Matt Hammerton: Get advertising right in 2017

If you’re thinking of increasing the profile of your business or organisation, then you’ve probably considered advertising. After all, it is one of the few marketing tactics that guarantees your message will appear where, when and how you want it to.

But which forms of advertising should you choose?

This can be a tricky question to answer and is determined by the audience you want to reach.

The chances are that they’ll see one of the following six advertising media, each of which have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Outdoor

Poster sites are undergoing a revolution with the introduction of digital screens. No longer will a six sheet site – like the ones found in bus shelters – be restricted to displaying a static poster or just one advert.

Now, you can include moving images, video and interactive features which bring the advert to life in an engaging way.

Bus advertising: In a large county such as Lincolnshire, bus advertising can be a very cost effective way of getting in front of people.

You have quite a few options at your disposal. Rears will be visible to motorists and pedestrians; streetliners run along the side of the bus; and if you can afford it, a full wrap will transform the outside of the bus into a striking mobile advertisement.

I recommend thinking carefully about the message you display on bus advertising. Sometimes the posters are not taken down exactly on the date your campaign is about to end. One or two of your posters might stay on the bus for a few weeks or even a month longer than you think, giving you more exposure.

However, people could think you’re a little silly advertising a Christmas sale on a bus travelling around in February!

Print advertising

Newspapers circulations are in long-term decline, but they’re not dead yet!

Regional magazines and hyper-local community or parish magazines are still well read as are certain trade and industry magazines.

Advertising in print can be expensive but you’re paying for reach – how many people will see your advertisement.

Print ads can be effective if you get the message and response mechanism right.

Radio advertising

Campaigns on commercial radio can bring your advert to life in a memorable way.

You can reach people at home, in the office and on the move.

You can get your message out near and far, which can be good – especially if you’re selling something with widespread appeal.

However, if you’re trying to reach people in a specific location there could be a lot of wastage.

TV

Regional campaigns don’t cost as much as you might think but don’t forget that we’re increasingly skipping through TV ads thanks to Sky, Virgin and Freeview.

An alternative to TV is YouTube, where your video can appear before the one that people are about to watch – though people are given the option to skip the ad.

Social media and online

“I know half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half!” is a particularly famous quote and highlights the need to think carefully about how you’re going to gauge your return on investment.

With traditional advertising, you have to be clever. Think about what you can add to an advert to allow you to monitor its impact.

Could you include a telephone number or web address that you’ve not publicised anywhere else?

That way, whenever anyone phones the number or visits the web page, you know it was a result of your advertisement.

Could you include a specific discount code? Again, anyone using the code will have received it by seeing your advert or being told about it by someone who had.

While you still have to be clever with online and social media advertising, one thing you are guaranteed is a clear insight into its effectiveness.

Google Analytics and Facebook and Twitter’s in-built analytics will show you how many people have seen your ads and more importantly, how many people have clicked the link within your ad and therefore visited your website.

Putting a campaign together

If you are about to launch a marketing campaign, I’d recommend spending time thinking about your audience.

Who are they? What do they read or watch? What interests them and what do you need to say to them to provoke your desired reaction?

I’d also recommend using a mix of tactics to reach them. Don’t just rely on a single advert and don’t rely just on advertising.

Develop an integrated approach that delivers your message in several ways. I think I’m right when saying that people need at least six interactions with a marketing message before they react, so as well as different types of advertising, use PR, direct mail, e-mail marketing and events and make sure you include a way of evaluating your efforts and investment.