pocket.

Print Versus Online

Now you can start thinking about what you want your print versus online ratio to be. Knowing your objectives is the biggest help here. We know that banner ads on a website may be for good branding, but click-thru rates are often extremely low, so if your objective is to convert more leads into paying customers, online may not be the best venue. By the same token, if you know you are going to want to promote a new website, a strong print program probably will not help you out much.

Where Should I advertise?

Ah, the real tricky part arises. Frankly, this merits its own post, so I will just say here that finding publications that are BPA audited is a huge help. That tells you not only whom your ads will reach, but it also shows you how responsible the publication is in managing its circulation. We also like to look at who is advertising, what the editorial is like, and what trade shows the publication attends. All of these facets let us know if the publication is likely to be a good match for our client.

I could go on and on, and I will when we circle back to advertising some time soon. Now, however, you can feel free to ask any questions of your own!

Image Credit: via Creative Commons

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