A lot of mystique surrounds some of the jobs that professional advertisers do, and with good reason. It takes years of hard work, dedication, trial, and error to become an expert in this discipline.
That doesn't mean you can't knock it out of the park if you have an understanding of the tasks involved in advertising and you're about to launch into a career in this field. And you might want to handle your advertising yourself if you run a small business—particularly if you're just starting out.
Identify Your Audience
A good advertising campaign starts here. You're not going to market fishing gear to a stay-at-home mom. Know who you want to reach. This is critical for making a plan to reach the appropriate demographic.
Write a Creative Brief
A creative brief is the foundation of any advertising or marketing campaign. It's the roadmap that outlines what you're going to do and when, and the results you hope to accomplish.
Focus on the product or service you're providing, and grill your clientele for their input. This is important because your creative brief is an outline for how you're going to give them what they want. It's the basic outline of your plan.
Write a Great Tagline
You're ultimately going to weave it through all your advertising. Focus on what your business can do for your clientele and how you can make their lives easier. Keep it to five words or less—but make those words catchy and memorable.
Some great examples of taglines are Nike's "Just do it," and American Express warning you "not to leave home without it."
Write an Advertorial
Advertorials are also known as long-form copy ads. They're the opposite of typical ads that feature 90% visual input and barely any copy at all. Advertorials are effectively a mini-publication, designed to look like a part of the publication in which they appear.
You might not have to master this for your small business, but it's an important component of the responsibilities of an advertising exec. Your advertorial should be an interesting read that explains all pertinent information about your product or service.
Set a Budget
Know how much your client can reasonably spend to get the product or service out there to a receptive market.
For your own business, keep in mind that a budget isn't just about what you can afford. You must also have a firm grasp of how much your chosen advertising approach is going to cost you. These factors obviously work in tandem. You might want to hit the radio airwaves, but your budget is telling you that you're going to have to begin with some flyers.
Do your research on costs. You might have to go start out small.
Create a Flyer That Gets Results
A leaflet or flyer might be just a simple piece of paper, printed on one or both sides, but it can grab someone's attention and promote sales if it's eye-catching and if it's done right.
Design and print quality are important. People see advertising messages every other minute, especially when they're out and about on the streets, so design something that will have an impact. Consider including colorful imagery.
You don't want the end result to be overwhelming, however. You don't want your potential clients or customers to wince and turn away before reading or taking a closer look.
Create a Powerful Press Kit
It's a digital world, and press kits fall into this niche. But while many opt for flash drives and online downloads, there's a lot to be said for a physical mailing. In fact, there's even more opportunity for your physical, handheld kit to stand out in a marketplace cluttered with quicker and cheaper digital kits.
You have the chance here to get some great coverage for very little expense, whether your press kit is for a movie, a musician, an event, a product launch, or even a political campaign.
Do a Press Check
You want the end product to be as close to your original design as possible when you're printing anything, whether it's a small leaflet, a brochure, a newspaper ad, or a massive billboard. You really do want perfection, and the press check is your last chance to make sure you have everything correct and no errors have crept in along the way.