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Cheat Sheet

Advertising For Dummies

Your main goal when developing an advertising campaign is to attract (and keep!) customers. Start your ad campaign by learning advertising media phrases, helpful ad-writing tips, and which elements sway customers to choose your business over another. When buying advertising, know some guidelines to get the most coverage for the best deal. Time your press release to capture the biggest audience. And remember some basic advertising principles to avoid legal trouble.

Advertising Media Terms to Remember

Whether you're researching or already working with advertising media stay on top of things by learning the talk of the trade. Memorize the following terms you might hear out in the advertising world:

  • Quantitative Research: The number of people tuning in to a given station.

  • Qualitative research: The kind of people tuning in to a given station.

  • Cumulative audience: The total unduplicated media audience accumulated over a given period of time.

  • Cumulative rating: The reach of a radio or television program or station, as opposed to the average rating.

  • Ranker: A report showing a selected demographic audience of each station in a given market ranked from highest to lowest (for example, the number of women 18 to 35 who listen to each station in a market).

  • Dayparts: Time periods throughout the day in which radio and television stations sell ads (for example, radio morning drive time, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. or TV prime time from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).

  • Column inch: A standard print media measurement; a 3-by-11-inch ad is 33 column inches (or a quarter page).

Tips for Writing Good Advertising Copy

Effective advertising gets people interested in your business or service quickly and explains it clearly. Keep this list of tips handy for writing eye-catching, persuasive ad copy:

  • Make your ads relevant and memorable.

  • Find, or invent, a creative hook.

  • Write the way people think.

  • Don't be ponderous or pompous.

  • Before writing an ad, know why people buy your products or services.

  • Remember that creativity is hard work; don't get lazy or discouraged.

  • Deliver the same message across all media.

  • Keep it simple; the consumer doesn't have time for complex copy.

  • Deliver your message with clarity.

Why Customers Choose Your Business over the Competition

Understanding why people choose one product or service over another is crucial to creating your advertising message. When devising an ad apply the following list of details to ensure prospective customers choose your product or service over the competition.

  • Image: The image of your business is more in tune with the customer's own tastes and desires.

  • Personality: The personality of your business is friendly and one they feel comfortable with. Remember: Personality begins with you and the people who work for you.

  • Convenience: Your business practices should be convenient for your customers, not you. Depending on your business, that means being open, available, or accessible when your customers need you; finding a good location; offering great parking; and ensuring a bright and cheerful ambience to your office, store, place of business, and even your Web site!

  • Service: Market research shows that what customers want most from any business they patronize is good, old-fashioned service.

  • Uniqueness: You can find no more-certain way to attract customers than to offer something they can't get elsewhere.

  • Price: If you're only selling price, you have to continue to lower that price, or come up with even better terms, on an ongoing basis in order to continue to attract new and existing customers. Make sure you're offering several other benefits to your customers beyond price.

How to Buy Advertising Successfully

When it comes to spending your hard-earned advertising budget, you want to get the best possible coverage for the best price. To maximize your ad budget, use this list of buying tips to reinforce points you need to cover and get the best advertising deal:

  • Determine the best publications for reaching your customers.

  • Find the best sales reps who work for those publications.

  • Be tough, firm, and fair.

  • Uncover every available rate and hidden discount.

  • Never stop negotiating.

  • Use reluctant-buying and competitive posturing techniques.

  • Complain quickly and firmly — and demand make-goods when mistakes are made.

  • Don't be afraid to use the "This isn't working" speech.

  • Make your ad dollars go further than your competition's.

Advertising Know-How: Key Times for Sending Press Releases

Press releases are a key piece of free publicity (a form of advertising). So how do you time a press release to reach the widest audience? Use the following events to your advantage when sending a press release so your timing is perfect:

  • A purchase of a competitor's business, or a merger

  • A community project your company has sponsored

  • An industry award you or an employee has won

  • The introduction of a new product or service

  • A new location or the addition of a branch office

  • A highly successful year or quarter

  • A change in corporate policy or a new affiliation

How to Avoid Legal Issues in Advertising

Legal problems in advertising can be very damaging and expensive. When creating your ad campaign stick to the following standards so you can avoid the headache and cost of legal hassles:

  • Be truthful.

  • Don't mislead.

  • Substantiate your claims.

  • Be fair to consumers.

  • Make necessary disclosures clear and conspicuous.

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