We’re at the end of January and the end of your marketing plan. Now comes the fun part (and the hardest part), spending the dollars you’ve so carefully allocated.
Start with what you know
Make a list of advertising expenses you know are coming (monthly expenses like yellow book, sponsorship of a little league team in the Spring or school programs in the Fall). Subtract that from the advertising budget in the month you’ll spend it. We know we do these things so budget for it.
One advantage of writing all this down, you can see where you spend your money. If it’s not working, then don’t do it or cancel it. If you aren’t sure about those team and school sponsorships, read my thoughts on those programs before you decide to include or discontinue it.
Make a list and check it twice.
Make a list of where you’ve spent your advertising dollars in the past and what seems to be the most effective. By doing this advertising in the past, you should have an idea of the cost. Will your current budget support these activities? Can you fit them in monthly? If not, can you add these events into the months with a higher budget?
It’s tempting to try to do everything, all at once. DON’T! Choose a media—radio, television, billboard, webinars, direct mail—whatever works best, and focus your efforts. Don’t spend a little here and a little there. Invest, really invest, in one media before you invest in a second media. That may mean you put all your budget in one place. It’s okay. In fact, I’d rather you really “own” one media or time slot than scatter yourself all over the place.
Also make sure you can sustain any marketing effort for at least 3 months preferably 6 months. One shot doesn’t do much for your marketing efforts.
You are now thinking strategically. Where will you reach your target market the most effectively? If you aren’t sure about ad costs, call the media you want to work with and ask them to send a rate sheet or to have an ad rep contact you.
Don’t let them sell you. Tell them what you need: rates, best times to reach your market, and a plan.
Stick to it
Now you have a plan, or the beginnings of your plan. Stick to it. Don’t wait on ad reps to call you, call them and schedule your advertising. Know what you want to say, what you want to sell and what your goals are.
This is your business, go be a success!