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Make Your Advertising Work for You

It's not enough to be creative. Here's how to make sure your efforts get results.
July 14, 2003

Q: I have used different types of advertising--including direct mail, coupons and newspaper ads--to increase my store traffic. I've recently been approached by a fellow merchant in a different product category who asked if I wanted to buy advertising space on the bottom of his store's receipts. I thought this was a great idea! What other types of innovative advertising methods should I consider?

A: Congratulations on your ability to think creatively and your willingness to explore alternative promotional efforts. Keep in mind that creative advertising is great, but it must be effective to be considered successful. Effective advertising can only be developed when your strategies are based on solid business practices, such as:

Most small to midsize businesses, particularly retail businesses, want their advertising to deliver a sales message and drive traffic to their location. Therefore, regardless of how creative or entertaining your message, you want your message to influence your audience to act (that is, come into your store and buy--or at least try--your products).

Creative Techniques
There are thousands of ways to generate creative advertising--including coupons, promotional items, on-hold messages, event sponsorships and charitable events. Highlight the benefits your products offer your customers to give yourself a distinctive advantage over your competition. Here are some ideas to start your thinking:

Creativity is commendable. But effectiveness will build your business. With the right planning and focus, your advertising can accomplish both. Never lose sight of your audience or what they want and need. Be sure your advertising messages communicate that clearly, effectively and frequently.