Advertising is one way to spend hard-earned money. This column is not capable of going into all of the details of what's best and how to utilize each available media source, but I can provide a few considerations to keep in mind.
The purpose of advertising must be established before you can evaluate the effectiveness of a particular medium. One agent in Florida advertised for 10 months on radio without success. He spent thousands of dollars with no return on his investment.
He stated that at least he attained some branding for his firm. Don't be fooled by advertising reps' rhetoric. Branding is a term used by Proctor & Gamble, not Smith & Associates.
All advertising should have a specific call to action that offers a next step, such as attending a seminar or downloading a white paper with valuable information. If you can't determine a strong call to action, don't bother with mass media advertising.
There is a reason large corporations pay big bucks for ad agencies to create effective advertising. It's not easy to make it work, and even with expensive ad agencies, things could easily go wrong.
Another consideration is the market you are trying to reach and the media to reach that market. An easy way to determine market is to take a serious look at your clients. Are you going to keep selling the same products to the same demographics? I would not recommend that you advertise to a demographic until you have sufficient experience selling to that market. I receive calls all the time from agents who want to do something new with a new demographic and are thinking about using advertising. I believe that is a huge mistake. If you are going to spend money, the campaign must work, or you'll quit, discouraged and poor.
Get good advice from reputable sources that you can check out. Keep in mind that everyone wants to make a buck; biased opinions can hurt as well as help. Decide on a budget and do enough research to come to quality conclusions.
On the positive side, if you choose to use mass media, you generally should choose a focused approach. For example, with local cable TV, you can target a specific number of households and the types of programming that will reach your demographics. If your target prospects are older, then TV Land, Discovery Channel and the local news might be excellent programming choices.
A final word on who to talk to about the advertising: I recommend using an agency for your media discussions. You'll get unbiased opinions on choices and have more creative minds on the end product. This approach doesn't cost much and will broaden your scope with excellent advice.
Kim L. Magdalein is a producer and owner of PresentYourPractice.com. He entered the industry in 1985, and went into private practice in 2001 serving the Jacksonville, Fla., retirement community. He has personally presented hundreds of seminars and created a thriving practice. He created Present Your Practice in 2004 to serve producers with seminar productions and methods for optimizing seminar attendance with qualified prospects. He can be reached at (800)909-9894.