8 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Advertising

Advertising is an important part of any successful business. It’s one of the best ways to build brand recognition, promote your products and increase sales. However, there’s a lot of thought and planning that needs to go into your campaign in order to achieve your desired results.

A successful advertisement requires more than a good photo and catchy headline; it requires a plan. So before you start placing ads, make sure you know how to get the most out of your advertising by asking yourself these eight questions.

Ask your way to advertising success

1. What is your key message?

Before creating or placing any advertising, ask yourself “what am I trying to tell my customers?” That’s the start of your key message.

When potential customers see your advertisements, this shouldn’t be a questions they have to ask themselves. Your advertisements should make it clear what your company or product is all about. Developing a key message before advertising will help provide your campaign with a direction and a purpose. Try to keep your key message as short and sweet as possible; anything more than one sentence is too long. Here are a few good examples.

2. Why are you advertising?

Now that you have a direction and message for your campaign, you need to ask yourself what your end goal is. Do you want to increase sales, or improve brand awareness? Do you want to promote a new product, or get people to enter a contest? Your advertising strategy will vary depending on your objectives. Without having a goal in mind, it will be incredibly difficult for you to measure your progress.

3. What problem are you solving?

Customers don’t care about your product or your business all that much. We know that doesn’t sound like good news, but hear us out: customers care about how your product can help them. What can your product do for them? What problem does your product solve?

Don’t tell your customers your new lip gloss is bright pink; instead tell them it’ll make their lips softer and look younger. Sell the problem your product solves, not the product itself. This should be the focus of your advertisements.

4. Who is your target audience? 

Finding your target audience will help guarantee the right people see your advertisements.

Finding your target audience will help guarantee the right people see your advertisements.

This is probably the most important question you’ll ask yourself while planning your ad campaign.

Understanding your target audience is one of the biggest factors in ensuring your advertising is successful. Not knowing your audience and placing advertisements randomly is the cause of many failed ad campaigns.

Before you place or purchase any ad space, it is absolutely essential you know who you’re selling to. If your product is a new, vegan protein bar, it’s probably not best to place your ad in Deer & Deer Hunter. If your product is mascara, chances are your ad isn’t going to do very well in Men’s Journal. This might seem self-explanatory, but it’s a commonly overlooked step in the planning process. Knowing your target audience will help you plan and place your ads in the best possible publications, and this will in turn help you get the most out of your advertising.

5. Do you have a budget?

You don’t need a billion-dollar budget like Coco-Cola or McDonalds to create great advertisements, but you do need something. In the world of advertising, a $20 budget just isn’t going to cut it. To truly experience all the benefits of an advertising campaign, you need to plan to set aside a decent chunk of change.

Nevertheless, if you don’t have an extensive budget, don’t worry. Working with an agency to explore all your options can stretch your dollar a long way. The question you really need to ask yourself is “am I willing to make a commitment to advertising?” One ad will not pay off overnight. You have to be willing to set some money aside (even if it is only a couple hundred dollars) to see any sort of results.

6. Do you have the time?

Time is money. That’s especially true in advertising.

Unfortunately, you can’t just throw together a nice picture and a few words of copy and expect your advertisement to bring you business. You really have to make a commitment to researching your audience, finding the proper publication, and designing something visually appealing. Fortunately, working with an agency can take care of all of that for you. So if

There's an endless number of publications to choose from. Working with an agency can help narrow down which magazines and websites will work best for you.

There’s an endless number of publications to choose from. Working with an agency can help narrow down which magazines and websites will work best for you.

your answer to this question is no, you’re in luck. All you really need here is five minutes to contact an agency and tell them what you want. Then get back to your busy day, and leave the creation process to the people that do have time.

7. What publication is right for me? 

After you find your target audience, the answer to this question should come fairly easily.

Additionally, if you’re working with an agency, you don’t have to answer this question alone. Your agency will be able to provide you with a list of magazines and websites that will be a great fit for your product and company. If you’re not working with an agency, we suggest checking editorial calendars and media kits to make sure you’re reaching your target audience.

8. Is my company ready for this?

This is the big, final question. Is your company ready to take the next step? Do you have a website that is user-friendly? Are your social media accounts up to date? Are you able to handle an increased workload? If you can answer all of these questions with a ‘yes,’ congratulations. You’re ready to advertise!