How to Balance Creative With Practical Advertising

The best way to get results from advertising, experts say, is to balance out-of-the-box creativity with practical media buys.

Yet many small-business owners rely heavily on one strategy or the other. Sound familiar? You can improve your advertising results by emphasizing what you’ve been neglecting.

Here are some guidelines for finding and maintaining balance in your advertising efforts.

Use Templates, But Make Personal Changes

A wide variety of advertising templates are available for small businesses to use. These are helpful, because they typically incorporate well-tested advertising principles, use high-quality art, and contain skillfully developed copy. In other words, they’re likely to work.

Yet they are, after all, only templates, so there’s no way they can express what differentiates you or your business from the competition. Rather than just slap a template you like into an advertising slot, you’ll generally get better results by making changes to it that reflect your own strategy, personality, and unique selling proposition.

Keep Your Messages Clear

Creativity is important to effective advertising, but make sure that your messaging is clear. Your prospects and customers need to understand exactly what you’re offering, why it’s so great, and how to reach you when they’re interested.

It’s nearly always helpful to include an explicit “call to action,” perhaps with an incentive such as a freebie or a coupon when they mention where they saw your ad.

Study Your Reach and Impressions

Advertising is an exercise in numbers. You probably won’t sway everyone who experiences your ad, so your goal should be not only to make the best ads you can, but also to place them in front of as many likely customers as possible, as often as you can afford to do so.

That’s becoming easier to do as Internet advertising develops new approaches and techniques. For example, properly spent, $1,000 can create a major upsurge in your company’s traffic and — more important — sales.

About Robert Moskowitz

Robert Moskowitz is an Emmy-winning author and editor with a knack for conveying complex and difficult topics in a friendly, down-to-earth style.
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