When you plan your advertising campaign, it may be helpful to review why you went into business in the first place.
For most people, it’s because you had a dream. Whether that dream stemmed from the field you’re in and the belief you have in it, or a personal belief that your ideas could change that field, your community is better for it.
Customers are drawn to businesses they trust. It’s that simple. It gets a little more difficult to understand at what point in the customer’s decision-making process you need to secure that trust.
To examine this, we’ll walk you through a sales cycle concept and then reveal some of our core values in advertising.
How to Determine Your Sales Cycle
Different businesses need to advertise differently. This may seem obvious, especially when we think about the sensory, visual components you want to use in your promotion.
For example, restaurants and salons can use supermarket advertisements to showcase their food or highlight images of their recent work. These decisions to showcase products and services are perfect for businesses that need to appeal to customers when considering a change or looking for something new.
They see your work, and they become “Aware” of whether they want your product, or maybe they realize they need your product. These reactions trigger what we call the “Awareness Phase,” which is the first step in any sales cycle.
However, if you’re a realtor, lawyer, or doctor, this cycle gets a little trickier. Customers are probably already aware that they need help finding a solution to their problem, so they’re in the “consideration” phase.
At this point, a customer may be shopping around to find someone to help them sell their house or looking for a new doctor to help with chronic pain. Because these needs are so emotionally loaded and require a deeper connection, it will be important to brand yourself trustworthy.
How do you do that? This is probably not just about advertising pictures of houses or aching backs, but by showcasing excellent client reviews or emotionally charged images of happy families or patients. These, plus a campaign that centers around you, the professional, will really help bring customers in and push them to “consider” you over a competitor.
Finally, the last phase in the process is the “Decision Stage.” Here, your customer knows who they want to give their business to, and you know whether your campaign worked or not. This is when prospective customers know what their challenges are, they know the kind of service or product that can help, and they are simply deciding who to use.
The entire sales cycle is comprised of three easy steps: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. What’s important to understand is that if you are a restaurant, salon, or dry cleaner, your customers might decide in a split second. And since they have a good understanding of what you do, there is a good chance they are further down the sales cycle toward the decision stage.
Coupons, a form of direct response advertising, can be the key to grabbing attention and pushing your business to the top of the list! However, if you are a lawyer, realtor, or medical professional, you’ll need to compete with others during the Awareness and Consideration phases.
Placing a consistent presence in your potential customer’s life, like a shopping cart ad, can build recognition and trust as they weigh their options. By reaching prospects before they’re ready to make a decision, you can make sure they trust your business more than any others. Understanding how to charge your campaign emotionally will bring you better success in the future and mean better results in bringing in new customers.
Core Values in Advertising
At IndoorMedia, we’ve established several core values we return to with every client who comes through our door.
Work Hard, Be Nice
The first of these is to work hard and be nice to people. No matter who you are or what your business does, you’re trying to draw people in if you’re advertising. This extends down across your entire team, so it’s important to hire people who you believe represent the best of what you have to offer.
Grow or Die
Every business sees attrition, or a weakening in sales, regardless of their actions. For many, this could be because of something as simple as the weather or time of year, but for others, this could be because you’ve given up on reaching out to new customers.
The fact of the matter is if you’re not advertising, someone else is. Competitors are constantly trying to win over your customers, and if you let them, they will. Couple that with changes in your industry and fading customer ties, and you can see that a business without advertising is a business set up for failure.
It’s important to take advantage of every opportunity for growth. Whether that means honing in on the quality of your services or running a promotion on them, you have to constantly endeavor to work with the seasons and combat any fading sales.
When You Become Aware of a Problem, Run to It
No one is perfect, and businesses are its people, so mistakes are inevitable. However, how you handle that mistake can make or break your business.
If you’re open to feedback, you’ll have a constant stream of new ideas and access to ways you can improve. Conversely, if you fixate on remaining set in your ways and never consider new ideas, you may fade into the background.
If you decide to run a supermarket advertisement or mailer campaign, your work doesn’t stop there. Examine how many vouchers are redeemed and what customers thought of your handouts as these can be a good indication of what drew your customer to your business in the first place. If someone suggests a way to improve your supermarket advertisement in the future, then voila! They’ve already streamlined your next attempt.
That’s not to say that every customer complaint or recommendation should be implemented immediately. But running to the problem, addressing it professionally, and implementing any achievable ideas shows your customers that you are dedicated to providing excellent service at all times.
To Become More, Do What You Say
No company remains the same. Over time, you’ll either change for the better or worse. Remaining open to new ways of thinking, new technology, and new means of streamlining your work will be crucial if you want to succeed.
Similarly, it’s important not to lose track of your mission statement. It can be difficult to balance these ideas, but as you adapt to new market changes, try to remember why you got into this business in the first place.
Deep down, some part of you believed that you could change your industry and that you have important ideas to share. Call on that part of yourself whenever you can and stay true to your vision. That power and pride in your work are what will really keep customers coming back and empower your business to succeed.