3 common advertising mistakes of small businesses


25 March 2012

I don’t know about you but I love learning from the mistakes of others, in the hope that I can avoid making the same mistakes. With this in mind, we at Italic Creative want to share the three most common advertising mistakes we see small businesses making, in the hope that you can learn from them.

1. Failing to get the interest of your target market

The most important thing in advertising is your potential clients, or target market. You need to know who they are, and as much about them as possible.

It is also really important to know what they spend their time doing. For example, do they read the newspaper or do they spend all of their time on Facebook? Putting your advertising in a place where your customers aren’t looking is the easiest way to throw away your advertising money.

Even if your advertising is in the right place to be seen, it may not be capturing their attention. Dull or boring ads, ads that blend into the background, and ads with no attention grabbing images or headlines are another way you can loose your precious advertising money.

Another waste of advertising dollars is to have an ad that does not tell your potential customers what you do, or what makes you different from all of the others. Without sharing this difference, also called your unique selling position (or USP), customers have little reason to buy from you.

How not to make this mistake
To make sure you are getting the interest of your target market:

  • know who your ad will be directed at – your potential clients or target market
  • know what your target market wants from your product or service
  • know the best way to reach your target market
  • make sure you ad will get the attention of your target market
  • make sure it is clear in the ad what you do, and
  • make sure your ad includes your USP, or what makes you different.

2. Not advertising enough

It is an accepted advertising rule of thumb that the average customer is exposed to up to 3,000 ads per day. Three thousand ads! Even if your ad is one of those 3,000, what is the chance that the customer will remember it by the end of the day?

That’s why it is important to make sure that your message is being put out there multiple times and through multiple channels. For example, an advert in the morning newspaper can be followed up by a radio ad at the end of the day.

Don’t forget, there are more than just the usual ways of getting your ad to your target market. Facebook, Twitter, QR Codes and Foursquare are great channels with lower costs. (Just make sure they are the right channel to reach your target market – see mistake number one.)

Ways to avoid this mistake
To make sure that your ads are being seen and not lost in the clutter:

  • try to reach your target market, or potential customers, through more than one media or channel
  • think outside the box to come up with more cost effective ways of reaching your target market, and
  • ensure that your ads have a consistent message, so that it is obvious they are all from you.

3. Not tracking where leads come from

If you don’t know which advertising campaign worked, how can you do it again? More importantly, if you don’t know which ones failed miserably, then you are doomed to repeat that mistake again and again.

Tracking your results can be as easy as asking new customers where they heard about you. You can do this over the phone or include a section in your online contact page (like us).

How to avoid this mistake
Make sure you track your leads by:

  • plan to track your results when you plan your ad
  • follow through with your tracking, and
  • review the results after the ad has run.

We hope that this article will help you avoid making these mistakes. Of course the easiest way is to avoid them is to get the help of a professional. Italic Creative have been helping companies avoid these mistakes since 1999. Contact us if you would like us to help you.