Deciding How to Advertise
Listing in an Australian business directory is a form of advertising that effectively communicates a message to your market group or target customers.
Many business owners either don't invest sufficient time and money in advertising or they just don't understand whether or not the advertising that they have invested in has paid off. There are many mediums which can be used to deliver your business messages. By far, the biggest decisions to be made with advertising are:
- What to advertise,
- How to advertise, and
- Where to advertise
Determining What to Advertise
Listing in an Australian business directory makes you available to thousands of visitors and potential customers every day that search the internet for businesses and service providers. The key to this medium is to work out what you want to advertise. Some items to include:
- Your branding / business logo, as this builds brand loyalty.
- Your services / products, as this lets your customers know what you have to offer and why they should select to buy from you. Remember to keep your messages simple and easy to read. Your advert must catch the eye of your potential customers. Advertising is all about effectively making your target customers aware of your product or services, so provide adequate and suitable information.
- Include keywords that make your advert work effectively for you. This is important as it allows customers to find you effectively using their internet search engines.
- Include professional material that is inviting and creates a desire for your products and services. You can use testimonials, money back guarantees, etc. as these create faith or trust in your offering – sometimes referred to as ‘buyer conviction' – i.e. the factors that help to convert a potential customer into a paying customer. These approaches allow your customers to compare you and to feel safe in making a choice; if the choice is wrong, there are options to fix this.
- Use images where possible as text is unattractive. This also helps with branding.
- Create links and communication mechanisms, which can be in the form of enquiry capability, chat lines, social media links, web page links, etc. This allows your customers to connect with you better and helps your search engine optimisation.
- Contact details, which can be a contact form or direct contact details such as email, mobile, website etc. Make sure you keep these up to date and that you keep a register of which Australian business directory (or directories) you have used so you can manage any changes or updates.
- Enquiry capability, as this allows you to protect your email address from potential spamming but still allows your customers to contact you directly.
- Referrals and networks, if the site allows you to create affiliates or links to social networks tap into these mediums, as they expand your marketing network.
Test your adverts to see if they are working and make changes to non-effective advertising mediums/adverts. Fix the mistakes early.
Be aware of your competitors, as this may change the way you advertise and where you advertise.
How to Advertise
There are many forms and mediums which can be used to advertise. The following are a summary of key advertising options:
- Traditional methods – paper drops, paper advertising (newspaper, signs, white pages, yellow pages, industry magazines etc).
- Internet – use of Australian business directories, banner advertising, website optimisation, surveys, polls on your web site, social media, YouTube etc.
- Media releases – this can be via radio, TV, Print etc.
Where to Advertise
By far, the most common mistake in advertising is deciding on which medium to use. If your choice is the internet, then you need to determine where to advertise. The key to solving this problem is understanding your market, your products and whether the various places to advertise are suited to your business. This requires research!
Before deciding where to advertise, you should aim to answer the following basic questions:
- Who are your customers?
- What do your customers want to buy?
- Are your products/services needed by the market?
- Where are your customers located?
- Will your customers use the medium that your business is proposing to use? For example, is internet advertising viable given your market?
- Will your customers buy one or multiple items? This will allow you to mould your advertising campaign as obviously one sale as opposed to multiple repeat sales will target different spending patterns and buyer behaviours.
- Do your customers buy once from you or do you want repeat business?
- What is the message/branding that you want to portray?
- Do your messages make sense to a potential customer?
- What advertising material will you use and will the advertising source allow you to present your information consistently?
Once you have undertaken this basic analysis and research, look at your answers to determine where and how you should advertise. For example, if your market is the aged then chances are the internet would not be the appropriate medium to use (at least for current generations). In contrast, if your market is young families or professional people then the internet could be a very effective place to advertise.
If you have decided that internet advertising is appropriate, then the next step is to spend time finding suitable places to advertise. If you are an Australian based business, then registering with an Australian business directory is a good starting point. This medium allows you to test your advertising very cheaply or even for free if the Australian business directory offers a free membership as well as paid memberships.
A listing in an Australian business directory will help you direct more visitors to your website when people search for your services. This is because creating links to your website will generate increased search engine rankings in Google, Yahoo etc. However, carefully select the right Australian business directory as some will be more suitable than others. Put simply, there is no point advertising on a trade Australian business directory if your products and services are professional/white collar in nature. Pick carefully, as making the wrong choice can damage your market image and reduce the effectiveness of your overall marketing and advertising campaign.