Have you ever sat down to build out an advertising campaign and felt overwhelmed before even getting started? If you’re in need of an Advertising 101 rundown or a refresher on the best ways to create a successful campaign in this day and age and the most important factors, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in, shall we?
What Is Advertising?
Advertising is a form of communication that uses paid messages to promote or sell products, services, or ideas. It’s a powerful tool that can be used by businesses to reach a large audience and influence their opinions and behaviors.
A few key elements of advertising include:
- The message: The purpose of advertising is to communicate a message to the target audience. This message can be about the product or service being advertised, or it can be about the brand itself.
- The medium: The message is delivered through a medium, such as television, radio, print, online, or out-of-home. The medium is chosen based on the target audience and the goals of the advertising campaign.
- The call to action: The goal of advertising is to persuade the target audience to take some action, such as buying a product, visiting a website, or calling a phone number. The call to action is typically included in the message.
Advertising is a complex and ever-evolving field. There are many different types of advertising, and the strategies and tactics used by advertisers are constantly changing. However, the basic principles of advertising remain the same: to communicate a message to a target audience and persuade them to take some action.
In this article, we will touch on the fundamentals of advertising, including:
- Why your business should advertise
- How to choose the right platform for your needs, audience, and more
- Traditional Advertising – Why its an outdated approach
- Digital Advertising – Why it’s a much more effective avenue
- Tracking your online advertising
- Digital Media Companies and Influencer-Style Marketing: The New Frontier of Online Advertising
- Choosing The Right New Media Company To Advertise With
Why Your Business Should Advertise
Before we get into how to get started with advertising your business, let’s break down some of the most important reasons to advertise your business.
All businesses can benefit from advertising, no matter how well a business is performing. Some businesses wait until their businesses are sinking or their event is coming up with 0 tickets sold – but we highly don’t recommend that. Instead, advertising when times are good – or even great – allows your business to keep its momentum and accelerate your growth and revenue.
From raising brand awareness about your business to bringing in customers and driving sales – there are a lot of benefits to advertising.
Here are a few of the most popular reasons a business may want to advertise:
1. Brand Awareness (& Keeping Your Business Top Of Mind)
First and foremost, advertising is essential for raising brand awareness. Brand awareness is the degree to which consumers are familiar with a particular business or brand, and it can help businesses attract new customers, keep your business top of mind, and build loyalty with existing customers, charge premium prices, and more.
Brand awareness is measured by how well consumers can recall or recognize your logo, name, products, and other assets.
There are two main types of brand awareness: recall and recognition. Recall is when a consumer can remember a brand without any prompting. Recognition is when a consumer can identify a brand when they see it.
A few ways you can use different forms of advertising to generate brand awareness for your business:
- Use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to showcase your restaurant’s menu, interior space, overall ambiance, new products and services, and teach your community something valuable related to your industry. Share photos and videos regularly and use keywords in your captions to increase visibility.
- Run Google Ads campaigns targeted towards people searching for restaurants in your area or with specific keywords related to your business
- Utilize email marketing to send newsletters, updates, and promotions to your mailing list
If you’re looking to get your business’s name out there, attract new customers, keep your existing ones engaged, and help stop your business from being forgotten or overshadowed by competitors – brand awareness is exactly what your business needs.
2. Brand Identity
Similar to brand awareness, advertising can help to create a strong brand identity for your business.
Brand identity is the set of unique characteristics that make your brand or business recognizable and memorable, through the use of your name, logo, colors, typography, imagery, and tagline. It can also include your brand’s values, personality, and tone of voice.
A few of the most important components of brand identity are that it helps to create a lasting impression in the minds of consumers, helps to differentiate a brand from its competitors, and that it can make a brand or business more appealing to customers.
Some ways advertising can help solidify your brand identity:
- By reaffirming your business’s consistent visual style and tone of voice that reflects its values and unique selling points – this can include things like color schemes, typography, and messaging
- By leveraging brand awareness to create a cohesive presence with all of your marketing materials + website, social media, print collateral, etc
- By partnering with local influencers or media companies who align with your brand to promote your business and create a sense of community
Building a strong brand identity takes time and effort, but it is an essential investment for any business that wants to be successful. By developing a consistent message and aesthetic through advertising and your own marketing channels, you can establish your business as a unique and recognizable brand – which can help to differentiate you from other businesses and create a sense of loyalty among your customers. If this is one of your goals, advertising is an excellent option for establishing your brand identity amongst large groups of people both quickly and consistently over time!
