The goal of an effective budget advertising campaign is to obtain the greatest degree of impact at the lowest possible cost. For the small business firm, having precious few dollars for promotional funds, this is especially important.
There’s no money to waste – every penny must work to generate additional sales. Many of the nation’s most successful small companies are distinguished by this highly skillful use of budget advertising. In fact, effective advertising alone can all but insure the firm’s future growth in terms of gross sales and market share.
It keeps the company name before the public, helps move products and services and encourages the return of regular customers. To accomplish its objectives, the small budget advertising campaign must attain at least one essential goal: It must attract the public’s attention and hold it. To do so, ads must be planned and prepared to achieve the highest level of impact on the greatest number of people.
Advertising on a budget must therefore be designed with consideration for such factors as size and position, contrast and color, movement and illustration. These, after all, are the essential creative ingredients of a successful media campaign. When properly combined, they work to stretch the ad budget – help it attract a disproportionate amount of attention.
The following is a series of suggestions on how to advertise on a budget for the small firm seeking to obtain significant results with a limited promotional budget. A print advertising campaign, based on the principles of maximum appeal, can yield results worth many times the initial investment.
As a rule, it is wise to plan ads for as large as possible. Obviously, the larger an ad the more readers it is likely to attract. However, if full-page ads are out of reach of the small budget advertising campaign, all is not lost. Cuts in ad size do not cut audience size by equal amounts. Readership surveys indicate that if a full-page ad has the attention value of 100 percent, a half page commands 71 percent, a quarter page, 50 percent. The inability to purchase the largest ads should therefore not discourage the potential advertiser from planning a limited campaign.
Every ad, however, does have a minimum size below which the message will be cramped and unclear. The exact size must be determined after careful analysis of the campaign’s long-range plans and objectives, including such factors as: What percentage of the total audience must be reached? How often must the ads be run? How much money is in the budget? How much copy is necessary to guarantee the ad’s effectiveness?
Where an ad is placed can be as important as its size and content. It is best to run an ad where it will be seen by the greatest number of potential customers. An ad for automotive accessories, for example, often fares best in the sports pages. Here it is likely to attract a significant number of possible buyers – that is, men 18 and over. The ad is therefore reaching its most important market, and is thus in good position.
Contrast, by its very nature, attracts attention. It is a clash or conflict – an extremely noticeable phenomenon. The utilization of contrast in budget advertising is therefore a natural for achieving heightened levels of reader awareness.
To utilize the power of contrast, one need simply to be different – for that is what readers notice first. If all other ads are printed in black against a white background, for example, a reversal of this format supplies the necessary contrast to gain attention. Furthermore, if most ads are printed with thin, conventional borders, the use of a particularly bold border will act to distinguish the ad as unique. This will set it apart from the others – make it more visible. The most effective contrast must be designed with simple devices.
It is still possible to advertise on a budget, especially when it comes to print advertising, if you analyze you campaign thoroughly and put your mind to it. The most important factor is to stand out from the crowd.