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Getting the most out of advertising

Dear Michelle: What can I do to support my print advertising so that it is working to its full potential?

Dear Entrepreneur: Great question!

Advertising, like most everything else in marketing, is an art, not a science.

However, there are a number of things you can do to increase the value of your print ads.

First, make sure you have a consistent business image, logo or brand.

Second, develop a tagline for the business if you don't already have one.

Third, you must have other marketing vehicles support your advertising by getting your image or logo noticed in as many and varied ways as possible.

First off, you must build a solid presence. You've probably heard the term "branding."

All that means is that you have a consistent business image; it should always look the same so that people know when they have seen your name and/or your business' logo before.

Your business image is your logo and the way you choose to represent your business on your letterhead, brochures, business cards, envelopes and any other pieces you may have, as well as in your print advertising.

If you keep changing your look - i.e. the graphic design, colors or even the font used -the potential client or customer will not know he or she has seen your advertising before.

Remain consistent with your business image. When I see your company image, I must realize right away that it is you.

The same goes for your tagline - it, too, must be consistent.

As I said above, building a simple and easy-to-remember tagline for your business is essential if you want your potential client or customer to remember your product or service.

Develop a short phrase and get at exactly what it is you offer, or to whom. Be as succinct as you can.

Imagine the difficulty a consumer has if all you have to identify your business is, say, an acronym or your initials.

For instance, until you're as renowned as 3M, stick with Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing so what you do is abundantly clear.

Third, be very careful that your advertising is not happening in a void.

Relying on print advertising alone is being a bit shortsighted; you need the support of not only a number of marketing vehicles, but a variety of them as well.

One of the goals of any marketing plan is to have a consistent presence with potential clientele.

Make certain that your company name shows up elsewhere.

Marrying print advertising to low- to no-cost marketing vehicles such as attending networking events and offering your product or a gift certificate for your service in a charity auction will help build a consistent presence with your potential clientele or customers.

The idea is to overlap marketing vehicles so that people will see you not just in the print ad, but elsewhere as well.

Borrowing from the real estate credo: "location, location, location," with regards to your marketing, it is all about presence and "consistency, consistency, consistency."

That goes for the print ad itself, too. You will add to the success of your advertising if you run your ad consistently over time so that you have the power of being seen many times.

Try to keep a spot in the same area in the media where your ad appears, and match your ad to your audience by choosing the appropriate print media (newspaper, magazine, Web site) they are most likely to read.

Remember, ask everyone who calls where or how they heard of you and keep track of their responses. This will help you to know how well your efforts are paying off.

Business consultant and writer Michelle J. Bloom has more than 20 years experience working with home-based and small business entrepreneurs.

She can be reached for questions or for reprints of earlier articles at or 888-878-3380.