3. Driving Sales & Revenue
One of the most common (and self-explanatory) advertising benefits and goals is driving sales and revenue. Because when more people know about your business, you open up your potential customer pool and increase your chances of creating new customers.
Through advertising your business can generate leads, drive traffic to your website, and promote current sales and discounts.
A few easy ways your business can achieve this goal:
- Offer special deals and promotions exclusively to your social media followers or email subscribers
- Utilize targeted advertising campaigns on social media or Google Ads to promote specific products, services, or events
- Use digital or traditional media to reach larger audience pools and increase brand awareness to convert new customers
By running advertisements about your business and its products, services, events, and promotions, you can let people know (or remind them) that you exist and entice them to visit and spend money.
4. Business-2-Consumer (B2C) Relationship Building
An underrated but immensely important benefit and goal of advertising is business-2-consumer (B2C) relationship building. B2C relationship building is the process of establishing and maintaining positive relationships with consumers, and it’s important for businesses because it can help increase sales, improve customer loyalty, and gain valuable insights into the needs of consumers.
Advertising helps businesses achieve B2C relationship building in conjunction with several other aforementioned benefits. For starters, advertising can help to build trust by demonstrating that your company is credible and reliable. This can be done through things like providing clear and concise information about your business, products, or services and by using testimonials from satisfied customers.
Advertising can also be used to communicate effectively with customers by providing clear and concise information about your business, products or services or by answering common questions that customers may have. This can help to build trust and rapport with customers – which can lead to increased sales, customer loyalty, and word-of-mouth marketing.
Along with advertising, there are lots of ways your business can further build B2C relationships:
- Respond promptly and thoughtfully to customer reviews on platforms like Yelp or Google My Business
- Use social media to solicit feedback and engage in two-way communication with your customers
- Host events or pop-ups that allow customers to interact with your business and create memorable experiences
- Provide excellent customer service so that customers feel like they are valued and respected (thus making them more likely to do business with you again in the future)
- Personalize your customers’ experience by understanding the needs of your customers and tailoring your interactions with them accordingly through things like using their name, asking them questions about their preferences, and providing them with relevant recommendations
- Building trust over time through consistent and reliable interactions with customers
- By communicating effectively with customers, being clear and concise in those communications, and being responsive to their needs and concerns
5. Creating A Competitive Advantage
Last but certainly not least, advertising can help your business create a competitive advantage. A competitive advantage is something that gives a business an edge over its competitors. It can be anything from a unique product or service to a superior marketing strategy, and businesses that have a competitive advantage are usually more likely to be successful in the long run.
These days there are often many similar options within your industry for customers to choose from – and advertising allows you to differentiate your business from competitors and highlight your unique selling points. Not only does this help your business to stand out in a crowded market, it’ll also help you attract more customers.
SOB TIP: When building advertising campaigns for Step Out Buffalo clients, we focus heavily on the business’s differentiators within the creatives. This results in engaging, effective, and exciting pieces of advertising that we know will resonate with our audience and move them to action – whether that’s visiting the business or sharing it with friends. Having differentiators is extremely important, but making sure your target audience knows about them is half the battle. That’s where advertising comes in.
Some ways you can create a competitive advantage for your business through advertising:
- Highlight unique features of your business
- Consider using digital tools like online booking or direct links to products to make the customer experience more convenient and streamlined
- Build partnerships with other local businesses or organizations to cross-promote and reach new audiences
By taking a proactive approach to advertising, you can set your business apart and create a competitive advantage that may be difficult for others to replicate.
The reality is that investing in advertising before it’s too late will likely cost a lot less in the long run. Just like with anything in life, the longer you wait to address any issue, the more challenging (and often more expensive) it is to address. Furthermore, taking preventative measures is always the best option.
How To Choose The Right Platform For Your Needs, Audience, & more
There are many different ways you can advertise a business. From traditional methods like billboards, TV commercials, radio ads, and printed newspaper advertisements to more modern digital ways such as social media, Google, and word-of-mouth marketing and influencer-style advertising through digital media platforms like Step Out Buffalo.
When selecting which advertising route to go with, think of your brand and your audience. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of ‘what advertising method is best for your business’ – the best method will depend on your specific needs and goals.
