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Advertising that Works

Sep 25, 2023
ui/icon-clock@2x 5 MIN READ

Machias Savings Bank

table of contents

Advertising is an investment, as it will generate a return on your spend. If you track the results of your advertising month after month, you’ll know what’s working and what isn’t.

Effective advertising builds your company profile, generates new business, and helps to retain existing customers. Careful and strategic planning in advertising can help you solidify your business’s credibility and trustworthiness and increase the chances your message will be heard and understood.

Ensure advertising is aimed at your established target market. Targeted marketing is about using the resources you have to attract the type of person who is most likely to be receptive to your products and services.

Identifying your target market

Before you start with the creation process, take the time to review and define your target market. Knowing who you’re trying to target will help you customize your marketing efforts to suit those people.

You likely already have some idea of who is interested in your products or services, but the easiest way to clearly define your target market is to create an ideal customer profile.

Here’s how you do that:

  • Create an ideal demographic for your target market. Think about the age, gender, marital status, income and other characteristics of the person most likely to buy your product or use your services. If you’re unsure, think about your biggest customers and any characteristics they have in common.
  • Think about the geographical reach of your business. Most product and serviced based businesses have a limited market area. Think about your regular customers or clients and how they access your products or services based on where they live. Once you know your market area, you can research existing data or conduct some market research to find out the average age, income and family status of people in your area
  • If the majority of your business is online, look at how your customers engage with you, who they follow, and what communities they are involved in to better understand their digital footprint. You have many options for reaching customers digitally, so understanding their online behaviours will help you better reach them.

You can learn a lot about your target market by looking at your competition. Pay attention to where they advertise, how they present their advertising, and the tone they use. If their business seems effective at advertising, take inspiration from them.

Deciding on outcomes

It’s likely that your ultimate objective is to build sales but there are other things to think about, such as increasing market presence and building your brand.

Advertising can be used to:

  • Establish a reputation as the market leader or industry expert, allowing you to win long-term contracts, or even increase prices
  • Build brand awareness for a product to make it easier to sell and raise the profile of your other products
  • Change customer perceptions of your products and services to increase sales
  • Detail a specific one-off message to your market by informing potential customers of a special offer, or about a particular component of your product
  • Address your existing customers to increase your brand awareness, increasing the likelihood that they think of your business first when they are considering a product or service.


As you get started, you’ll want to define the goals or metrics you’ll use to determine how successful your advertising has been. For example, if your goal was to build brand awareness, you could look at how many new followers you have on social media or how much engagement your online posts generate.

Types of advertising

Knowing what type of advertising will appeal the most to your target market is the key to producing advertising that works.

Common types of advertising:

  • Print advertising (newspapers, magazines, brochures, fliers and any other printed media can still have a place to play in your advertising mix, if your customers are paying attention to these mediums.
  • Outdoor advertising such as signs and event sponsorships. Other popular types of outdoor advertising include advertisements on your car.
  • Social and video platforms (such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
  • Digital advertising, such as banner ads, pop-ups and embedded video content. Online advertising suits a range of budgets, from pay-per-click services to paid coverage on popular websites.
  • Content marketing by offering free insight-led whitepapers and information that prospects download in exchange for their contact details to follow up.
  • Email campaigns, where you generate lists of email leads through content marketing and send targeted emails to those lists, advertising your products or services (make sure you comply with anti-spam laws).


Broadcast advertising traditionally includes television and radio but can also cover Internet mediums such as webinars and podcasts. You could run ads on television and radio, or sponsor ads on other people’s webinars or podcasts. You can further establish your credibility by being a guest on someone else’s webinar or podcast.


The key to effective advertising is knowing where your target market goes when it’s making purchasing decisions and get your advertising on those channels.

Future-proofing your advertising

To get the most out of your investment:

  • Ask customers what advertising resonated with them or convinced them to buy from you
  • Be prepared to amend your advertising efforts to maximize their effectiveness
  • Continue to observe your competitors’ advertising efforts and pick up on any new trends or tools you can use
  • If you’re in doubt about advertising material content, design or tone, ask another business owner or professional for advice
  • Make sure you are aware of laws or regulations about where you can advertise and the content of your messages.

Feed your advertising results back into your marketing or business plan.

Next steps

Advertising is an effective way to build brand awareness and increase your sales. To create the most effective advertising, make sure you know and understand your target market, have identified the best ways to get your advertising in front of them, and have set out goals for your advertising.


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