By planning for the long term rather than simply focussing on short-term gain, advertisers are compelled to consider the public relations issues of their advertising campaigns.

Used appropriately, advertising can be a very effect tool in the marketing communication mix. However, advertising on its own is not a panacea for small business success and fortuitous market circumstances can sometimes account for immediate and significant results, when campaigns are undertaken with limited understanding of the market place or as part of a considered marketing strategy.

Businesses survive and prosper on their reputation and the integrity of their products and services. In this respect, advertising and marketing communication is more than just attempting to attract new customers and reminding existing ones that you are there. This means not only thinking of the upside of your messaging strategies but also considering the downside.

The following provides a good starting point for your campaign:

  1. effective advertising is as much about protecting your image as about promoting your products or services
  2. you have ethically and legal obligations to your clients and in the eyes of the law, ignorance is no excuse

To achieve a more considered and effective campaign, it can be useful to answer a few simple questions honestly.

1. What service do I offer?

Be clear about the services you are advertising.Many advertisers cram their ads and expect readers or viewers to study the fine detail.

They fail to realise that they are competing for the time and attention of customers in an already noisy and crowded advertising space.

Keeping an ad simple and to the point, with clear branding and a small number of messages designed to attract attention and motivate clients to make an enquiry is usually more effective than a busy ad crammed with copy and images.

If further detail is required, a more effective approach can be to refer potential clients to your website or literature that is listed in the ‘call to action’ (the instruction provided to help clients make contact or learn more about the product and service).

2. Do the services advertised appropriately target existing or latent demand?

All good advertising and marketing communications address the specific needs of a market.

To achieve this, it is important to remain client-focussed. Promoting services from your perspective can lead you to overlook the needs of your clients and create a ‘disconnect’ between the services you are advertising and the sought after services of your accessible market.

For example, a gym proprietor may love fitness, believing that high-level training is a solid foundation to success in life. The gym proprietor runs a local campaign that promotes elite level sports training, but the gym is located in a community of older people who are more likely to want exercise in order to remain independent and mobile

Such a campaign is likely to fail because high levels of fitness and training do not address the needs of accessible clients.

Researching your market can help you gain a better understanding of your potential clients in regard to the services they may need and want. Local government websites offer extensive breakdowns of the socio-economic, age and ethnicity of their communities.

Disclaimer: The information, views opinions, advice and tips expressed in this article are offered as an overview of issues to consider and should not be regarded as comprehensive or definitive advice. The author accepts no liability in respect to any losses or damages  in regards to the views and ideas expressed in this article. It is your responsibility to ensure you are compliant with the law and to seek professional advice regarding your advertising campaign.