Here are a few factors to consider when making an informed decision about which advertising methods are most likely to help you achieve your desired results:
- Your target audience: Who are you trying to reach with your advertising? What are their demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)? What are their interests? Once you know who your target audience is, you can choose advertising methods that are most likely to reach and resonate with them. Learn more about how to define your target audience!
- Your budget: How much money do you have to spend on advertising? Some advertising methods, such as television and print advertising, can be very expensive. Others, such as online advertising and social media marketing, tend to be more affordable.
- Your goals: What do you want to achieve with your advertising? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Generate leads? Drive sales? Once you know your goals, you can choose advertising methods that are most likely to help you achieve them.
- Your message: What do you want to say in your advertising? What are your key messages? Your advertising message should be clear, concise, and persuasive.
- Your creative: How will your advertising look and feel? Will you use images, videos, or text? Your creative should be eye-catching and attention-grabbing.
- Your tracking: How will you track the results of your advertising? This will help you determine which advertising methods are most effective and make adjustments to your campaigns as needed.
Traditional Advertising: Why It’s An Outdated Approach
When it comes to getting more customers, advertising can be a gamechanger for your business. But if you don’t want to waste money on ineffective efforts, you need to be strategic.
Once the only option, traditional media advertising has quickly declined as an effective advertising tool for most businesses. Traditional media refers to the forms of mass communication that were the most common before the advent of the internet. These include:
- Television: Television is a broadcast medium that allows people to watch audiovisual content on a screen.
- Radio: Radio is a broadcast medium that allows people to listen to audio content.
- Newspapers: Newspapers are printed publications that contain news, opinion pieces, and other content.
- Magazines: Magazines are printed publications that contain articles, stories, and other content on a particular topic or theme.
- Outdoor advertising: Outdoor advertising is a form of advertising that is displayed in public places, such as billboards, bus shelters, and subway stations.
Advertising on these mediums involves the purchase of TV commercials, radio ads, print advertisements, and large billboards – all of which are often very expensive and can be nearly impossible to track results-wise.
Need more convincing? Here are some specific reasons why businesses should avoid spending money on traditional media advertising:
- Ineffective: Traditional media advertising is often seen as interruptive and annoying, which can lead to people tuning out these ads.
- Expensive: Traditional media advertising can be relatively expensive compared to more modern alternatives, especially for large campaigns and when it comes to the return on your investment
- Difficult to track: Results of traditional media advertising campaigns are challenging to track and when possible the options are often full of friction for customers, which makes it difficult to measure the ROI of these campaigns.
- Not targeted: Traditional media advertising is not as targeted as online advertising, which means that businesses are not reaching their target audience as effectively.
Digital Advertising: A Much More Effective Avenue
As the general population moves further and further away from traditional media in today’s modern times, advertising on these mediums has become increasingly less effective.
So where are these people migrating to? The digital world. With more and more businesses valuing more targeted, measurable, and cost-effective advertising, it’s no wonder businesses are increasingly turning to online advertising.
Online advertising is a broad term that encompasses a variety of marketing strategies, including search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, and display advertising. SEM involves targeting potential customers who are searching for products or services like yours on Google or other search engines; social media marketing involves creating and sharing content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and display advertising involves placing ads on websites or in apps that your target audience is likely to visit.
There are multiple benefits for businesses of all sizes when it comes to online advertising as these channels are more targeted, measurable, cost-effective, engaging, and global – making them a great way for businesses to reach their target audiences and grow their businesses.
Here are the 9 biggest benefits of online advertising for businesses:
- Reach a wider audience. Online advertising can help you reach a wider audience than traditional marketing methods, because people are increasingly spending their time online and are more likely to be exposed to your ads in the spaces they are in.
- Generate more leads and sales. Online advertising can help you generate more leads and sales thanks to the ability to target your ads to people who are already interested in your products or services, which increases the likelihood that they’ll become customers.
- Build brand awareness. By reaching a wider audience with your online ads, you can increase brand familiarity and the likelihood of more people choosing your products or services when they are ready to buy.
- Measure your results. Online advertising is completely measurable, which means you can track the results of your campaigns, see how they’re performing, and optimize your campaigns to get the most out of your investment.
- Target your ads. Looking to target your ads to specific demographics, interests, and even behaviors? It’s all possible with online ads! Unlike traditional advertising, digital ads allow you to reach your target audience with greater precision – which can lead to higher conversion rates.
- Get creative. When creating ads online you can use images, videos, text, and even interactive elements to create ads that are engaging and memorable.
