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Advertising – Bringing the Customer In

General Business News

June 2007

Advertising – Bringing the Customer In

Congratulations! You’ve opened your new store and you’re ready to take the retail world by storm. All you have to do now is get the customers in the door, but how? What is the most cost-effective way to tell the world you’re open for business?

Almost every business relies on some sort of advertising. The trick is finding the right advertising message for your business and getting it out to the consumer using the most appropriate medium. With that in mind, let’s take a few moments to talk about how to bring customers into your shop.

What Your Ad Should Say

The best ads speak directly to the customer’s needs. Needs can be concrete like the need for food and clothing, but they can also be abstract like the need for attention or love. The marriage of the tangible and intangible can be a very effective tool in driving customers to your business. A good example is the marketing of children’s cereals. By combining an actual product that appeals to children (great tasting cereal) with the message that the food is nutritious, advertisers cater to a parent’s desire to give their children wholesome food. What could be better than a healthy meal your child will actually eat?

To be successful, the message should appeal to the consumer’s heart in a way that will elicit the reaction you want. Don’t be predictable in your advertising. Predictability equals boring and forgettable. One very successful car dealer sponsored a local afternoon movie. During the commercial, he would showcase a variety of cute and lovable animals. That caught the viewers’ attention and led them straight to an automobile the dealer was trying to sell. While many people thought the spots were silly, they remembered the dealership and bought their cars. Simply associating his company with lovable animals gave the dealer credibility as a compassionate man whom buyers wanted to do business with. This helped make his dealership the largest in the area.

Where To Place Your Ads

Once you have settled on an effective way to communicate your message, the next step is choosing a medium through which to get that message to consumers. The medium you choose is critical to reaching your target audience and controlling your advertising budget.

Outdoor Advertising

Billboards and other outdoor advertising can be effective for very simple messages. While they reach more people per dollar than other mediums, people are not likely to spend much time reading a complicated message. Typically, a billboard should be limited to a picture and no more than eight words.


Although radio reaches the second greatest number of people for the dollar, it can also be expensive. While you may be able to loosely target your audience by advertising on certain stations and programs, you will not be able to target a specific demographic - even the most targeted station or program may attract a variety of different socio-economic groups.

Broadcast Television

Broadcast television is very expensive to both produce and air. It does allow you to target specific audiences by advertising on certain programs. The combined visual and audio impact can be significant, but quite costly.


Newspapers reach impulse buyers and those looking to make immediate purchases. While they can help reach your market, consumers tend to read only the headlines and not much else. If you are looking to sell a product immediately, this medium may work for you. If you want to create a lasting impression and build your image, newspapers may not be your best option.

Direct Mail

Direct mail offers the ability to specifically target a particular demographic. By targeting the audience based on location, income, ethnicity or other factors, you get your message to the specific consumer you want to reach. Direct mail, however, can be very expensive.

Yellow Pages

Yellow Page ads are for consumers who don’t know where to purchase goods or services. These ads can be terrific for service-oriented businesses, but retail outlets are not generally best served by the yellow pages.

Web-Based Advertising

Web-based advertising like Google ads or similar pay per click ads allow you to target your audience with great precision. However, the cost can be very high, especially if you don’t limit the number of clicks you will accept in any given day. For example, if you run an ad for which you pay $1 per click and allow only 100 clicks per day, that’s still a potential $3,000-$3,100 you will pay in a given month. If you don’t limit the number of clicks, it can be disastrous. Be extremely careful with this form of advertisement.


Selling your product is all about getting your message to the consumer. The most effective way of doing this is to advertise wisely. While a salesman can assist you in creating an effective advertisement, you should consider using a marketing professional to help you design and place your ads. As with all business initiatives, advertising will be a significant investment for you. Please contact us if you need help in determining whether your investment is likely to pay off for you.

Enjoy your June. It’s hard to believe 2007 is nearly halfway done, isn’t it?

These articles are intended to provide general resources for the tax and accounting needs of small businesses and individuals. Service2Client LLC is the author, but is not engaged in rendering specific legal, accounting, financial or professional advice. Service2Client LLC makes no representation that the recommendations of Service2Client LLC will achieve any result. The NSAD has not reviewed any of the Service2Client LLC content. Readers are encouraged to contact their CPA regarding the topics in these articles.

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