Advertising is buying customers. Advertising is spending money to talk at strangers. 9 times out of 10 it should be your last resort.
Try this – If your business has a marketing budget to spend ask yourself two questions:
1. What do I want to achieve by spending this money? Earning more revenue? Keeping customers? Getting new customers?
2. Where in my business do bottlenecks occur that stop me from achieving these goals?
Imagine your budget in a pile of single euro coins on a table. Slide each euro across the table one by one and place it in one of several pots, with a pot for each activity you’ll spend it on. As you lift each euro ask yourself some more questions:
If you want to earn more revenue what is the most effective use of that euro right now? Taking care of existing customers? Could it be spent developing new products or services they’d like to buy from you? Or improving customer experience?
If you need more customers you could spend the euro on making your sign-up process easier, or converting more casual visitors into paying users. You could make it easier for customers to tell their friends about you or improve your service so that they’ll want to tell their friends about you.
If you get to the end of that thought process and have no money in the advertising pot it’s not a bad thing!
If you can’t see any room for improvement in these other areas then it might make more sense to advertise. Only when you have your sign up process running smoothly does it make sense to spend money getting people to visit your site.
The problem is that many businesses decide on an advertising budget at the start of the year and then wonder how they can effectively spend it. A better approach is to ask how effectively they can use their marketing budget, realising that advertising is only one of the many possible answers.
Or am I being too hard on advertising?