- Get real-time results. With traditional advertising you can’t get any kind of data on your ad campaigns, let alone in real-time. On the contrary, online advertising results *can* be tracked in real time which allows you to make adjustments to your campaigns as needed, which means you can see what’s working and what isn’t, then make changes to your campaigns accordingly.
- Get started quickly. Need to promote something now? Online advertising campaigns can be set up quickly and easily, allowing you to start seeing results from your campaigns sooner rather than later.
- Get more bang for your buck. While traditional advertising can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars for a one-time ad, online advertising can be very cost-effective, which lets you reach a large audience for a fraction of the cost of a TV or radio ad.
Tracking Your Online Advertising
When creating digital ads online, whether you opt to do search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing, or display advertising, there are a number of ways you can measure their effectiveness:
- Use tracking pixels: Tracking pixels are small pieces of code that are embedded in online ads. When someone clicks on an ad, the tracking pixel sends a signal back to the advertiser, which allows them to track the ad’s performance.
- Use conversion tracking: Conversion tracking allows businesses to track how many people who see their ads actually take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. This information can be used to measure the effectiveness of online advertising campaigns.
- Use Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that can be used to track website traffic and measure the effectiveness of online advertising campaigns. Google Analytics provides businesses with a wealth of information about their website visitors, including their demographics, interests, and behavior.
- Use social media analytics: Social media analytics can be used to track the performance of online advertising campaigns on social media platforms. This information can be used to measure the reach and engagement of social media ads, as well as the number of conversions that are generated from social media ads.
Digital Media Companies and Influencer-Style Marketing: The New Frontier of Online Advertising
While businesses can set up and run online advertisements themselves, digital media companies offer the option to run digital, data-driven campaigns for your business to their defined audiences.
Digital Media Companies
A digital media company is a business that creates or distributes content using digital technologies. This can include websites, blogs, social media platforms, and mobile apps. Digital media companies often use interactive and engaging content to attract and retain users. They may also use data analytics to track user behavior and improve their content offerings.
Here are some of the characteristics of digital media companies:
- Digital: Digital media companies use digital technologies to create and distribute content.
- Interactive: Digital media companies often use interactive content to engage users.
- Data-driven: Digital media companies use data analytics to track user behavior and improve their content offerings.
- Global: Digital media companies often have a large reach, with the ability to reach people not only locally, regionally, and nationally but also globally thanks to the utilization of the internet.
Step Out Buffalo is an example of a local digital media company based in Western New York. Founded by a father-daughter duo from Hamburg, NY, we utilize all aspects of digital media companies (websites, social media, email newsletters, and digital ads) to distribute information both editorial and advertorial. We then use data and analytics to understand our audience and how our content performs, then create informed, strategic decisions based on that data for both our own brand and our advertising clients.
Digital media companies are still a relatively new phenomenon, but they are growing rapidly. The rise of the internet and mobile devices has created new opportunities for businesses to reach and engage audiences, and as a result digital media companies are playing an increasingly important role in the media landscape. These digital media companies are also changing the way that people consume media by providing new ways for people to connect with each other and to access information and entertainment – and they’re providing exciting new ways for businesses to advertise on them.
Influencer-style advertising is a type of online advertising that involves partnering with influencers or influencer-style digital media companies to create organic promotions of your business that feel less “advertise-y” and more like recommendations or informative content from a third party.
Oftentimes digital media companies employ “influencer-style advertising”, which involves creative advertising that feels more organic than traditional advertising or when a business uses online advertising to promote themselves. These influencer-style advertisements can be done in the form of website or blog articles, short form videos on TikTok or Instagram Reels, social media posts, email-newsletter blasts, and more.
Influencer-style content is unique compared to standard online advertising because it involves other people/businesses talking about your business versus your own business talking about itself. As a type of word-of-mouth marketing, when businesses partner with influencers and digital media companies to do influencer-style advertising they’re able to be part of advertising campaigns that feel more organic and less self-promoting – something that online consumers value.
There are many benefits of influencer-style advertising over traditional advertising and self-promoting online advertising, including:
- Reach a new and engaged audience: Typically influencers and digital media companies have engaged followings, which means that you can reach interested audiences with your advertising messages on a deeper level.
- Build trust and credibility: Influencers and digital media companies are trusted by their followers, so when they promote your products or services, it can help you build trust and credibility with potential customers.
