As you may expect we have relationships with a number of print and online publications and websites in the equine industry. Not surprisingly we often hear a common lament: "We don't get alot out of our print ads" or, "advertising just doesn't work for us". When we review what the ads are, many though artfully designed, don't really give a compelling reason for the reader to contact the advertiser, are placed in publications that don't speak to the appropriate demographic, aren't in long enough, or there is a some other barrier that is preventing a sale from taking place.
Ask yourself, what is my purpose in advertising? Am I just branding my business for consumers to become familiar with my name, product or service? Am I actively trying to sell something? Am I promoting something? Each will require a completely different type of an ad. Then ask yourself: what am I hoping to get out of this? When you have those answers, build your ad appropriately. We see lots of pretty ads, and websites for that matter, where it's difficult to understand actually what they're selling or how to go about buying it.
Another important factor is whether you're communicating to the right audience? Who is your demographic? If you're selling a product that is more suited to competitive performance horses, then your ad needs to speak to that crowd...and, be in the appropriate publication, website or venue.
Often businesses are drawn to cheap advertising. Yes, it may not cost you much to advertise with a particular publication or on a particular website, but what are they doing for you? If the venue isn't targeted towards the appropriate audience or demographic then the resources put towards that ad are just wasted. You'd be better off allocating those resources elsewhere.
There is a definate ROI with advertising, but it's not typically the kind of thing where your ad hits the streets May 1 and by May 2 your shelves are clear of inventory. Advertising should be sustained and consistent. Budget to be in for the long-haul with a definate consistent look that speaks to, not only the demographic, but perhaps even that month's editorial. In other words, if that month's issue focuses on Performance Horses then you're ad should illustrate how your business benefits Performance Horses. Even if it's a product or service that is quite generic-like Barn Building, for example. Illustrate how your barns are ideally suited for Performance Horses, either by how their constructed or the care you take during the construction proces to ensure the safety of the customer's animals. The fact is you can "spin" anything to suit the situation if you present it correctly...there in lies the difference between pretty ads and effective ads.
Ultimately, visibility in your marketplace will lead to credibility with your customers. And people will only buy from those they trust. It's not enough to run a pretty ad, the ad has to compel a viewer to act on what they see. Send them somewhere: to a physical or online store, an event, a website, etc. A critical barrier to any sale is whether you're ready to act on the ad. In other words, if your website is not ready to make a sale, or a phone call goes unanswered....there's a lost opportunity as a buyer will typically go elsewhere. So, really it's not the ad that didn't work for you-it's another factor entirely.
Ensure that all your marketing materials are designed appropriately and your business is prepared to take advantage of every opportunity. Feel free to contact us to review your advertising practices or any sales barriers to reaching your ultimate business goals! And, remember...take time out to ride!