- Be more authentic: Influencer-style advertising is seen as more authentic than traditional advertising and online advertising done by businesses themselves, which can provide actually valuable content to your target audience and help you connect with potential customers on a more personal level.
- Be more cost-effective: This style of advertising can also be more cost-effective than traditional marketing, especially when you consider the reach and engagement that you can get.
- Be more measurable: Influencer-style advertising is more measurable than traditional advertising, which means that you can track the results of your campaigns and see how they are performing.
Of course, each of these benefits can have a ripple effect of other benefits, including:
- Increased brand awareness: When influencers or digital media companies promote your products or services, it can help to increase brand awareness among their followers. This can lead to more people being aware of your brand and what you offer in a more organic way than your business could accomplish on its own.
- Increased sales: Influencer-style advertising can also lead to increased sales. When influencers promote your products or services, it can lead to more people being interested in buying them. This can lead to an increase in sales for your business.
- Improved customer engagement: Influencer-style advertising can also improve customer engagement. When influencers promote your products or services, it can lead to more people interacting with your brand on social media. This can lead to more people visiting your website, signing up for your email list, or following you on social media.
Choosing The Right Digital Media Company To Advertise With
Influencer-style advertising from both influencers and digital media companies offers a number of benefits over traditional advertising and self-promoting online advertising. If you are looking for a way to reach a wider audience, build trust and credibility, and be even more cost-effective, then influencer-style advertising is a great option.
When choosing which digital media company, make sure to do your research and understand your target audience in order to create campaigns that are relevant and targeted. It’s also important to set clear goals related to what you want to achieve with your campaign (increase brand awareness, generate leads, drive sales), etc and track your results so you can see what is working and what is not.
Here are 5 things to consider when choosing an advertising partner:
- Your target audience: The first thing you need to consider is your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your advertising? What are their interests? What platforms do they use? Once you know your target audience, you can start to look for an advertising partner that has a good reach among them.
- Your budget: How much are you willing to spend on advertising? This will help you narrow down your options and focus on partners that are within your budget.
- Your goals: What do you hope to achieve with your advertising campaign? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? Once you know your goals, you can start to look for an advertising partner that can help you achieve them.
- The partner’s experience: How much experience does the partner have in advertising? Do they have a good track record of success? You want to make sure that you’re partnering with someone who knows what they’re doing and can help you achieve your goals.
- The partner’s brand: It’s important to consider the partner’s brand – their personality and values. Do they align with your brand? Do you trust them to represent your brand in a positive way? This is important because you’ll be working closely with the partner, so you want to make sure that you’re on the same wavelength.
- The partner’s approach to the process: The size of the company you are partnering with to advertise your business, their working style, and processes could vary dramatically – so based on your experience and expertise in this matter you may want to look for a partner who compliments that well. For example, if you’re new to influencer-style advertising or want to be as hands off as possible, look for a partner who takes a hands-on approach to managing the advertising campaign and helps move you along to a successful end result.
Once you understand these components, you’ll be able to better choose the best digital media company to advertise with based on how well they fit your brand, your audience, and your goals so that you can get the most out of your investment.
Advertising is a form of influencing buyer decisions that has been around for centuries. Once dominated by traditional media, new forms of advertising in the digital age have proven to be more successful and cost-effective than modes like TV, radio, and print ads.
Online advertising allows businesses to reach their target audience with relevant ads, and it is also easier to track the results of these campaigns – which means businesses are getting more bang for their buck when they invest in online advertising.
As people continue to consume more and more content online, digital ways of advertising offer more cost-effective and successful advertising methods for businesses to use compared to outdated traditional advertising. Online advertising can be done in a variety of ways on a variety of platforms, depending on your business goals.
New media companies and influencer-style advertising are two newer modes of online advertising that give businesses the reach and accessibility that online advertising provides plus the ease of not having to set up and track the ads themselves and the benefit of reaching more defined audiences.
In today’s digital age, businesses of all sizes should consider investing in online advertising and specifically new media-based and influencer-style advertising in order to reach their target audiences and grow their businesses.
At Step Out Buffalo, we help connect businesses with locals and visitors who want to support them. We’re a hyper-local media company that highlights the best of Buffalo and WNY with a large and engaged audience of people who are interested in local businesses, events, and activities. To learn more about how new media company Step Out Buffalo leverages online advertising and our large, Western New York-based audience to help promote businesses across all industries tap here.